The New York Times published an article called “For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Is Own Risk” where they highlight a relationship McCain had with a female telecom lobbyist Vicki Iseman. Keith Olbermann breaks it down about as well as anybody. I doubt if we will see a Kenneth Starr-esque investigation of the matter, nor a soiled blue dress as evidence, so I doubt this will go much further than suspicion.
However, aides were convinced that they were having a romantic relationship, and while they could be wrong, it demonstrates a degree of intimacy that I find disconcerting regardless of whether or not they were intimate in private. However, given McCain’s personal history and circumstances, there is a good chance that they were.
- Iseman was 31-33 at the time
- McCain was 62-63 at the time
- McCain has admitted to having extramarital affairs before
Again, I don’t really want to focus on speculation, but rather the facts. Ms. Iseman, a female telecom lobbyist “had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet.” That is exactly the type of influence-peddling, corrupt environment with corporate-interested lobbyists that ought to be avoided. This is exactly the type of corruption McCain is supposed to be against, yet he apparently wallowed in it until aides noticed the problem.
John McCain is the only remaining member of the Keating 5. A scandal where an obvious tit-for-tat relationship existed between five senators who pressured the Federal Home Loan Bank Board’s chairman Edwin Gray to ease up on their investigation of Charles H. Keating Jr. after the collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan Association in exchange for over $1.3 million in campaign contributions.
Everybody has their personal vices and faults. However, we need to look past the myth and see the larger personal narrative here. McCain is no maverick reformer. He is the literal embodiment of a beltway insider. To the degree that McCain believes himself to be a maverick, so much the hazard for all of us, because that would mean he believes himself to be immune or above the influences the rest of us would feel in compromising situations and is not inclined to avoid them. His past faults would all be viewed as one-offs, issues that he has put behind him, and that is the exact problem. He would be incapable of the types of self-reflection needed to compensate for past mistakes, and would instead charge right in to new disasters. We can see this behavior in McCain’s reaction to the New York Times article:
It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.
Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.
Look at the cognitive dissonance: “there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career” and “it is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign.” If there is nothing in the article to suggest McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career, then how has The New York Times engaged in a hit-and-run smear campaign? I’m not trying to be dense here. I’m just saying, either the article suggested that McCain violated his principles or The New York Times is not engaged in a hit-and-run smear campaign. However for McCain, both are true, the New York Times is engaged in smearing him and there is not even the suggestion of anything being wrong, even descriptions of his relationship with Ms. Iseman. It is proof of the lack of self-reflection, even in his campaign’s reaction to the piece.
McCain’s particular relationship with the telecom industry is also of immense importance considering the current “Catch-22” scenario happening in the courts regarding the telecom industry’s role in helping the government illegally spy on Americans. Keith Olbermann and Jonathan Turley explain. It will be up to the next president to clean-up the mess that George W. Bush leaves behind. It is extraordinarily evident that a vote for McCain would represent more of the same in almost every conceivable dimension. In the final analysis, McCain is as much of a maverick as Bush was a decider.