Last week John McCain's campaign sought to deflect any suggestion of an romantic inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, that grew from a NEW YORK TIMES story. However, the McCain campaign merely whitewashed the fact that McCain is little more than an old guard politician who maintains close ties to a number of active lobbyists, including some who are currently associated with his campaign as advisors even though they continue to maintain an active role lobbying on behalf of clients in congress.
The McCain campaign is so neck-deep in lobbyists that it has actually gone as far as delegating a lobbyist, Charles Black, to handle the damage control for the NEW YORK TIMES story. Black is a long-time Republican Party main fixture and the head of powerful lobby organization BKSH & Associates which has actively lobbied congress on behalf of major clients such as General Motors, JP Morgan, U.S. Airways, Alcoa and mega telecommunications interest, AT&T. AT&T was also the second largest contributor to John McCain during the 2006 election cycle as well.
Interestingly, Black's lobby organization has even received a $340,000 lobby contract from a seafood exporters organization from Vietnam, which certainly cannot hurt considering that McCain has a position on the Senate Subcommittee On Commerce, Trade And Tourism, and is a position to cast votes dealing with trade with Vietnam.
And since McCain also holds positions on the Senate Committee On Commerce, Science And Transportation as well as the Senate Sub-Committee On Consumer Affairs, Insurance And Automobile Safety, having a close lobbyist adviser like Charles Black working with his campaign who has been paid $570,000 in lobby fees from General Motors, gives this powerful automobile interest a close ally with strong influence on McCain's policies. And despite being declared by a federal judge as violating civil racketeering laws, Philip Morris has paid Black's lobby organization in excess of $1.2 million dollars in lobby fees to gain influence for pro-tobacco interests in Washington.
Unfortunately the John McCain of 2008 is hardly much different than the John McCain who was once a figure in the 1980's 'Keating Five' Savings & Loan Scandal, in which powerful senators such as McCain were implicated in this influence peddling scheme to manipulate savings and loans by Charles Keating. For McCain, it became a form of good public relations to be suddenly known as a "reformer" in congress after this scandal, even if that image is mostly a phony one for a powerful long-time politician who travels with lobbyists like Vicki Iseman, or uses major lobbyists as main campaign advisors such as Charlie Black.
The McCain campaign may choose to call themselves, the "Straight Talk Express for public consumption. But the fact of the matter is John McCain is all about business as usual in Washington and his phony image as a sort of a "Snow White" is actually closely followed with a number of tight lobbyists pals as thick as the "Seven Dwarfs".
John McCain's main campaign chairman, Rick Davis did however manage to take a temporary leave of his powerful lobbying organization to give a paper-thin appearance of some separation from so many lobbyists who surround themselves around the long time Washington politician. However if the voting public really views this any true independence from powerful lobbyists, then they are merely only fooling themselves. A simple public image makeover still doesn't transform the truth of John McCain as your typical longtime Washington politician.
The McCain campaign was even able to skillfully spin conservative resentment against the NEW YORK TIMES story into raising $2 million in campaign funds in a 24 hour period, while whitewashing the fact that the NYT story did raise serious questions about the hypocrisy of McCain in regards to powerful lobbyists. Some people will fall for anything it seems.
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