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"Connected" and "Working the System"

By The Reverend Published: May 10, 2008

Remember the Vicki Iseman, John McCain, NY Times article a while back that wingnut screechers got so worked up over? The Times piece explained how McCain helped Iseman's lobbying client Paxson Communications receive special treatment from the FCC in a request for more single market media control. We found out from that story that the Straight Talker was not above some Straight Influence Peddling.

Well now there's another influence peddling story about another one of McCain's powerful friends in yet another NY Times piece.....

In building his empire, Mr. (Donald) Diamond said he had struggled with local elected officials over land use and zoning issues just like any other developer. “They are a pain in the ‘you-know-what,’ ” he said.

But associates say he revels in his ability to “work the system,” as his friend and sometimes partner, Stanley Abrams, put it: “Nobody is as connected as Donald.”

Powerful and rich people play by a different set of rules than, you know, the rest of us. They can "work the system" because they are "connected". Here's why a powerful rich person like John McCain's close friend, Donald Diamond, raises so much money for politicians, like John McCain.....

Mr. Diamond is close to most of Arizona’s Congressional delegation and is candid about his expectations as a fund-raiser. “I want my money back, for Christ’s sake. Do you know how many cocktail parties I have to go to?”

Hey, if you have to attend numerous boring, belabored, bullsh*t fundraisers and cocktail parties, sure better pay off in the long run....."I want my money back, for Christ's sake" one could confuse a statement like that with, you know, pay to play......or anything like that, right?

Donald Diamond's experience "working the system" that he is so "connected" to, including in this case John McCain, is similar to the Vicki Iseman/Paxson Communications influence peddling experience which also traveled through the office of John McCain.

When Mr. Diamond wanted to buy land at the base, Fort Ord, Mr. McCain assigned an aide who set up a meeting at the Pentagon and later stepped in again to help speed up the sale,

In California, the McCain aide’s assistance with the Army helped Mr. Diamond complete a purchase in 1999 that he soon turned over for a $20 million profit. And Mr. McCain’s letter of recommendation reinforced Mr. Diamond’s selling point about his McCain connections as he pursued — and won in 2005 — a potentially much more lucrative deal to develop a resort hotel and luxury housing. Link

John McCain doesn't see anything wrong with this kind of influence and access peddling. While the Arizona senator insists he has never done anything wrong in any of his dealings, perhaps with the exclusion of the Keating 5 caper that McCain was deeply involved in, the stories of influence peddling and access selling combined with Diamond's very clear, "I want my money back, for Christ's sake", paint a different picture.

McCain has always accepted the status quo "pay to play" system. He doesn't buck that system, he adapts and morphs to fit it.

I realize that what a candidate's pastor says is the most significant issue to consider in determining the leader of the free world.....more significant than any such thing like access and influence peddling. I realize that. Still, there's a pattern forming here with McCain, a's starting to look like McCain is just another, run-of-the-mill, GOP, sleaze artist.....willing to help those who help him.

We need a president who "works the system" for all of Americans, not just the powerful, rich and "connected".

Read the entire NY Times piece.



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