As usual, the mainstream media is completely missing the point as it relates to John McCain’s alleged “improper” relationship with a female lobbyist. The main topic of conversation today on the campaign trail was an article in the New York Times which raised the possibility that McCain may have had a romantic relationship with Vicki Iseman, a lobbyist with clients whose businesses fall under the purview of Senate committees that John McCain sits on. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass if McCain was getting it on with a lobbyist. What I care about is whether the man can be taken at his word or whether he is for sale to the highest bidder like most members of Congress. And, between all of the sensationalistic nonsense that the New York Times chose to make such a big deal of, I think I found my answer.
By way of providing background, the article reprised the story of the Keating Five scandal that cost three Senators their jobs and nearly ended John McCain’s career. According to the Times, during McCain’s years in the House of Representatives, he became friendly with Charles Keating, Chairman of Lincoln Savings & Loan. Among other things, McCain received large campaign donations from Keating, took free flights on Keating’s private jet (a violation of ethics rules which McCain later claimed was an oversight), and vacationed with Keating in the Bahamas. In addition, the year McCain was elected to the Senate, his wife invested in an Arizona shopping mall along with Mr. Keating. (McCain claimed that there was no conflict of interest due to the fact that he and his wife had a prenuptial agreement dividing their assets.)
During the 1980’s, Keating’s S & L was using federally insured deposits to bet on risky real estate and other investments. McCain and other law makers used their positions to prevent federal regulators from probing the bank’s investments and intervened on behalf of Keating in 1987, shortly before the bank went bust costing taxpayers $3.4 billion. In his memoirs, McCain acknowledged his mistakes and said, “Its recollection still provokes a vague but real feeling that I had lost something very important. I still wince thinking about it.”
So, now fast-forward a decade, and like a reformed-alcoholic-turned-aggressive-teetotaler, John McCain has successfully redefined himself as a crusader against special interests and a champion of campaign finance reform. Another suggestion has now arisen about whether he might have improperly used his position to benefit clients of a lobbyist he is connected with. Obviously whether or not any allegations of an affair are true will boil down to he-said-she-said, and we’ll never know the whole truth. However, there was one line in the NYT article that told me all I need to know about John McCain. When questioned about whether he had acted improperly on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients, McCain told the Times, “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that.” Um, excuse me?
Once again, my purpose in raising all of this is not to argue about whether McCain acted improperly in relation to Ms. Iseman’s clients. I have no idea whether he did or not. What concerns me is that he is willing to tell a bald-faced lie to the American people. It is demonstrably false that John McCain has “never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that.” He could have said that he didn’t do anything improper in these circumstances, or he could have said that he hasn’t betrayed the public trust since the mid-80’s, but that’s not what he said. He said, “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that.” By his own admission, that is a lie. And that tells me all I need to know.
John McCain, like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, and probably the majority of elected officials in Washington, is willing to tell the American people flat-out, demonstrable lies if he thinks it will serve his purposes. Anyone who is capable of such behavior should be immediately disqualified from the presidency. Therefore, even if I wasn’t already opposed to McCain’s candidacy on the basis of his support of the Iraq War, the fact that he is a confirmed liar means that he does not deserve to be President – end of story.