More Unforced Errors from McCain on Lobbyists

Before I get to this post, I want to note my strong disapprobation of Budget Rent a Car, with which I reserved a small SUV for my drive from the Bay Area to Portland yesterday  so that I could move my musical instrument, among other things, but which did not let me rent the vehicle yesterday, leaving me in the lurch, because I am 24 years of age, not 25 -- even though they knew my age when I made the reservation. As a result of Budget's actions, I had to pay nearly twice as much for a last-minute rental from another agency. Thank you Budget Rent a Car for not only not fulfilling your promise to me but for also not treating me with respect or making any effort whatsoever to remedy your mistake.

John McCain's actions keep on getting the better of him. For months and months, McCain could see this potential mess coming: Some of the nearly innumerable lobbyists for his presidential campaign, including (indeed particularly) those within the upper echelons of the organization, creating real headaches for his candidacy as a result of some of the unsavory clients they previously and even recently represented. Yet rather than try to ensure that he was running a clean campaign -- that is to say instead of living up to the image of himself that McCain has put forth to the American public (but which he has never actually lived up to) -- McCain thought he could get away with having people who had lobbied for oppressive dictatorships like the one in Burma continue to advise him without anyone noticing. Well, people have noticed and McCain has, just in the last week, been forced to fire a fifth lobbyist.

Tom Loeffler, the national finance co-chairman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, resigned yesterday because of his lobbying ties, a campaign adviser said.

He is the fifth person to sever ties with the campaign amid a growing concern over whether lobbyists have too great an influence over the Republican nominee. Last week, campaign manager Rick Davis issued a new policy that requires all campaign personnel to either resign or sever ties with lobbying firms or outside political groups.


Loeffler, a former congressman from Texas, is a close friend of McCain's and took over the campaign's fundraising last summer. He did not respond to e-mails or a message left on his office voice mail yesterday.

Newsweek reported that his firm, the Loeffler Group, had collected $15 million from Saudi Arabia and millions more from other foreign governments. He is listed as chairman and senior partner at the firm.

As the folks at First Read note, this was a problem the campaign should have seen coming a mile away:

Remember in February, following Romney's departure from the race, the assumption was that McCain was going to have plenty of time to get his house in order while the Democrats kept fighting, perhaps up until the convention. Well, we're potentially days away from the Dems officially having a presumptive nominee, and McCain's still dealing with staff issues. The latest is the resignation of national finance co-chair Tom Loeffler, the fifth person who has left the campaign due to lobbyist ties. Loeffler was a key guy. [...] One thing to keep an eye on this issue of severing ties with lobbyists is that McCain may get criticism from his own supporters for creating a policy that was doomed to cause him problems. Expect to see a lot more blind quotes reminding McCain that nobility on an issue doesn't deliver an electoral majority.

From my vantage, McCain's problem isn't necessarily that he should have seen this coming yet didn't. Rather McCain's problem is much more insidious: Believing that he is beyond reproach. Already in this nascent general election campaign (or pre-general election campaign) we've seen McCain play fast and loose with campaign finance and ethics laws and regulations, seemingly under the theory that because his name is on the law he can get away with anything. We have also seen it with McCain's lame attacks on Barack Obama regarding Hamas even though McCain himself not three years ago advocated for rapprochement with the Palestinian group. And we've seen it again and again and again and again with McCain's all-too-close relationship with lobbyists. Do Americans really want a holier-than-thou President who doesn't come close to living up to his own ideals?

Tags: John McCain, Lobbyists (all tags)



thanks again (but unrelated rant hurts post)

thanks for another great post on McCain's bullshit.

but honestly, the unrelated rant against Budget destracts and should be removed. (i feel your pain, i've dealt with alot of reant-a-car crap, but seriously, VERY destracting.)

by catchaz 2008-05-19 08:35AM | 0 recs
coincidence with Budget

What a coincidence with Budget, they pulled exactly the same stunt on me at LAX when I was 24. I called ahead and everything, even gave them a credit card in advance. That was 20 years ago. :-)

by Mark Wallace 2008-05-19 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: More Unforced Errors from McCain on Lobbyists

same issue here with budget last year, was 24 they screwed me at the desk when they realized i wasnt 25

by zane 2008-05-19 08:43AM | 0 recs
Send your story to the Consumerist


Dunno if you've heard of - a pretty awesome consumer-advocacy blog.  Filled with tips, awards for good service, hilarious and sad stories of consumer disasters.

They often get very good results for people who tell them their story.  Check it out:

by quixote27 2008-05-19 08:44AM | 0 recs

Only thing I'm surprised about is that McCain is getting the tiniest semblance of scrutiny.  Hurray for baby steps I guess.

by Mikeguyver 2008-05-19 08:45AM | 0 recs
This is what doomed Hillary

Arrogance. For all of Hillary's strengths she was arrogant and she allowed her campaign to be arrogant by allowing Mark Penn to control things for so long. She was told that she was a "brand" and that no one could defeat the brand so she allowed her campaign to carry on like that. McCain has been making the same mistake with his idea that he is a brand of some sort of maverick that cannot be ruined no matter what the facts are. He can purge all the lobbyists that he wants at this point but his brand is ruined.

by sweet potato pie 2008-05-19 08:46AM | 0 recs
Shine a light on Charlie Black

A certain unnamed progressive website has an expose on Charlie Black, who is an Atwater-era Rove contemporary who is highly involved in McCain's campaign.

He's an Abramoff-level evildoer and there's some speculation that there's blackmail involved with McCain's access to the 700,000 sealed pages of the Indian Affairs committee's Abramoff investigation's documents.

Could be one reason why the Republican contenders were such a joke this year; only the ones that weren't on K-Street wanted to risk it.

by Dracomicron 2008-05-19 08:57AM | 0 recs

Sorry to hear about your adventure with Budget. As someone who just overcame the dreaded 25 y.o. wall to rent a car, I've gotten this runaround before. It's not only Budget itself that will refuse to rent larger cars and luxury cars to those under 25, that's industry wide. Most places won't let you rent an SUV if you're under 25. As for them knowing what age you were when you rented, if you did it online using their website, they didn't know as it is all automated. Problems only show up at the counter when the car actually gets handed off to you. Still, can't have been too much fun dealing with them.

by VAAlex 2008-05-19 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: More Unforced Errors from McCain on Lobbyists

What's truly amazing is how many of these guys were running his campaign.  Didn't screen anyone - and do we want someone so careless and oblivious in charge of national security?  Hell, maybe Bin Laden is hiding on his campaign bus with all the other unsavory characters.

This is another reason we need to unite fast.  McCain is stumbling around and getting no coverage.

PS - Don't miss this: n/18rich.html?em&ex=1211342400&e n=6bf46ceb6cbe3043&ei=5087

by PabloZed 2008-05-19 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: More Unforced Errors from McCain on Lobbyists

Great link, thanks.

by redwagon 2008-05-19 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: More Unforced Errors from McCain on Lobbyists

Why don't you call McCain by his real name which is McBush.

by Spanky 2008-05-19 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: More Unforced Errors

It looks even more insidious than that. The guy was not just an advisor; he was national finance co-chair. McCain probably doesn't have any place to go for money other than though these guys, so he had to keep them on.

by dmc2 2008-05-19 09:42AM | 0 recs
Budget is Bad for All Ages

I rented at Budget and they added extras onto the bill that more than doubled the rate at Orbitz. I am renting at Hertz now. They appear more expensive because they put the price up front, but Budget hits you with more fees.

I selected the GPS option but that wasn't included in the quote. I selected a second driver but somehow they did not include that in the quote. Like the airport fee that was not included in the quote for the airport pick-up.

Dollar is where I do for a cheaper rental. Hertz for a predictable price. As for Budget, just say no.

I guess it is OK if Budget screws its customers in Bush/McCain's America.....

by redwagon 2008-05-19 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: More Unforced Errors from McCain on Lobbyists

And McCain still has his Charlie Black problem.  

Also, Salter seems like a lunatic.  I'd like to be able to put money on the bet that at some point during this campaign he's going to blow up in front of a camera.

by bosdcla14 2008-05-19 12:45PM | 0 recs


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