ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does McCain Get the Irony?

After the New York Times hit piece on John McCain, I posted here that the Times wasn't going after the possibility of McCain having an illicit affair with a lobbyist, but that the Times was using a ploy used by Rove (and our merry band of conspirators). Rove has stated, instructed, explained several times that most times, the perceived strengths of a particular candidate (or person in general) are simply attempts by the person to cover up inadequacies in a particular area by portraying themselves as strong in that area.

Thus, John Kerry "reported for duty" and the Dems cheered. thinking they could "out-hero" George W. Bush - while in reality, Kerry's war record, return from Vietnam, and his record in the Congress on military and foreign policy matters were actually his weakness.

Similarly, Algore's strength (he's a wonk and knows more than anyone in the room) was turned into his weakness as people realized that he's really not that smart (although he protrayed himself that way).

Well, this George Will column on McCain is pointing to the same phenomenon. McCain's constant attacks that people with the "appearance" of corruption might as well be corrupt is starting to be turned against him. McCain's holier-than-thou and portrayal of himself as the incorruptible maverick is pointing to the fact that he may not be so much of a maverick and may not be so incorruptible (according to his standards):

[McCain], although no stickler about social niceties[...], should thank the Times, for two reasons.

First, the Times muddied, with unsubstantiated sexual innuendo about a female lobbyist, a story about McCain's flights on jets owned by corporations with business before the Senate Commerce Committee, and his meeting with a broadcaster (McCain at first denied it happened; the broadcaster insists it did, and McCain now agrees) who sought and received McCain's help in pressuring the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps McCain did nothing corrupt, but he promiscuously accuses others of corruption, or the "appearance" thereof. And he insists that the appearance of corruption justifies laws criminalizing political behavior -- e.g., broadcasting an electioneering communication that "refers to" a federal candidate during the McCain-Feingold blackout period close to an election.

McCain should thank the Times also because its semi-steamy story distracted attention from an unsavory story about McCain's dexterity in gaming the system for taxpayer financing of campaigns. Last summer, when his mismanagement of his campaign left it destitute, he applied for public funding, which entails spending limits. He seemed to promise to use tax dollars as partial collateral for a bank loan.

There are two ways for a candidate to get on Ohio's primary ballot -- comply with complex, expensive rules for gathering signatures or simply be certified to receive taxpayer funding. McCain's major Republican rivals did the former. He did the latter.

Democrats, whose attachment to campaign reforms is as episodic as McCain's, argue that having made such uses of promised matching funds, McCain is committed to taking them and abiding by spending limits -- which would virtually silence his campaign until the September convention. This would be condign punishment for his argument that restricting spending does not restrict speech. But Bradley Smith offers him some support.
In 2001, McCain, a situational ethicist regarding "big money" in politics, founded the Reform Institute to lobby for his agenda of campaign restrictions. It accepted large contributions, some of six figures, from corporations with business before the Commerce Committee (e.g., Echosphere, DISH Network, Cablevision Systems Corp., a charity funded by the head of Univision). The Reform Institute's leadership included Potter and two others who are senior advisers in McCain's campaign, Rick Davis and Carla Eudy.

Although his campaign is run by lobbyists; and although his dealings with lobbyists have generated what he, when judging the behavior of others, calls corrupt appearances; and although he has profited from his manipulation of the taxpayer-funding system that is celebrated by reformers -- still, he probably is innocent of insincerity. Such is his towering moral vanity, he seems sincerely to consider it theoretically impossible for him to commit the offenses of appearances that he incessantly ascribes to others.

Such certitude is, however, not merely an unattractive trait. It is disturbing righteousness in someone grasping for presidential powers.

One wonders whether McCain understands the manner in which he has tied his own hands in this campaign.

Given the way that the McCain-Obama kerfluffle over Al Qaeda in Iraq went, I expect a bloodbath in November. While Obama is uneducated about the realities in Iraq, he is too quick, too eloquent, and lacks enough of a record for McCain to land any hard blows. Add to this the MSM backing and it probably won't be close.

All Hail President Obama!

I can't wait for the Dear Leader to force me to change my ways, make me work hard every day, and repair my soul through his eloquence.

Sí se puede!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler