The Race Heats Up
The Presidential race has really heated up over the past several weeks. The McCain campaign has gone totally negative much earlier than anticipated. While McCain is still leading in the polls in Alabama, the margin is narrowing. I predict this race will get much closer in the coming weeks. It’s my belief that the more folks see and hear the real John McCain the less they will feel comfortable voting for him. One thing that has to concern most Americans is the kind of folks running the McCain campaign.
McCain has quit trying to hide the fact that Washington’s special interest lobbyists have been running his campaign and raising his money. The Arizona Senator has claimed in years past to be a “straight-talker” who labeled himself a “maverick.” But if McCain really is the feared reformer of business-as-usual government in our Nation’s Capitol, why does his presidential campaign look like the back alley of “K-Street?” Rather than put the high-priced and powerful special interest lobbyists in the back rooms, McCain has put them in total control of his campaign.
When you combine the likes of Karl Rove, Steve Schmidt (one of Rove’s attack dogs), Charlie Black, Rick Davis, Dr. Phil Gramm, and a cadre of other powerful lobbyists in the running of the campaign, it’s a certainty that if McCain prevails in November ordinary citizens will be shut out from the White House once again and our government will continue to be run by powerful special interest groups.
Top McCain Adiviser Got Money From Several Foreign Countries
Randy Scheunemann, John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser, is a prime example of the kind of folks running the McCain campaign. The Arizona Senator and his staff were lobbied on 49 occasions in a three-year span by this man while he was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The payments raise ethical questions because of Randy Scheunemann’s personal financial interests at a time when he is advising McCain on foreign policy. As we have seen, the GOP candidate quickly seized on Russian aggression in Georgia, which might just be a coincidence, as a campaign issue. On April 17th, a month and a half after Scheunemann stopped working for Georgia, his business partner signed a $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government. The deal added to an arrangement that brought in more than $800,000 to the two-man firm from 2004 to mid-2007. New York University law professor Stephen Gillers sees a problem and made this comment to the Associated Press:
Scheunemann’s work as a lobbyist poses valid questions about McCain’s judgment in choosing someone who — and whose firm — are paid to promote the interests of other nations. So one must ask whether McCain is getting disinterested advice, at least when the issues concern those nations. If McCain wants advice from someone whose private interests as a once and future lobbyist may affect the objectivity of the advice, that’s his choice to make.
Interestingly, Georgia isn’t the only foreign government hiring Scheunemann. He has been a big time lobbyist with an array of clients including a number of foreign countries. For example, his firm lobbied McCain’s office on four bills and resolutions regarding Georgia, with McCain as a co-sponsor or supporter of all of them. In addition to the 49 contacts with McCain or his staff regarding Georgia, the Associated Press says Scheunemann’s firm lobbied the senator or his aides on at least 47 occasions since 2001 on behalf of the governments of Taiwan and Macedonia, which each paid Scheunemann and his partner Mike Mitchell over half a million dollars; Romania, which paid over $400,000; and Latvia, which paid nearly $250,000. This is typical of the kind of folks running the show for the campaign.
It should be noted that Scheunemann is part of the community of neoconservatives who pushed Bush into the war in Iraq. In the months before the war began, Scheuenemann ran the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which was set up in November 2002 when the public found out that we had no business in Iraq. Before that, he was on board with the Project for the New American Century, whose letter to Bush nine days after the September 11th attacks pointed to Iraq as a possible link to the terrorists. The letter said American forces must be prepared to support “by all means necessary” the U.S. government’s commitment to opponents of Saddam Hussein. Scheunemann was among the letter’s 37 signers. Of course, there were no links between Iraq and the terrorists at that time. Instead of taking care of business in Afghanistan, we have spent over seven years in Iraq fighting a war that was poorly planned and poorly carried out. Now the folks who put us there are firmly entrenched in the McCain campaign leadership.
Source: Associated Press
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