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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"I did not have financial relations with that woman..."

OK, John McCain may have opted to take the time-honored approach in reacting to a New York Times article examining his relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. He blamed the liberal media for stooping to "gutter politics" instead.

But the questions about McCain and Iseman serve to level the 2008 playing field about closets and skeletons. Iseman will join Tony Rezko and the Whitewater portfolio in raising questions about candidates who move in the high-powered world of money and power.

Leaving aside the sexual undertones of the McCain-Iseman relationship, you have a clear case of what the Times labeled the "enduring paradox" of John McCain:
Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.
It was either naivety or hubris to presume the media would not look into the ethical background of a man who has transformed from a member of the Keating Five to the "champion" of campaign reform.

Hillary Clinton's campaign raison d'etre comes down to her closets have been emptied of skeletons. Barack Obama continues to have questions raised about his dealings with Chicago businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko (or slumlord as the Clinton campaign has called him).

It's also somewhat humorous that the McCainiacs are focusing their wrath on the Times when the story, er rumors, er, whatever, first surfaced on The Drudge Report. You know that liberal media organ that shills for its advertisers by asking "Will Obama get another free pass from the liberal media?" You know, Monica Central?

What I find most ironic is the timing -- tied to the most recent campaign finance reports showing how awash the system is in money. What's worse -- Myth Romney squandering the five boys' inheritance to the tune of $42.3 million or $167,000 per delegate or Obama raising about $138 million from almost one million contributors?

Both reflect a problem with the power of cash -- but neither Romney nor Obama would seem to be as dependent on large donors as McCain, who seemed to be skillful in the art of saying one thing and doing another while he campaigned for campaign finance reform.

You know, straight talk.

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