Explosive in NYT: John McCain=Capitol Hill's FREDO
by Bob Sackamento, Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 03:38:54 AM EDT
The hour's late. A high-stakes gambler, a crooked politician, a casino owner's lackeys and a group of smarmy, inside-D.C. influence peddlers are mixing it up. A scene out of Godfather? Maybe Scarface? Nope. The John McCain campaign. As reported in today's New York Times:
Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.
A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table. He was throwing dice that night not long after his failed 2000 presidential bid, in which he was skewered by the Republican Party's evangelical base, opponents of gambling. Mr. McCain was betting at a casino he oversaw as a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he was doing so with the lobbyist who represents that casino, according to three associates of Mr. McCain.
If you would've told me eight years ago that McCain's stated aversion to the religious right (or, as he called them, "agents of intolerance") was really a mobster-like response to principled Americans who challenged his gambling goons, I would have replied, "McCain? The maverick?"
Much has changed in the last eight years. Or, more likely, much has been learned. The NYT elaborates on McCain's gambling escapades:
"One of the founding fathers of Indian gaming" is what Steven Light, a University of North Dakota professor and a leading Indian gambling expert, called Mr. McCain.
As factions of the ferociously competitive gambling industry have vied for an edge, they have found it advantageous to cultivate a relationship with Mr. McCain or hire someone who has one, according to an examination based on more than 70 interviews and thousands of pages of documents.
McCain sounds like a gambling empire-building, yokel version of Michael Corleone. Or his brother, Fredo. The temper flare ups, risky gambits, shady casino ties, trophy wife and crooked DC friends--an image of McCain is beginning to crystallize. He's morphing into a feckless version of Tony Soprano before our very eyes.
McCain's response to the Gray Lady's expose: "justifiably proud"
Mr. McCain declined to be interviewed. In written answers to questions, his campaign staff said he was "justifiably proud" of his record on regulating Indian gambling.
He would be proud.(cross-posted elsewhere)
Unrelated Update: Filed under ironic but predictable--Steve Schmidt was on MTP this morning taking credit (on McCain's behalf) for the tentative bailout agreement.