Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 31, 2007

MCCAIN'S LOBBYIST ARMY....John McCain's website tells visitors, "Too often the special interest lobbyists with the fattest wallets and best access carry the day." It sounds like a compelling sentiment from a one-time reformer, and might even be impressive, just so long as you don't peek behind the curtain.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took a break from the presidential campaign trail in March to fly to a posh Utah ski resort, where he mingled with hundreds of top corporate executives assembled by J.P. Morgan Chase for its annual leadership conference.

McCain's appearance at the Deer Valley event, arranged by J.P. Morgan Vice Chairman James B. Lee Jr., a top McCain fundraiser, put him in a room with the chief executives of companies such as General Electric, Xerox and Sony. It was, Lee said, "a chance for him to let them see him for who he is and possibly decide to support him." The effort paid off: J.P. Morgan executives have donated $56,250 to McCain's campaign, two-thirds of which came after his Utah appearance. And his visit there was quickly followed up by dozens of smaller private meetings with corporate executives in New York City arranged by leading Wall Street figures. [...]

As a presidential candidate this year, McCain has found himself assiduously courting both lobbyists and their wealthy clients, offering them private audiences as part of his fundraising. He also counts more than 30 lobbyists among his chief fundraisers, more than any other presidential contender.

It's certainly an awkward disconnect, isn't it? McCain is a "reformer," who rails against "special interests" and their "undue influence." Ever since that Keating 5 unpleasantness a while back, McCain has positioned himself as the Republicans' leading advocate of campaign-finance reform, denouncing colleagues who offer special access to donors in order to fill their campaign coffers.

And yet, there's McCain, giving powerful corporate lobbyists and their clients high-priced private schmooze sessions at exclusive retreats.

For that matter, let's also not forget that McCain not only surrounds himself with lobbyist fundraisers; he's also surrounded himself with more lobbyist staffers than any other candidate -- and more than most of the field combined.

If McCain's persona was in line with his conduct, he'd probably be a more impressive candidate.

Steve Benen 7:09 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

Bookmark and Share

If we were to pick the best point at which to reform our democracy, driving a wedge between political power and corporate power would be the place to start. To bad not a single candidate endorses this effectively. And bad form of Sen. McCain to lie about his position so baldly.

Posted by: Aaron on December 31, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, this is just how it is. All the candidates are owned by the Fortune 500. And the Congress is even worse. "The People" no longer exist.

Posted by: craigie on December 31, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

This had to have been a really slow news day because everyone has the same story. There is nothing that McCain has or could do that would be any worse than what the rest have already done.

Posted by: Vicki hampton on December 31, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Bad form?

Were it so that it was all just an afternoon tea among a bunch of old ladies.

More like

Posted by: gregor on December 31, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Yeah, right. And your precious granddamm of socialism, Hillary Clinton, never accepts lobbyist money.

You guys really are nieve.

Posted by: egbert on December 31, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

There needs to be a space between sentences. Grandam is spelled with only one 'm'. We never said Hillary Clinton didn't, that's why we say we need reform. Spaces are needed between words even if commas are used. And 'nieve' is spelled 'naive'.

Also, you really are a corrupted self-serving asshole.

Posted by: Aaron on December 31, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Meh. This site practically eliminates the spaces. Damn. O well, disregard the bit about the spaces, however, the last sentence is still spot-on.

Posted by: Aaron on December 31, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's a whore. When you're a whore, you fuck anybody.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 31, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

egbert's a whore too. The entire Repukeliscum Party are whores, top to bottom

Posted by: POed Lib on December 31, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

That's an insult to whores. They at least perform a service in exchange for the money.

Posted by: Aaron on December 31, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

"They at least perform a service in exchange for the money."

With McCain, the service is in the future. There will be service, of that you can be certain.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 31, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

'Tis better to have lobbied and lost than never to have lobbied at all.

The vast sums of money spent to "elect" our politicians seems to darken the light of democracy.

Bloomberg for president! (I'm not joking... he just may enter as an independent)

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 31, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Hahahhaa. I know Jimmy Lee from his exploits here in the Berkshires and he is a party hardy windbag. Because I would lose my job if I was identified I'll just let the local gossip fly:

Jimmy is an uber-rich guy who owns and occasionally lives in the house formerly owned by the Shah of Iran's son while he attended Williams College. It's a nice place on the edge of the beautiful Williams College Golf Course and is one of Jimmy's many abodes around the country.

There is another McCain connection to Williamstown, MA. Local-girl-made-good, Jane Swift, the former GOP Guv (you know... the one that had twins in office and was muscled out by Romney in 2002) has openly endorsed McCain in the Union Leader saying Romney is a flip-flopper who will get destroyed by the Democrats.

