In defense of the New York Times' takedown of John McCain

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If you find yourself defending The New York Times, welcome to my world.

I don’t know many people who actually read the article, but it’s incriminating and tells the tale of a Senator who thinks of himself one way and acts another way. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Salon:

So far, I’ve yet to encounter a single critique that faults the article for its portrayal of McCain’s eccentric and self-serving ideas about political ethics. McCain thoroughly soiled himself in the “Keating Five” savings and loan scandal in the 1980s, which the article accurately condenses. Although McCain has devoted much of his post-Keating career to the policing of political ethics, the article notes, he’s often strayed from the path of righteousness. When accused of skirting ethical standards, he usually pleads guilty in an embarrassed, hangdog fashion, as the Times anecdote about a political fundraiser held for his 2000 presidential campaign points out. Scores of lobbyists were invited to the Willard Hotel to feed his campaign treasury, but, as the paper reports, “McCain himself skipped the event, an act he later called ‘cowardly.’ ” Here, McCain has it three ways: He throws the event, he skips it, he criticizes himself for not attending it. Will the real John McCain please stand up?

McCain may not be having an affair with a blonde, but he is having an affair with his own sense of self-importance. John McCain sells himself to the American public by telling us that he’s above the fray. The meat of the NYT‘s article shows that McCain is down in the cellar with the normal Washington folks. He may not be Ted Stevens, but he’s no Mr. Smith.

You don’t have to make physical contact with a lobbyist to look a little unseemly. That’s all I’m saying.

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