Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 18, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

McCAIN AND THE LOBBYISTS....I'm having a hard time keeping up, but here's the latest from the John McCain campaign:

John McCain's national finance co-chairman has stepped down, the latest casualty of a presidential campaign eager to cauterize damage caused by its ties to lobbyists.

Former Texas Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler....who runs the lobbying shop The Loeffler Group, is the highest profile departure from McCain's inner circle since a summer 2007 shake-up cost McCain his campaign manager and chief strategist.

That brings to five the number of campaign workers McCain has had to fire recently. Here's the complete list:

  • Thomas Loeffler, lobbyist for Saudi Arabia and various defense contractors. CEO of The Loeffler Group.

  • Doug Goodyear, lobbyist for the military junta in Burma. CEO of DCI Group.

  • Doug Davenport, also works for DCI Group.

  • Eric Burgeson, energy lobbyist, works for Barbour Griffith & Rogers

  • Craig Shirley, works for anti-Hillary 527 group that's not allowed to coordinate with presidential campaigns.

This is ridiculous. Except for Shirley, whose sins are a little different, all of the other four headed up or worked for big lobbying outfits. The press is reporting this as if it's just one embarrassment for McCain after another that he keeps finding out he's got lobbyists working for him, but that's not the story here. The real story is that McCain obviously knew these guys were lobbyists long before anyone pointed it out to him. You don't hire the CEO of the DCI group without knowing that the guy is a lobbyist.

Only a child would believe that McCain didn't know who these guys were when he hired them. The press really needs to step up their game a notch on this story.

Kevin Drum 11:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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What a shock!! The TradMed covering for John McBush as much as they can. Shocked I tell you!!

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on May 18, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Try getting the average American voter to care. If it's not of one the big three, forget about it:
1) blow job; 2) Britney; 3) baby down a well.

Posted by: Everyman on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

The press really needs to step up their game a notch on this story.

Yeah, right.

Posted by: pol on May 19, 2008 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

McCain and the Lobbyists versus Obama and the Chicago Political Machine. Hmm. I can't think of any angle in that contest in which Obama comes out cleaner.

Obama lied about his ties to terrorists. Here is an in-depth analysis of his relationship with Ayers.

There is so much the Obama acolytes don't know about their messiah.

Posted by: TangoMan on May 19, 2008 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

honest, kevin, what did you do in a former life that you are afflicted in this one with imbeciles like tangoman, people of such supreme stupidity that they make kevin james look well-informed?

more seriously, as has already been noted: there are all kinds of stories on which the press needs to step up their game.

odds of this actually happening? somewhere between slim and none. whatever it is that goes through the minds of most of our mainstream political journalists, it isn't "informing the public."

Posted by: howard on May 19, 2008 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

I don't get it. Why is McCain having so much trouble finding Republicans to work for him who aren't lobbyists without links to financial shenanigans, electioneering and dictators? Of all the Republicans out there, it ought to be easy to find one who is not corrupt or a crony, or who has no connection to any of the scandals of the past ten years or so. Someone who's intellectually honest, and clean. He just has to look at all the thousands of Republicans out there who have worked in the Party who fits that description.

How hard can it be?

Posted by: Memekiller on May 19, 2008 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, if the MSM/TradMed/whatever were actually doing its job, then you, TPM, ThinkProgress, DWT, Kos, Atrios, FDL, etc. wouldn't have so much fun stuff to uncover and report on. All of you have taken over the responsibilities that have been largely abdicated by the MSM.

All of which is to say that no, the MSM won't devote more than a particle of effort to covering McCain's lobbyist friends. It's up to you.

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 19, 2008 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Some other lobbyists in McCain's campaign you forgot to mention were the reporters lobbying their coverage on behalf of AOL/CNN and Viacom.

Posted by: memekiller on May 19, 2008 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure guys like WaPo writer Richard Cohen, who says:

In 2000, I boarded John McCain's campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, and, in a metaphorical sense, never got off. Here, truly, was something new under the political sun -- a politician who bristled with integrity and seemed to have nothing to hide.

Will be right on the case.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 19, 2008 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly who hired who? McCain works for them. If one or five of them left because they got outed it doesn't matter. Big Business Inc keeps their candidates surrounded by layers and layers of handlers. We're nowhere close to the top of this cabal.

Posted by: dennisS on May 19, 2008 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Did you catch Mark Halperin of Time on ABC News explaining that these resignations show how serious McCain is about ridding himself of lobbyists? How can you parody these people?

Posted by: Betty on May 19, 2008 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

And does anyone seriously doubt that these same people will resume their close proximity to McCain after the elections. It's kind of like pushing the boyfriend out the window before Mom and Dad come home. One more long kiss and down the trellis ... for now.

Posted by: Danp on May 19, 2008 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

I don't disagree with you that the MSM should step up their game, but on the other hand it's not like their failures are making McCain look, well, competent. On the contrary, they make him look like a guy who keeps shooting himself in the foot over and over again. Not exactly presidential timber.

Posted by: AndrewBW on May 19, 2008 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

I used to work for Loeffler. He's an above-average fundraiser, but too slimy to appoint to a campaign position. Of DC lobbyists, he's particularly unfamiliar with ethics and morals. With him, the almighty dollar is all that counts.

Posted by: tec619 on May 19, 2008 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Five down, 100 to go.

Posted by: Nell on May 19, 2008 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Focus on Charlie Black, the dirtiest dictators' lobbyist, who was conducting lobbying business from the "Straight Talk Express" earlier this year.

No way not to know who and what Black is, and he's the campaign manager.

Posted by: Nell on May 19, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry Kevin, as Chuck Todd revealed, McCain has "too much in the bank" with the press for them to follow up on any of his numerous gaffes or scandals.

Posted by: Killjoy on May 19, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Why should lobbyists have to suffer through unemployment before the election? McCain is providing a public service, much like when Al Capone hired ex-cons.

Posted by: gaston44 on May 19, 2008 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I deserve more credit than that!

Posted by: A child on May 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Umm... Kevin, they're his base.

He's a Maverick! He's Mr Straight Talk! He can Appeal To Independents!

See Matt Bai, yesterday, write: "John McCain has never been very good at political artifice. Like every politician I've known, McCain will sometimes surrender to the cheap ploy or prevarication when the moment demands it, but it is often with a smirk or a wince, some hard-to-miss signal that he knows he's up to no good."


See, he's honorable! Yes, of course, he's a politician, but we in the press know that underneath it all, he's really noble! Did you know he was a prisoner in Vietnam?

It's The Narrative. Why fight it? George W Bush is really A Regular Guy. Hillary Clinton has No Principles. John Edwards had a $400 Haircut.

Posted by: Andrew on May 19, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

All of the big media outfits are in the rethug pockets. The reporters don't have to be told directly how to report on the candidates or the political parties, the corporate ethos will direct them toward the proper narrative without overt muscle. The reporters have imbibed the nourishing liquid refreshment handed out and found it to be addicting. The SCLM reporters see no hypocracy on their part and defend each others backs without a second thought. The SCLM reporters have actually scrutinized st. mccain very closely and will be very happy to have him as President because they love the current version that they helped to create and this will be a rerun.

Posted by: BearCountry on May 19, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Did you catch Mark Halperin of Time on ABC News explaining that these resignations show how serious McCain is about ridding himself of lobbyists? How can you parody these people?

It's the same way that my breaking off my affairs with my multiple mistresses after getting caught shows how serious I am about monogamy....

Posted by: Stefan on May 19, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

It's change you deserve!

Posted by: Cougarhutch on May 20, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
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