The Mark of McCain

February 7, 2014

JA-headshot-book-flap-240x300Full disclosure: I think Dana Rohrabacher is one of the greatest representatives sitting in the Congress. I have felt this way since Dana transitioned from one of the key speech writers for Ronald Reagan into elective office. Dana is honest, conservative and truly one of the most decent people in the House. He has been a consistent voice of true conservative principles, and one of our most articulate champions. On a personal note, Dana was one of the few politicians willing to stand by me during my national scandal, and he did it publicly. This is not a man who backs down to what’s trending. He is usually several years ahead of the trends.

Let’s hope that’s the case, as Dana’s latest public proclamation is one that millions of us have been thinking for years – that John McCain and his Senatorial buddy Lindsey Graham are hardly appropriate Congressional spokesmen for the cause of liberty.

Tuesday night on C-SPAN, Rohrabacher was confronted with the fact that the main stream media continually portray Graham and, especially, McCain as spokesmen for the Republican party and conservative cause. This designation would be laughable if it hasn’t cause so much confusion and harm. Unlike too many of his pusillanimous colleagues, Dana didn’t hesitate to point out that neither of these men speak for anyone, other than themselves. It’s arguable that they don’t even speak for the voters in their respective states. McCain slipped back into power after former Congressman J.D. Hayworth’s challenge was spoiled by some unfortunate commercial activities. Oh, and tens of millions of dollars of special interest money McCain was able to shake out of those petitioning him for favor. Graham’s potential date with the revolving door into the lobbying world will come this election, where the South Carolina voters will let us know whether they, too, are tired of Republicans truckling to the media left.

I know John McCain well. Too well. Full disclosure requires I reveal that, as much as Dana Rohrabacher was the one member of Congress to stand by me most steadfastly during the national scandal that bore my name, John McCain was my most vicious accuser. As I recounted in my book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist, my past dealings with McCain were among the most unpleasant of my days in Washington. His sanctimony is well-know and only dwarfed by his hypocrisy. While railing against the use of money in politics, he is no newcomer to twisting a few arms to get what he wants. When he ran for president in 2000, his people made it abundantly clear to me that, as a lobbyist representing Indian tribes, the Senator expected me to facilitate large contributions to his campaign –in the $50,000 range. Since I was already a huge detractor, I did all I could to dissuade my tribal clients from falling for the strong arm approach McCain was employing, implying the tribes would have a rough go were they not to back the White House aspirations of the main Republican leader of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Welcome to the real world of John McCain.

Worse than the malicious attacks heaped on me then and during my scandal, McCain’s arrogant policy nostrums for the United States do actual damage. This is what Rohrabacher highlighted when he properly rebuked the media for their continued coronation of McCain as leader of the Republican Party.

Escape Plan: Ditch The Rat Race
Sure, by the end of the boneheaded 2008 Republican Party primary process, only the Arizona Senator remained and was nominated, but he was never beloved by his own party. Indeed, many conservatives were aghast that they had to choose between John McCain and Barack Obama. The vice presidential nomination of Sarah Palin certainly mitigated the disaster, from the conservative point of view, but McCain was an unloved and unelectable nominee.

Years of co-sponsoring liberal legislation, and decades of arrogant self-righteousness had left traditional Americans wondering what the Republicans were thinking in pushing McCain toward the Oval Office.

McCain-Feingold recklessly shredded the Constitution – and conservative competitive capacities on Election Day. McCain-Lieberman threatened to shut down American industry and our economy in pursuit of pseudo-science global warming. McCain-Kennedy proposed to throw open our borders. It seemed to conservatives that anything bearing the name of McCain might as well be bearing the mark of Cain – in that it spelled doom.

Dana Rohrabacher was right to point out that the self-proclaimed emperor has no clothes. McCain, and his Senate best friend Lindsey Graham, don’t represent the Republican Party, Republican voters or Republican principles. It’s time for the Senator to put an end to the fraudulent misrepresentation that warms his year, and practice the honest politics he preaches.

Don’t hold your breath.