I don't know if Jimmy and Jane are friends, but I do know that they both serve on various local boards, etc....

For a small town (pop 6000 w/ students) Williamstown holds far too much sway.

Posted by: Anon for this one on December 31, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

granddamm (sic) of socialism...
You guys really are nieve (sic).
Posted by: egbert

And you are. Fucking. Stupid.

Posted by: DJ on December 31, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is a political piece of trash. His support of open borders (well he's backed off a little, maybe)is a real loser. Importing low-skill workers from Latin America (or anywhere for that matter) is a really stupid idea. And unfortunately it's one supported by both Ted Kennedy AND George W. Bush, and lots of people in between.

Low-skill immigration should be stopped cold. All evidence shows that low-skill immigration (as opposed to high skill, which is a clear benefit, and immigration as a whole, which looks like a wash economically...though I think that's too optimistic) is a net drag. Want to improve education, health care, and other social services? Stop importing people who use these services and don't pay anything back.

Let's just face it: the young, beautiful 5'9" East Asian female (or any race, really, I just especially like Asians) with a 1300+ SAT is a better immigrant than a peasant with a 5th grade education, unless you are looking for slave labor that is subsidized by taxpayers. Doesn't anybody value things like intelligence and beauty? Wouldn't America be a much worse place if those things became rarer?

Posted by: c on January 1, 2008 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, the "Banger Sisters" was underrated and unappreciated for its time. A truly timeless gem of a movie.

Posted by: anonymous on January 1, 2008 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, the "Banger Sisters" was underrated and unappreciated for its time. A truly timeless gem of a movie.

Oh how clever.

And btw, my post was on topic. America's suicidal immigration policy is something McCain and his political machine have supported...and then some. McCain has been a major supporter of mass low-skill immigration, not only through his votes and political statements, but in back room deals too.

Posted by: c on January 1, 2008 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

c and his/her little racist comments aside, we do NOT need high-skilled illegal scab wetbacks taking our high-skilled jobs. Recent studies by the Urban Institute indicate that we have 3 TIMES AS MANY STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) GRADS as JOBS.

H-1B visas are about CHEAP FOREIGN SCABS.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 1, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not a big fan of the H-1B system either. Skilled immigrants should be let in without the H-1B system--all H1B visas should be changed to green cards for skilled workers. The H-1B is a terrible market distortion; it allows companies to pay (relatively) dirt wages to H1B holders, lessening the incentive to hire Americans, *and* traps the immigrants with a sub-market wage.

Posted by: c on January 1, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

I hate having to defend McCain who has certainly become a sad little man doing and saying practically anything to get elected but, I'm getting tired of the "you profess this but I'm going to ignore the wisdom of what you're saying because you yourself aren't doing it perfectly." That's the same stupid argument right-wingers make against Al Gore on global warming.

If I were McCain and I were to use some "straight talk" (and you might want to actually try that sometime, John) I'd say I'm for all candidates cutting lobbying money and when they all agree to, I will as well. Until then, I'm not going to weaken my campaign coffers while the other candidates strength theirs.

Posted by: Brian in Atlanta on January 1, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

McCain has no choice on that score. We are finding out exactly what power corporate contributers wield. Democracy was supposed to the put the levers of power directly in the hands of the people. Now, if you have two people wanting to campaign for office, the corporations contribute massively to the one willing to back their views. It's almost like they say; "You can vote for whoever you want, so long as we've approved them first." Do to the modern practices of opinion-shaping through advertising, the candidate with the larger campaign chest nearly always wins vs the one without. Our media has been compromised by the repeal of laws that now allow it to be conglomerated, thus slanting the majority of public information flow to bolster corporate ends. The republican parties major successes in the past decade and a half stem largely from their willingness to slurp form the corporate trough and promote corporate interests. In other words, Capitalism works all to well, even better as a paradigm, then Democracy... as for who benefits...

Neither McCain nor Edwards would ever truly have a chance, if they are both truly honest about corporate reform. And any candidate who campaigned and won, then brought out the reform better get their aims accomplished before they need to be re-elected. Being as such reforms require the approval of large amounts of both Houses and need to pass by w/o the veto of the president, and need to be expansive enough to end the massive lobby/contribution/media triangle... well.. lets just say, not a snowballs chance in hell. We the People are screwed on that front till then next revolution. When that happens, I hope the next Bill of Rights shows up with a 'separation of corporation and state' clause.

Posted by: Aaron on January 1, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Aaron is right. IN addition, McCain is a war criminal and a disgrace to this country. He believed in Vietnam and Iraq, two disasterous wars for America. He has poor judgment not to mention the women and children he bombed. I find him the most outrageous candidate in this group of mediocre candidates.

Posted by: allie on January 1, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly