More Tales of the Bus of Straight Talk

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Here’s some straight talk from John McCain’s very own website:

The American people have been alienated from the process of self-government by the overwhelming appearance of their elected leaders having sold-out to the big-moneyed special interests who help finance political campaigns.

…what most Americans worry about profoundly is corporations or individuals with huge checks seeking the undue influence on lawmakers that such largesse is intended to purchase. That is why John McCain has fought to enforce long-standing prohibitions on corporate and union contributions to federal political parties, for sensible donation limits, disclosure of how candidates and campaigns are funded, and the diligent enforcement of these common sense rules that promote maximum public participation in the political process and limit opportunities for corruption.

Oh yah and you betcha. Count me in. On the other hand, it is public knowledge — if anyone’s actually paying attention — that the McCain campaign team is as thick with lobbyists as mosquitos in a Minnesota swamp in June at twilight, including lobbyists for “a notorious lender in the mortgage meltdown.” No wonder his speech on the economy made Herbert Hoover seem like an activist in comparison. The lobbyist highlighted in the news today, however, takes the prize for sleaze , and the announcement for horrible timing:

After John McCain nailed down the Republican nomination in March, his campaign began wrestling with a sensitive personnel issue: who would manage this summer’s GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn.? The campaign recently tapped Doug Goodyear for the job, a veteran operative and Arizonan who was chosen for his “management experience and expertise,” according to McCain press secretary Jill Hazelbaker.

Here’s where the experience factor gets interesting:

[Goodyear’s] firm was paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent Burma’s military junta, which had been strongly condemned by the State Department for its human-rights record and remains in power today. Justice Department lobbying records show DCI pushed to “begin a dialogue of political reconciliation” with the regime. It also led a PR campaign to burnish the junta’s image, drafting releases praising Burma’s efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing “falsehoods” by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other abuses.

Burma!! Oh, my. What can one say?

“It was our only foreign representation, it was for a short tenure, and it was six years ago,” Goodyear [said], adding the junta’s record in the current cyclone crisis is “reprehensible.”

I guess if you dis your former client, well, alrighty then! But Goodyear’s new job presents yet another pothole on the straight talk highway:

DCI has been a pioneer in running “independent” expenditure campaigns by so–called 527 groups, precisely the kind of operations that McCain, in his battle for campaign-finance reform, has denounced. In 2004, the DCI Group led a pro-Bush 527 called Progress for America, which was later fined (along with several other 527s on both sides of the political divide) for violating federal election laws. Goodyear, however, says that DCI is “not in the 527 business anymore.”

Gotta hand it to that Doug Goodyear. He has a way of explaining stuff away. Besides, it appears that Goodyear was the better choice:

Ironically, Goodyear was chosen for the post after the McCain campaign nixed another candidate, Paul Manafort, who runs a lobbying firm with McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis. The prospect of choosing Manafort created anxiety in the campaign because of his long history of representing controversial foreign clients, including Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. More recently, he served as chief political consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian prime minister who has been widely criticized for alleged corruption and for his close ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin—a potential embarrassment for McCain, who in 2007 called Putin a “totalitarian dictator.” “The Ukrainian stuff was viewed as too much,” says one McCain strategist, who asked not to be identified discussing the matter.

Right. Too much is too much. John McCain has to draw the line somewhere.

UPDATE: Mr. Goodyear has resigned.  Kudos to Newsweek for the journalism.


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