Wednesday, July 16, 2008

John McCain's Heist

I have never been a fan of John McCain. Whether telling us to have "hard hearts" at the sight of Iraqi civilians being bombed to death, or proclaiming our war on Serbia should be one of "lights out on Belgrade," this is a man who has made his career on destruction. He is also a hypocrite, and no greater hypocrisy exists in the biography of John McCain than his tale of being a campaign finance reformer.

Back in the '80s, right after McCain was elected to the US Senate, the mad bomber started a lobbying relationship with Lincoln Savings and Loan Chairman John Keating. Keating, up to that point, had made his name campaigning against pornography and trying to have it banned in most every store throughout the country (back in ye olden days, when you had to go to a store to purchase such material), which was in keeping with his brand of morality. Keating was also a major financier of political campaigns, durign which time he donated over a million dollars to the campaigns of certain Senators (including McCain), in return for their support in keeping federal regulators away from Keating's saving and loan interests.

Unfortunately, Keating's sponsorship of the Senate worked, and when his S&L collapsed it cost taxpayers about $2 billion, not to mention the life savings of thousands of people. Unrepentant, Keating bragged about the manner in which his influence impacted the Senators he bought. The first rule of thumb in politics for any investor who is going to buy a politician, do not admit that your purchase has influence. Not surprisingly, the government feigned its shock and outrage at the thought of a pimp having the gall to brag about the manner in which he engineered his representative-prostitutes by prosecuting Keating--who spent a few years behind bars before the government forgave his sins. For years, McCain used that experience, in which he was one of the five underlings who did Keating's bidding, as a rationale for why he (of all people) needed to spearhead campaign finance reform.

In line with the convolution of a corrupt Senator (redundant term though it may be) reforming the very thing that legally trapped him (and nearly derailed his career), Senator McCain is now getting around campaign finance loopholes to raise an extra $62.5 million. You may recall last month when Senator McCain complained bitterly about Senator Obama refusing to take public financing (and the fundraising restrictions that accompanied it), calling it a "betrayal" of the public trust. Most of the $62.5 million he is raking in outside of the law he sponsored is primarily from about 1,800 very wealthy Americans (people who you do not need to guess about their attitudes on such issues as universal health care and eliminating private money from politics). And where is he putting this money to get around his own law? He is funnelling right back into his campaign through the Republican National Committee, all the while feeding on the public teat. Public trust, indeed.

To be sure, the McCain camp will counter that they are merely following the law, as Obama is doing, and he would be right. That is the problem.

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