As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

McCain's Lobbying Problem Goes Mainstream

Ever since John McCain implemented new rules that should have forced him to fire his entire staff, and ended up in him actually firing his convention manager, one of his national finance co-chairs, a regional campaign manager, and a senior aide, there was no way for the press to ignore such a barrage without reporting on it. Not to mention the fact that BarackObama started talking about it as well.

"It appears that John McCain is very much a creature of Washington and one of the things that we've said from the outset of this campaign is that if we're gonna change policies, if we're gonna deliver on universal health care or have an energy policy that over the long term can bring down gas prices that we were gonna have to change how Washington works," Obama told reporters Sunday at an ice cream shop in Milwaukie, Ore. "We can't have special interests dictating what's happening there and that's why I said at the beginning I wouldn't take PAC money and I wouldn't take money from federal lobbyists. And it does appear that over the last several weeks John McCain keeps on having problems with his top advisers being lobbyists, in some cases for foreign governments or other big interests that are doing business in Washington that I don't think represents the kind of change that the American people are looking for."

It's enough of a tie to "old Washington" and the failed policies of the past that McCain's got the least popular President in the history of modern polling coming to raise money for him next week. That alone will dip his poll numbers. But the ubiquity of the lobbyists in his campaign finally breaking out into the open is deadly, because he's carefully cultivated the image of being an independent maverick, and it's being assaulted on all sides.

"It's the biggest anti-Washington streak in the American electorate in decades, and McCain's problem is that his campaign is full of Washington-lobbyist types," said Chris Kofinis, a former John Edwards aide. "You can't be the guy who is striving for reform when the people who run the campaign are fighting against reform."

Democrats have hammered McCain on that very issue for months, noting that campaign manager Rick Davis and senior adviser Charlie Black have spent decades lobbying in Washington. Both have left their companies.

Yes, Davis left the company, but his name's still on the lobbying firm's letterhead, which means they're making money based on his association to McCain. Bad job by the AP there.

McCain isn't going to be able to run from these associations but we're now down to people like Black and Davis who aren't expendable. The information will continue to mount on sites like McCainpedia. And activist online video like this one from Brave New Films will continue to expose the deceptions and undercut the straight talk reform image. And the front-page stories almost write themselves.

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