Daily Chicken Scratch

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

McCain: Flip-Flops Newest Star

Old Johnny Boy doesn't really know what to think anymore and he proves it daily as the race for the White House heats up. I am surprised that McCain doesn't cry foul against himself for his own questionable ethics. I love how politicians can stand for both sides of an issue. DJ M.C. Cain's newest album "Diary of a Flip Flop Icon" drops Tuesday in New Hampshire.

It is common for politicians to court big money during a campaign. But private schmooze sessions such as the gathering in Utah pose a particular dilemma for McCain, who has spent a long career decrying "special interests" and politicians who offer special access to them in order to raise money. As a presidential candidate this year, McCain has found himself assiduously courting both lobbyists and their wealthy clients, offering them private audiences as part of his fundraising. He also counts more than 30 lobbyists among his chief fundraisers, more than any other presidential contender.

McCain has consistently fought in the Senate against pork-barrel spending from such interests and championed laws to restrict their lobbying and political donations. But his aides bridle at the notion that he might favor his big contributors. "There's never been anybody who's done more to rein in special interests and lobbyists than John McCain," Davis said. "If you give to him, you know there's no quid pro quo. People give to him because they want him to be president of the United States. They can't be motivated by any other reason."

McCain began his anti-special-interest drive two decades ago after he and four other senators were accused of trying to influence bank regulators on behalf of donor Charles Keating, a savings and loan financier later convicted of securities fraud. The Senate ethics committee said McCain had used "poor judgment" but also said his actions "were not improper" and did not merit punishment.

Ever since, McCain has made high ethical standards a hallmark of his public persona. In his 2002 memoir, he wrote that "money does buy access in Washington, and access increases influence that often results in benefiting the few at the expense of the many." Just this month in Detroit, he told reporters that he had "never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special interest group -- that's a clear, 24-year record."

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