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Lies, Smears, and Editorials

September 20th, 2008

John McCain ran an ad recently claiming that Obama is mired in the current mortgage crisis because a former CEO of Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines, advised Obama on economic matters, making Obama a despicably corrupt Fannie Mae insider. However, this is all based on a third-hand claim with no evidence that Raines played more than a minor side-role at best. The Washington Post debunked the claim:

The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly in attempting to depict Raines as a close adviser to Obama on “housing and mortgage policy.” If we are to believe Raines, he did have a couple of telephone conversations with someone in the Obama campaign. But that hardly makes him an adviser to the candidate himself — and certainly not in the way depicted in the McCain video release.

Then this tidbit came out about the McCain campaign, a letter written to the New York Times by a former Fannie Mae executive, published in The Politico:

To The Editor:

Yesterday, Senator John McCain released a television commercial attacking Barack Obama for allegedly receiving advice on the economy from former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines. From the stump, he has recently tried tying Senator Obama to Fannie Mae, as if there is some guilt in the association with Fannie Mae’s former executives.

It is an interesting card for Senator McCain to play, given that his campaign manager, Rick Davis, was paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac several hundred thousand dollars early in this decade to head up an organization to lobby in their behalf called The Homeownership Alliance. …

I worked in government relations for Fannie Mae for more than 20 years, leading the group for most of those years. When I see photographs of Sen. McCain’s staff, it looks to me like the team of lobbyists who used to report to me. Senator McCain’s attack on Senator Obama is a cheap shot, and hypocritical.


William Maloni
Fannie Mae Senior Vice President for Government and Industry Relations (1983-2004)


Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is doing little better. She claimed that she fired Alaskan Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, because he insisted on making an “unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.,” making it sound like Monegan was some sort of lobbyist seeking earmarks, and Sarah Palin, being the reformer and maverick that she is, just had to fire the schmuck. However, it turns out that the trip, to seek funds for “an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program” (a big problem in Alaska), was in fact, authorized by Palin’s chief of staff.

Double oops.

Another lie. And like so many others, she makes the lie despite leaving a paper trail behind her with proof that she’s lying. And most likely, like all the other lies, she’ll keep on telling this one even after it has been publicly proven to be a lie.

That’s just how the McCain campaign rolls. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the truth, they just make up their crap and sell it, in broad daylight, clearly hoping that people will believe them despite all the evidence.

It has caused articles like this one to start popping up:

Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy … or, as the Associated Press put it, “McCain’s claims skirt facts.” But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. …

McCain’s lies have ranged from the annoying to the sleazy, and the problem is in both degree and kind. His campaign has been a ceaseless assault on his opponent’s character and policies, featuring a consistent—and witting—disdain for the truth. Even after 38 million Americans heard Obama say in his speech at the Democratic National Convention that he was open to offshore oil-drilling and building new nuclear-power plants, McCain flatly said in his acceptance speech that Obama opposed both. Normal political practice would be for McCain to say, “Obama says he’s ‘open to’ offshore drilling, but he’s always opposed it. How can we believe him?” This persistence in repeating demonstrably false charges is something new in presidential politics.

Worse than the lies have been the smears. McCain ran a television ad claiming that Obama favored “comprehensive” sex education for kindergartners. (Obama favored a bill that would have warned kindergartners about sexual predators and improper touching.) The accusation that Obama was referring to Sarah Palin when he said McCain’s effort to remarket his economic policies was putting “lipstick on a pig” was another clearly misleading attack — an obnoxious attempt to divert attention from Palin’s lack of fitness for the job and the recklessness with which McCain chose her. McCain’s assault on the “élite media” for spreading rumors about Palin’s personal life — actually, the culprits were a few bloggers and the tabloid press — was more of the same. And that gets us close to the real problem here. The McCain camp has decided that its candidate can’t win honorably, on the issues, so it has resorted to transparent and phony diversions.

Wow. That from TIME Magazine. This is getting pretty intense. But amazingly, despite McCain’s repeated, blatant, brazen lies and shocking smears… still the media is not giving McCain that general description, as it did Al Gore in 2000 when Gore did stuff like claim rightful credit for shaping the Internet, or when he lots track of exactly which local politician he went to several fires with.

In any case, let’s end with a nice blast from the past: a photo of John McCain partying it up with Charles Keating, celebrating their birthdays with booze and a live band–not to mention an unfortunate hat. Because unlike today, McCain back then did not have close ties to financial scandals and lobbyists for big loan firms.

Keating was, what, a pet shop owner or something, right? No, a musician, or some kind of music agent. Yeah, that must be it. Or maybe just a friend from Cindy’s beer distributorship. But not some head honcho of a corrupt financial organization that cost taxpayers big-time in some bailout, no sirree! John McCain would never do that, because he was a POW.

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  1. Paul
    September 21st, 2008 at 09:49 | #1

    One of the real reasons that Palin fired Monegan is that part of the anti-sexual-violence campaign was the infamous rape kits… she didn’t want to pay for them. Why?

    Because they included emergency contraception as part of the kit, and right-wing religious types like her don’t believe in the EC pills. They say those pills are essentially abortions.

    Remember, she thinks that if you are a woman and you’re raped, and you get preggers, you should be forced by the government to deliver the baby. Doesn’t matter who rapes you, doesn’t matter whether you want a child or not- no abortions for you.

    So the main reason Monegan was fired, of course, was that he wouldn’t fire her ex-brother-in-law… but there was more to it than that, and the “more” is all bad from any reasonable point of view.

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