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John McCain’s “straight talk express” was supposed to be running smoothly by now, but it keeps hitting bumps in the road that throw it off message.
Those bumps turn out to be Washington lobbyists. McCain, who bills himself as the feared enemy of special interests, actually has filled his presidential staff from top to bottom with the very influence peddlers he claims to oppose. A couple of these lobbyists caused a campaign shakeup recently when it was revealed that their client list includes the reprehensible military thugs who rule Myanmar.
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To try to recover from this embarrassing exposure, the two lobbyists were dumped and the campaign loudly announced new ethics rules to bar conflicts-of-interest on McCain’s presidential team. That would have been laudable, but instead it immediately turned laughable, because the rules were announced by Rick Davis. McCain’s campaign manager. Guess what? He’s a Washington lobbyist too, having worked as chief spear carrier for such major telecommunications corporations as Verizon that seek favors from the senate committee that McCain chaired.
The old business-as-usual crowd literally is running and funding this presidential campaign, and McCain’s “new” ethics rules are a fraud. For example, they bar “active” lobbyists from working “full time” for his campaign. These phrases are carefully contrived loopholes, allowing corporate lobbyists to temporarily suspend their active lobbying to work for McCain’s election, or simply to work part time for him while still lobbying. Also, note that McCain’s ethics don’t go so far as to bar lobbyists from giving and raising money for his election.
As we learned from Bush & Company, those who direct the campaign are those who run the White House. In fact, most of McCain’s lobbyists had also been Bush’s lobbyists, and they would form a new McBush presidency.
“In Effort to Avoid Conflicts, McCain Issues New Rules for Staff,” The New York Times, May 17, 2008
“McCain Aides Forced to Quit over Ties to Burmese Military Junta,” www.alternet.org, May 13, 2008
“Another McCain advisor quits campaign,” USA Today, May 19, 2008