The NYT has a story headlined ‘Worries in G.O.P. About Disarray in McCain Camp’. It contained this rather astonishing passage:
“The string of departures from the campaign was prompted by questions about lobbying activities by aides and advisers to Mr. McCain and a new policy, which he dictated, that active lobbyists not be allowed to hold paying jobs in the campaign. Mr. Schmidt said that policy was an example of how Mr. McCain would take tough action, part of a contrast he said they would draw with Mr. Obama for â€œgiving great speechesâ€ but having no record of accomplishment.”
Let me get this straight. Obama has refused, from the outset, to take money from lobbyists and PACs. He has also refused to have lobbyists on his paid staff. When the RNC has tried to catch him in hypocrisy, it has had to resort to such claims as: he lets lobbyists give him free advice! He has people on his staff who used to be lobbyists!
By contrast, until quite recently, John McCain’s campaign was full of lobbyists:
“For years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has railed against lobbyists and the influence of “special interests” in Washington, touting on his campaign Web site his fight against “the ‘revolving door’ by which lawmakers and other influential officials leave their posts and become lobbyists for the special interests they have aided.”
But when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington’s lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.
Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O’ Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae. (…)
Even as Black provides a private voice and a public face for McCain, he also leads his lobbying firm, which offers corporate interests and foreign governments the promise of access to the most powerful lawmakers. Some of those companies have interests before the Senate and, in particular, the Commerce Committee, of which McCain is a member.
Black said he does a lot of his work by telephone from McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus.”
Yep: McCain’s senior political advisor was running a lobbying firm which was registered as an agent for several foreign governments as well as a whole host of corporations, from McCain’s campaign bus. But when it turned out that two of McCain’s people had lobbied for the odious Government of Myanmar, McCain suddenly saw the wisdom of adopting Obama’s approach, and started shedding lobbyists. (Not, however, Charlie Black: while he has resigned from his lobbying firm, the fact that he has represented Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko, Mohamed Siad Barre, Jonas Savimbi, and Ahmed Chalabi is apparently not a problem.)
And the fact that Obama spotted the problems with having lobbyists working for his campaign from the outset and avoided it, while McCain let it fester until it blew up in his face, is supposed to show that McCain “takes tough action” while Obama just gives speeches? Sounds like a winning argument to me.
(Cross-posted at Obsidian Wings.)