Trying to make a scandal?

This business with John McCain and a pretty lobbyist strikes me as low, low scandal mongering.  I haven’t read any direct allegations of a sexual relationship between them, but that is the insinuation with all the photos of the woman in her glamorous gown.  The concern of McCain’s aides seems to have been that she was one of those evil lobbyists that the Senator usually scorned.  But if association with a lobbyist is scandalous in itself, pretty much all legislators would be guilty, and McCain less than most of them.  

But, I don’t know, maybe there is more to the story than just two left-wing publications, “The New Republic” and “The New York Times,” trying to destroy a Republican. If so, more will come out. But, what do you think about all of this?

Here is the story so far: McCain Denies Aides’Statements About Lobbyist.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.masonmurch.wordpress.com Mason

    Prof:

    McCain may be ornery, old, and a lot of other things, but as far as politicians and integrity go, I would submit he is probably the best we can expect from either.

    By the way, teacher, do I fail because I used politician and integrity in the same sentence? Just curious.

    Mason

  • http://www.masonmurch.wordpress.com Mason

    Prof:

    McCain may be ornery, old, and a lot of other things, but as far as politicians and integrity go, I would submit he is probably the best we can expect from either.

    By the way, teacher, do I fail because I used politician and integrity in the same sentence? Just curious.

    Mason

  • Joe

    Not only is this story very poorly sourced, even if the NYT version is true all that story says is that some former aides were nervous that a sexual relationship may have developed and were nervous that a letter McCain had written could be seen as a favor if such a sexual relationship had developed.

    So at its best the story says two aides who refuse to give their names heard a rumor and were nervous about it. That is pretty weak stuff.

  • Joe

    Not only is this story very poorly sourced, even if the NYT version is true all that story says is that some former aides were nervous that a sexual relationship may have developed and were nervous that a letter McCain had written could be seen as a favor if such a sexual relationship had developed.

    So at its best the story says two aides who refuse to give their names heard a rumor and were nervous about it. That is pretty weak stuff.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I call this “gossip.” Reality is that anonymous sourcing should only be used when the source has reasonable fear of death or grievous harm. In this case, the only harm that could befall the sources is a libel suit or being permanently excluded from campaign/political employment.

    And that would be a just punishment for people who gossip, and apparently had also greatly interfered with the normal operation of his campaign on the basis of a hunch.

    If they really believe what they’re saying, they’ll put their names out there.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I call this “gossip.” Reality is that anonymous sourcing should only be used when the source has reasonable fear of death or grievous harm. In this case, the only harm that could befall the sources is a libel suit or being permanently excluded from campaign/political employment.

    And that would be a just punishment for people who gossip, and apparently had also greatly interfered with the normal operation of his campaign on the basis of a hunch.

    If they really believe what they’re saying, they’ll put their names out there.

  • organshoes

    This is journalism, folks.
    Odd thing is, it’s the internet that’s always accused of rumor-mongering and poor sourcing.
    The story here is that a still-respected newspaper–respected in that it’s still read and hasn’t yet been totally rejected (as it should be)–is doing what it’s been doing for decades now: trashing people it chooses to trash. It doesn’t rely on substance or even clear facts. It just trashes.
    It is trash.
    Yet, what journalist of any repute has denounced such ‘reporting’? Some try to discredit the story itself or to diminish its impact. But who’s crying ‘Stop already!’ at the New York Times? Are journalists not even concerned for what such a poor excuse for reporting is doing to their profession?
    Or are they all just where they want to be?
    This is called licking the floor. Not journalism.
    Yuck.

  • organshoes

    This is journalism, folks.
    Odd thing is, it’s the internet that’s always accused of rumor-mongering and poor sourcing.
    The story here is that a still-respected newspaper–respected in that it’s still read and hasn’t yet been totally rejected (as it should be)–is doing what it’s been doing for decades now: trashing people it chooses to trash. It doesn’t rely on substance or even clear facts. It just trashes.
    It is trash.
    Yet, what journalist of any repute has denounced such ‘reporting’? Some try to discredit the story itself or to diminish its impact. But who’s crying ‘Stop already!’ at the New York Times? Are journalists not even concerned for what such a poor excuse for reporting is doing to their profession?
    Or are they all just where they want to be?
    This is called licking the floor. Not journalism.
    Yuck.

  • fw

    The main problem was the personal stuff brought up. McCain´s divorce from his first wife and rather sudden marriage to his second raise large questions.

    The questions are all similar to the ones that caused Clinton to lie saying “I did not have sex with that woman.”

    Reagan, idolized by conservatives, was a divorcee. My standards have changed about what constitutes “family values.”

    JFK, eisenhower, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt , calvin coolidge, franklin, others…..David Vitter, Larry Craig… had rumors confirmed and otherwise of less than moral perfection along these lines.

    Going after McCain for irregular lobbying activity is fair game.

    His private life should remain that even if rumors should turn out to be fact.

    Republicans are wrong to chase after this information or not decry it when they see it in the press. I don´t often see democrats directly pursue this kind of slime. mostly the press (liberal AND conservative) and republicans… but still. it is wrong.

  • fw

    The main problem was the personal stuff brought up. McCain´s divorce from his first wife and rather sudden marriage to his second raise large questions.

    The questions are all similar to the ones that caused Clinton to lie saying “I did not have sex with that woman.”

    Reagan, idolized by conservatives, was a divorcee. My standards have changed about what constitutes “family values.”

    JFK, eisenhower, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt , calvin coolidge, franklin, others…..David Vitter, Larry Craig… had rumors confirmed and otherwise of less than moral perfection along these lines.

