It's Not A Sex Scandal
The corporate media may want to trivialize it as a sex scandal, which would probably be a good thing, for McCain, but Jane Hamsher gets it:
It's about his relationship with a telecom lobbyist who boasted about her ability to professionally influence him in business situations, and whose lobbying interests McCain has taken clear action to help.
It's not about sex, it's about misuse of office. It's about Saint Maverick doing a lobbyist's bidding. It's also about this, as written by Glenn Greenwald, in December 2005:
The more I think about the revelation yesterday that the Bush Administration eavesdropped on the communications of American citizens in clear and deliberate violation of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act -- based on its expressly stated view that the President is not bound by the law in times of even undeclared war because the President is the law -- the more I think this will be the most lingering and significant story of the Bush Administration, and perhaps its undoing. It almost has to be, for the reasons I set forth in the post below.
But almost as staggering is the fact that The New York Times knew about these illegal acts on the part of the Administration for a full year and kept its mouth shut until yesterday because the Administration asked it to. There is absolutely no justification at all for the Times covering up these illegal acts on the part of the Government for a full year.
Of course, that full year might have been just enough time to see the Administration through the 2004 election. Which makes one wonder why the Times again delayed an important story through a critical election. As Politico reports, the McCain camp believes the Times only went with the story now because The New Republic is soon to report on the backstory of the Times delay.
In a blog posting late Wednesday, TNR senior editor Noam Scheiber wrote: “The McCain campaign is apparently blaming TNR for forcing the Times' hand on this story. We can't yet confirm that. But we can say this: TNR correspondent Gabe Sherman is working on a piece about the Times' foot-dragging on the McCain story, and the back-and-forth within the paper about whether to publish it. Gabe's story will be online tomorrow.”
Needless to say, TNR will suddenly have a relevance it has not enjoyed for some time. Because we all need to know why the Times, once again, was delaying running a story that could have had a devastating impact to a Republican candidate's electoral chances. The fact that the Times turned tabloid, when they finally did publish the story, is beside the point. This is not a sex scandal, it is potentially a political scandal. It doesn't matter what McCain did with the lobbyist; what matters is what he did for her. And it matters that the self-styled "paper of record" chose not to inform millions of voters about that potential political scandal before those voters cast their votes.
UPDATE: The TNR report is now online. The internal tensions at the Times caused their McCain beat reporter to withdraw from his post, and probably played a role in one of the Times reporters who was covering the story leaving the paper, altogether.