October 6, 2008

Here's the 13 minute documentary on John McCain's involvement in the Keating 5. Obama is finally forcing this scandal out in the open where journalists have remained virtually mum on the topic. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post says:

While the "Keating Five" has occasionally come up in McCain's political career, it has never been an issue that has caused him any significant agita. McCain, who was cited for poor judgment but nothing else by the Senate Ethics Committee, has pointed to his experience with the "Keating Five" as his spur to pushing for campaign finance reform and the limitation of money in campaign politics.

The "Keating Five" episode has the potential -- we repeat, potential -- to cast a pall over that McCain as maverick image. The more people see McCain as just another politician, the worse chance he has of making a comeback in the final month of the campaign.

As Billmon notes, McCain developed his phony Maverick image because of the scandal.

In a sense, the scandal marked the birth of the McCain "brand," because unlike the other four of the Five, he stood up in the Senate and more or less admitted he was guilty (not nearly as guilty as the others, he hastened to point out – but still, he felt bad about what he had done.) This went over really big with the media ("Senator admits guilt" outranking even man bites dog on the news-o-meter.

I find it appalling that the media has ignored McCain's involvement in this scandal and then helped brand him a Maverick in the process. You would think that after the economic meltdown we are experiencing the Villagers would make it public finally, right? Wrong. Cillizza is correct to say that this could hurt McCain in the final thirty days. It should, but he's wrong when he brings up the Hannity type attacks on Obama as a sort of even exchange. I wish the journalists would stick to solid facts and not idiot associations put ut by a desperate campaign. C&L and many others have been pushing this out there and finally it's getting the attention it deserves. In response to this documentary, the McCain campaign said that bringing up this scandal is a hit job:

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, John Dowd, a partner at the powerhouse lobbying/consulting firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, painted the Keating investigation as a "political smear job" led by Democrats who needed to make the issue a bipartisan embarrassment rather than own it themselves.

Ben Smith says:

I'd always thought McCain's great strength in defending the Keating affair was that he'd acknolwedged making a huge mistake, and spent his career repenting by recasting himself as a reformer.

So when his campaign puts his lawyer on the line with reporters to contest the details of a congressional inquiry that, largely, let McCain off the hook, doesn't that cloud the sin-confession-atonement dynamic a bit?

I'm sorry, the market is in the tank and we can't take the chance of turning over our economy to John McCain because we know what the result will be. With the Phill Gramm's of the world hanging on his coattails and calling us "a nation of whiners," another catastrophe is headed our way while this one sinks us to new lows.

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