Might As Well Face It, He's Addicted to Lobbyists

Sometimes you just have to know when to say no -- a lesson John McCain has not yet learned.

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has engaged a leading GOP lobbyist to coordinate his message and travel schedule with congressional Republicans -- the most concrete sign yet that the biggest battleground in the 2008 presidential race may not be Pennsylvania or Ohio or Florida's I-4 corridor but rather the floor of the United States Senate.

John Green, a founding partner of what is now Ogilvy Government Relations, will soon take a leave of absence from that firm to work as a full-time liaison between McCain's presidential campaign and Republicans in the House and the Senate, according to GOP aides on Capitol Hill and McCain surrogates downtown. Green, a Mississippi native, has strong ties in the Senate after his years of work for former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), a vocal McCain supporter who left Congress late last year to set up his own lobbying shop.

Green is part of a small cadre of lobbyists who have met regularly to help build support for McCain on Capitol Hill. The group, which includes fellow Ogilvy partner Wayne Berman, has been helping the senator secure congressional endorsements in recent weeks to ensure he solidifies his status as the GOP front-runner.

John McCain just doesn't know how to say "no" to lobbyists -- and perhaps even more problematically, McCain doesn't know how to get things done without having lobbyists in tow. Right now the establishment media -- and even some in the so-called "reform community" -- appear more than willing to continue to give McCain a pass in this area despite their brief interlude of reporting on these ties. But this won't necessarily last forever, particularly given that some of McCain's top advisors admit to lobbying on McCain's campaign bus.

But even as [McCain's chief political strategist Charlie] 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.

Again, this unfortunately is not yet completely on the radar of the American people. But it is setting the groundwork for the eventual Democratic nominee -- either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (though I think Obama can make the more forceful argument here) -- to raise the important question of whether the American public wants the next administration to be of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists and for the lobbyists, or rather one where the public servants are actually serving the public. (It's a bit harder for someone who defended lobbyists as representatives of "real people" to make that argument, though not impossible.) And when push comes to shove, it's hard for me to imagine the public saying they would prefer an administration in which Washington special interests having a hotline within the White House because of all of the work they did to elect that President to one in which lobbyists don't have veto power over the President's decision-making process.

Tags: John McCain, Lobbyists (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Why does John Sydney McCain

like lobbyists?  Because that is where the money is.  I must properly give credit to Willie Sutton who said the same about banks.

by realtime 2008-03-04 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Might As Well Face It, He's Addicted

Lobbyists is another area where Obama has deceived the public.
Most of his followers don't know Washington lobbyists funded his political career until 2007.
Well heck! most of them don't know Obama voted with Repubs to fund the war until 2007.

And were it not for John Edwards - lobbyists most likely would never have been mentioned during this election.

by annefrank 2008-03-04 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Might As Well Face It, He's Addicted

SO typical...even when the front page people try to turn the conversation back to Democrats versus Republicans people have to turn it into bashing OUR Candidates. I can't wait until things get back to normal...although I will never have any respect for about 20% of the mydd population again regardless.

by JDF 2008-03-04 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Might As Well Face It,

"the next administration to be of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists and for the lobbyist"

It's the last part here that's the smoking gun. If anyone can prove that John McCain has acted on behalf of lobbyists and not his constituents or his own political beliefs, then you have a case. If not, then you don't.

Lobbyists are protected under the 1st Amendment for the right to petition government. Lobbying isn't an evil activity. To the contrary, its a very positive activity, as long as members of Congress aren't unduly influenced by them. And there's no evidence that John McCain has been.

by VA Blogger2 2008-03-04 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Might As Well Face It,

Why are you here defending this guy who is (possibly literally) in bed with lobbyists?

by JDF 2008-03-04 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Might As Well Face It,

You have a point. Two anonymous former aides had suspicions eight years ago that something might appear like something might be happening, so he probably was.

by VA Blogger2 2008-03-04 10:29AM | 0 recs
McCain & Clinton: buddies for life

But it is setting the groundwork for the eventual Democratic nominee -- either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (though I think Obama can make the more forceful argument here)

No contest.  There would not be any lobbyist reform with a Clinton presidency.

Just one little example--
The only one with more ties to foreign lobbyists is Senator Clinton:

See the shockwave graphic.

Or go right to the story.

They'll be great on the same ticket (not Dem party).

by Satya 2008-03-04 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Might As Well Face It, He's Addicted to Lobbyi

Nice to see a shot at McCain on the frontpage (its a shame every time we take one people come out of the woodwork to comment in the form of either attacking one of our candidates or defending McCain... its amazing how many denizens of MYDD have McCain as their second choice...so much for caring about the party.)

by JDF 2008-03-04 08:54AM | 0 recs
The lights are on

But nobody's home.

definitely.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-04 09:06AM | 0 recs
Lights are on

but you're not home.

... definitely

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-04 09:07AM | 0 recs

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