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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Getting The Fear, Lobbyist Edition

We're taking the long holiday weekend seriously around here — I may or may not have planted a vegetable garden yesterday — but that doesn't mean the world stops spinning or politics stops happening.

I read this report from the New York Times with great interest. If you're like me, you've noticed that the John McCain campaign seems to be a fast machine on rickety rails, seeming to be a scant weight shift or sudden movement from flying off the rails. I've felt this way about his campaign organization for a long time, but to say that I am biased is putting it lightly, and in an effort to be objective I tried to give his campaign team the benefit of the doubt.

Turns out, the Republican Party is also quite worried about the stability and efficacy of Team McCain:

In interviews, some party leaders said they were worried about signs of disorder in his campaign, and if the focus in the last several weeks on the prominent role of lobbyists in Mr. McCain’s inner circle might undercut the heart of his general election message: that he is a reformer taking on special interests in Washington.

“The core image of John McCain is as a reformer in Washington — and the more dominant the story is about the lobbying teams around him, the more you put that into question,” said Terry Nelson, who was Mr. McCain’s campaign manager until he left in a shake-up last fall. “If the Obama campaign can truly change him from being seen as a reformer to just being another Washington politician, it could be very damaging over the course of the campaign.”

The lobbyist thing is really going to keep eating from bottom up, and there's no way to change it. Sure, McCain can bounce the lobbyists out of his literal campaign team, but his image as an anti-Washington outsider, a True Maverick, is continually damaged by the creeping realization in the media that McCain is pretty much just like everyone else in the Senate, and keeps the kinds of relationships that come as the cost of doing business.

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