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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, April 21, 2008

What's good for the goose...

Where's the flag pin Senator?

John McCain spent some time with George Stephanopoulos yesterday, and to the best of my knowledge there were no questions about his failure to wear an American flag pin in his lapel. (The video player was hinky but it's worth noting the lack of pin in this image).

But the presumptive GOP presidential nominee did spend some time questioning Barack Obama's "association" with University of Chicago English professor and one-time Weather Underground member William Ayers, as the Swift Boat segment of the 2008 campaign gets into high gear.

So in the interest of equal time I have a question for the Arizona senator: what about your relationship with Charles Keating?

You remember Keating? He was the anti-pornography crusader and bank executive who was a key player in the savings and loan scandals that cost American taxpayers millions -- and who took the Fifth during congressional testimony. True-blue Republican hypocrite that Mr. Keating.

And surely you remember the Keating Five -- five US Senators accused of doing Keating's bidding on Capitol Hill? And that John McCain was the only Republican member of the Keating Five? You recall he took campaign contributions from Keating and his associates, took trips on Keating's corporate jet and failed to pay for them?

And surely you recall that McCain was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for "poor judgment"?

There's far more substance in McCain's relationship with Keating than in Barack Obama's alleged ties to Ayers. So where's the concern on the part of the GOP?

It's clear why the attacks start now: John McCain has very little to run on aside from smears.

His support for the war in Iraq, including his inability to draw a clear distinction between Iraqi Sunnis and Iranian Shiites, is a clear losing issue. He has failed to really grasp the significance of the economic problems facing the United States (including a financial scandal that makes the savings and loan crisis look puny).

Or maybe he was just trying to change the subject from the question of his temper?

Careful Mr. Straight Talk. Smears work both ways.

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