If you haven't read the New York Times piece about John McCain's dealings with Vicki Iseman, 40 year old lobbyist, go here. Link
Apparently in 1999-2000, Ms. Iseman, working as a lobbyist, was often seen hanging around McCain. They traveled together on corporate jets. She attended McCain fundraisers. Now ex-McCain campaign 2000 aides say they warned McCain that this might appear unethical to some and indiscriminate to others. Potentially endangering McCain's presidential aspirations.
To me, this story's essence is not found in any dalliances McCain and the lobbyist may or may not have had. This story calls into question the lily-white, allegedly straight talking, reputation of the GOP nominee for president. I had a video of this morning's response by McCain but effing Yahoo is all effed up.
In his answers this morning, McCain didn't tell the complete truth about the letter he wrote to the FCC in 1999. A letter that can be interpreted as an attempt to fulfill Ms. Iseman's request for her lobbying client Paxson Communications. About the letter he wrote to the FCC, McCain says, " And the former chairman of the FCC at the time in 2000 said that was more than an appropriate role for me to play as chairman of the oversight committee."
As The Boston Globe reported way back in 2000, William Kennard, the FCC chair at the time, had immediately objected to McCain's December 10, 1999 letter, replying four days later that it was "highly unusual" and that he was "concerned" at what effect McCain's letter might have on the decision process. Link
Here's a portion of Kennard's letter back to McCain....
Your letter, however, comes at a sensitive time in the deliberative process as the individual commissioners finalize their views and their votes on this matter. I must respectfully note that it is highly unusual for the commissioners to be asked to publicly announce their voting status on a matter that is still pending. I am concerned that inquiries concerning the individual deliberations of each commissioner could have procedural and substantive impacts on the commission's deliberations and, thus, on the due process rights of the parties. Link
If nothing else, John McCain is not being entirely truthful here.
The New York Times, predictably, is being portrayed as the bad guy. Rush and the Knee Padders are rallying against the Times and, by default, for McCain.
However, I believe the story raises larger concerns about McCain's judgment and a troubling kind of unitary executive approach to his own ethics, if you will. Maybe McCain and his followers need to ratchet down their plans to push the Saint John Immaculate Image message throughout the general election campaign.
From the NY Times article...
Charlie Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”
That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.
A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.
Yet McCain denies knowing any of this.
While I do not dislike John McCain, and I certainly would never disparage his service to America.....still....he is a man who is full of himself. At least that's how he comes across. It's an unappealing character trait. He displayed this trait in the debates. Cocky, arrogant, above it all. In his press conference this morning, the self-righteousness coming from McCain was so thick, it could be cut with a knife. He is a man who actually believes he is not like other men, who might have ethical lapses or poor judgment, and he is not shy about telling everybody.
How would that affect his performance as president? Stubbornness hasn't worked out all that well for George W. Bush.
No one knows whether this story has legs, obviously someone isn't telling the whole truth. We'll see. However, McCain is no straight talker, and he has proven time and time again to be a flip-flopper for political expediency reasons. He was involved, but never charged, in the Keating 5 scandal of the 80's. He says he called for Rumsfeld's ousting, even though he didn't. Many other examples are out there of McCain's being on both sides of an issue.
Perhaps this lobbyist story will be a wakeup call to the Vietnam Veteran. Self-awareness is not his strong suit. Maybe that "maverick" label is really only cover for an arrogant, self-righteous authoritarian guy....with a quick temper.
I'll post my conspiracy theory about this story later.
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