the Presidential Election
There is no question the American people
care deeply about government corruption. In a Rasmussen
Associates poll taken in August 2008,
65% of prospective voters said that government ethics
and corruption was a "very important" issue for them in the
upcoming election. Only the economy and national security
ranked higher, and by just a few percentage points, which is
remarkable considering round-the-clock press coverage of the
housing market bust, gas prices, and the Iraq war body
And yet, while McCain and Obama are
pelted daily with questions about every subject under the
sun, both candidates have received a free pass from the
press on the subject of the ethical skeletons in their (and
their political parties') closets. One can only guess why,
but it is certainly not for lack of material on the two
Take Senator McCain, who was one of five
U.S. Senators linked to the infamous
"Keating Five scandal" in the 1980s. Between 1982 and
1987, McCain received $112,000 in contributions and other
benefits from Charles Keating, Jr. and his associates at the
Lincoln Savings & Loan. In 1987, Keating contacted McCain to
collect on his investment, reportedly asking the Senator to
prevent a government seizure of Lincoln's assets. McCain
subsequently met twice with bank regulators to pressure them
on the issue. While a Senate Ethics Committee absolved
McCain of any wrongdoing (surprise, surprise), the Arizona
Senator was rebuked for his "poor judgment."
Now, I realize this scandal occurred
before some voters in this year's election were born, but
that ought to be no impediment to asking whether Keating
Five was an aberration for McCain or a disturbing indication
that his public office is for sale.
Besides, we don't even have to go back
two decades to find a scandal with John McCain's name on it.
How about a few months? That's when the presumptive
Republican nominee may have received
illegal gifts from foreign nationals in the form of a
political fundraiser held in London. (Judicial Watch asked
for government investigations of the matter.)
The irony is McCain may have violated
campaign finance laws he helped craft through
McCain-Feingold, which is supposedly one of the Senator's
crowning achievements. Yet, despite the media's seemingly
insatiable appetite for examples hypocrisy on the part of
our elected officials, the McCain-Keating Five scandal and
his latest fundraising controversy receive little attention.
And then there's Barack Obama.
Why is it "off limits" to ask the
Illinois Senator about his relationship with unapologetic
domestic terrorist William Ayers? Why has most of the press
refused to probe Obama's suspicious land deal with Antoin
"Tony" Rezko, who was recently jailed in a massive public
corruption probe? Have you noticed the massive amount of
press coverage given to officials who have received
preferential loan terms from mortgage companies in exchange
for favors? (See Senators Dodd and Conrad.) So why did
Obama's "super jumbo loan," which he received at a
below-market rate, not make it above the fold?
Why has the media refused to hold Obama
accountable for the
shocking lack of a "paper trail" with respect to his
record as an Illinois State Senator? Obama comes from
Chicago and Illinois, among the most corrupt political
cultures in the country, yet his involvement in that culture
has escaped much scrutiny.
Clearly the American people want (and
deserve) answers to questions that remain, so far, unasked.
There is a serious disconnect between the
voters and the press when it comes to the issue of ethics
and these two candidates. There is clearly public demand for
information regarding the ethics of politicians and no lack
of material on these two candidates from which to draw.
Until next week...