Feb 2 2008
04:46 pm
By: Andy Axel

Rewinding McCain, via The Carpetbagger:

Over the last year or so, when John McCain was struggling to get his presidential campaign back on track, one of his more notable challenges was reinventing himself — again.

When he got to Congress, McCain was a rather conventional conservative Republican. After his role in the Keating Five scandal, McCain took on a reform-minded persona. By 1999, he was a self-described “maverick” and moderate, who would move the GOP to the center. By 2004, McCain was back to being a conservative again. By 2007, he had positioned himself as an establishment Republican, and when that didn’t work out, McCain decided he’d become some kind of hybrid of the various McCains of the recent past.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say McCain has very few core values, and is willing to shift with the wind to get ahead. It’s one of the reasons he’s flip-flopped all over the place throughout the campaign.

Read that article in its entirety. An important point gets made: In this process of self-re-invention, McCain is now opposing legislation that he actually championed, or worse, wrote. See: the McCain immigration plan. He's now publicly condemned the very policy he wrote.

Since you won't hear about this in the news (because of that big ol' liberal bias in the news, doncha know), let's take a quick visit to McCain and his relationship with convicted bank felon/S&L fraud/influence pimp Charles Keating:

McCain defended his attendance at the meetings by saying Keating was a constituent and that Keating's development company, American Continental Corporation, was a major Arizona employer. McCain said he wanted to know only whether Keating was being treated fairly and that he had not tried to influence the regulators. At the second meeting, McCain told the regulators, "I wouldn't want any special favors for them," and "I don't want any part of our conversation to be improper."

But Keating was more than a constituent to McCain--he was a longtime friend and associate. McCain met Keating in 1981 at a Navy League dinner in Arizona where McCain was the speaker. Keating was a former naval aviator himself, and the two men became friends. Keating raised money for McCain's two congressional campaigns in 1982 and 1984, and for McCain's 1986 Senate bid. By 1987, McCain campaigns had received $112,000 from Keating, his relatives, and his employees--the most received by any of the Keating Five. (Keating raised a total of $300,000 for the five senators.)

After McCain's election to the House in 1982, he and his family made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, three of which were to Keating's Bahamas retreat. McCain did not disclose the trips (as he was required to under House rules) until the scandal broke in 1989. At that point, he paid Keating $13,433 for the flights.

And in April 1986, one year before the meeting with the regulators, McCain's wife, Cindy, and her father invested $359,100 in a Keating strip mall.

(...leading to a reasonable conclusion that McCain's eventual interest in campaign finance reform might have been a self-serving case of image management rather than of a death-bed conversion to "shepherd of governmental responsibility.")

And let's remember the S&L bailout for what it was - political cover for a crony partnership between government and business gone horribly wrong. One of George Bush's brothers, Neil - before going on into high-stakes stock speculation and before news of his taste for the services of high-priced Oriental hookers - was a principal in the Silverado Savings & Loan, a thrift whose collapse cost American taxpayers upwards of $2 billion. That's chump change by today's standards in the CDO & subprime arena (latest estimate: $265 billion and counting), but again, we're talking about some fantastically wealthy and politically connected criminals absconding with people's retirement funds and then taking that money out of your back pocket. That was in the first Bush administration, circa 1990. Anyone taking any bets how the mortgage meltdown will be resolved?

Yet, we hear all the time that McCain is an independent; that he's a swan who lives in the sewer. The idea that he's unscrupulous, conniving, and a below-average politician is simply foreign language in the narrative of the 2008 campaign. If it's not Chuck Keating, who's bankrolling that line of crap today?

If you believe he can stand up for America, it's apparent that he can't even consistently stand up for his own legislation. He demonstrably backs away from his own principled stands at the least whiff of opposition.

That's the sort of man that McCain is. And he wants to be your president.

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