It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life

One of McCain’s top advisers is lobbyist Charlie Black. McCain is a member of the Senate Finance Committee which reviews legislation which might at times benefit Black’s clients who he keeps in touch with by phone  as he rides along on the Straight Talk Express. McCain has been in denial mode in a way that might well get him sympathy from people that were leaning toward him anyway, but rings a little shallow now that much of the manufactured outrage is dying down and his obviously deep ties with multiple lobbyist come out, The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists

But when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington’s lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.

Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O’ Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae.

On the other hand McCain has a good record on earmarks, Where the candidates stand on earmarks 

In the defense bill, for example, The Seattle Times found that Clinton sponsored 66 earmarks totaling $150 million. Obama sponsored six earmarks totaling $34 million; all were for nonprofit organizations. McCain didn’t ask for any earmarks this year.

McCain has never sought an earmark in his 26 years in Congress, said his spokeswoman Melissa Sheffield.

“I believe that earmarking has led to corruption,” McCain says on his campaign Web site. “It’s like any other evil: You either eliminate it or it grows.”

The problem is that earmarks are actually a more public and known quantity as far as elected officials obviously trying to bring in money,  some cases pork back to their district. Everyone thinks everyone one else’s pork is bad and their’s is perfectly justified. As rancorous as earmarks are, we know that voters, whether they’re aware of it or not give tacit approval when they reelect those people whose campaign ads  in fact list all the things, i.e. earmarks they have brought to their state. Lobbyist on the other hand are the netherworld of Washington politics.  U.S. Airways, Dell, etc get the kind of attention to their agenda and issues that the average person could never hope for, though they might get some benefit from earmarks – like funding for weapons or medical research. If as McCain is doing, you’re running your campaign on the holier then thou Straight Talk high ground, yet your entire campaign is run by lobbyists then you would have a tougher time defending yourself then either Clinton or Obama do when it comes to earmarks. That’s the real world rhetoric which doesn’t always translate through the funnel of politics and election sound bites. Democrats aren’t going to vote for McCain anyway, but his very close ties to the underbelly of Washington insiders might scare off the reform minded Conservatives that were willing to give him a pass on some other issues.

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Good discussion here of Obama and “liberal” and “progressive” labeling. My two cents worth and only slightly related in the sense of labeling is the left/right dichotomy is that the term left is associated with liberalism and they have very little in common as far as political philosophy. I can’t stand Castro any more then I can stand Dubya. They’re both extremists ideologues. I’m a liberal. Which is around the moderate reasonable middle. Liberalism by way of fifty years of right-wing demagoguery and framing was portrayed as extreme when is was always about American democratic traditions and values. Would it be nice to have the national discourse on that level and for Clinton and Obama to push back. Sure. But for now there are more practical matters that require attention.

It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going. ~ Carl Gustav Jung