    Going after McCain for irregular lobbying activity is fair game.

    His private life should remain that even if rumors should turn out to be fact.

    Republicans are wrong to chase after this information or not decry it when they see it in the press. I don´t often see democrats directly pursue this kind of slime. mostly the press (liberal AND conservative) and republicans… but still. it is wrong.

  • Don S

    I am quite certain that these types of innuendo stories (no accusations are ever even made), with no sources even willing to go on record, were getting above the fold, page 1 placement in the 1992 NYT concerning Bill Clinton and all of his romantic trysts. Enough said.

  • Don S

    I am quite certain that these types of innuendo stories (no accusations are ever even made), with no sources even willing to go on record, were getting above the fold, page 1 placement in the 1992 NYT concerning Bill Clinton and all of his romantic trysts. Enough said.

  • Joe

    Yep Don S they sure were – oh wait they were not printed even when they had taps of Bill and Monica talking with each other. Only after Matt Drudge outed the mainstream media for not running the story did it ever see the light of day.

    http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2002/01/17/20020117_175502_ml.htm

    I am not going to debate whether this is relevant or not but certainly we should have one standard for when the press runs such a story.

    Fw – to say this is a story about favoring a lobbyist is a stretch. The “report” is nothing more that a report that in 2000 there was a rumor and a few staff members got nervous about it. That is pretty dang lame.

    As for his past, he has already publicly admitted that he had an affair with Cindy while he was still married to his first wife. He gave speech where he said he had failed his family.

  • Joe

    Yep Don S they sure were – oh wait they were not printed even when they had taps of Bill and Monica talking with each other. Only after Matt Drudge outed the mainstream media for not running the story did it ever see the light of day.

    http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2002/01/17/20020117_175502_ml.htm

    I am not going to debate whether this is relevant or not but certainly we should have one standard for when the press runs such a story.

    Fw – to say this is a story about favoring a lobbyist is a stretch. The “report” is nothing more that a report that in 2000 there was a rumor and a few staff members got nervous about it. That is pretty dang lame.

    As for his past, he has already publicly admitted that he had an affair with Cindy while he was still married to his first wife. He gave speech where he said he had failed his family.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Don, the reality is that numerous people came forward without the cloak of anonymity to talk about Clinton’s dalliances. This isn’t the same beast.

    I don’t mind the fact that someone may be stepping forward. I just think that they ought to be named, so others can double check their stories.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Don, the reality is that numerous people came forward without the cloak of anonymity to talk about Clinton’s dalliances. This isn’t the same beast.

    I don’t mind the fact that someone may be stepping forward. I just think that they ought to be named, so others can double check their stories.

  • Don S

    I see that I left out a key “not” in my earlier comment, which Joe took as sarcasm and Bike Bubba took as “what is that Don S thinking?”. My actual comment was intended to be:

    I am quite certain that these types of innuendo stories (no accusations are ever even made), with no sources even willing to go on record, were NOT getting above the fold, page 1 placement in the 1992 NYT concerning Bill Clinton and all of his romantic trysts. Enough said.

  • Don S

    I see that I left out a key “not” in my earlier comment, which Joe took as sarcasm and Bike Bubba took as “what is that Don S thinking?”. My actual comment was intended to be:

    I am quite certain that these types of innuendo stories (no accusations are ever even made), with no sources even willing to go on record, were NOT getting above the fold, page 1 placement in the 1992 NYT concerning Bill Clinton and all of his romantic trysts. Enough said.

  • fw

    i guess the larger question is this. at what point do divorce and affairs and the private sex lives of these people become fair game and something we should consider when voting? should we vote for a divorced president for example? what if one candidate has an exemplary family life and is liberal, and the other is conservative with a messy personal life….

  • fw

    i guess the larger question is this. at what point do divorce and affairs and the private sex lives of these people become fair game and something we should consider when voting? should we vote for a divorced president for example? what if one candidate has an exemplary family life and is liberal, and the other is conservative with a messy personal life….

  • fw

    joe that is not what I meant.

  • fw

    joe that is not what I meant.

  • Kyralessa

    “This is journalism, folks.”

    Well, no, it’s not. That’s the whole trouble. It’s tabloidism, not journalism. Journalism would’ve involved getting some substance behind the accusations.

  • Kyralessa

    “This is journalism, folks.”

    Well, no, it’s not. That’s the whole trouble. It’s tabloidism, not journalism. Journalism would’ve involved getting some substance behind the accusations.

  • organshoes

    kyralessa: My precise point.
    This is what journalism is now. Somehow, a New York Times masthead over this story is supposed to give it credibility. But did it?
    But, then again, will the Times have suffered anymore loss of credibility than it already has, because of this story? That I seriously doubt. Many will still live by its reporting, because it serves some other purpose than journalism.
    fw: I think we’re always, as individuals, free to ignore or consider anything about any candidate, from hair color to sex life. But not all things are worthy of becoming public issues.
    Inside a voting booth with a curtain drawn, it’s a pretty private little world, and you can be as petty or as high-minded as you please when you make your mark or touch the screen. No?

  • organshoes

    kyralessa: My precise point.
    This is what journalism is now. Somehow, a New York Times masthead over this story is supposed to give it credibility. But did it?
    But, then again, will the Times have suffered anymore loss of credibility than it already has, because of this story? That I seriously doubt. Many will still live by its reporting, because it serves some other purpose than journalism.
    fw: I think we’re always, as individuals, free to ignore or consider anything about any candidate, from hair color to sex life. But not all things are worthy of becoming public issues.
    Inside a voting booth with a curtain drawn, it’s a pretty private little world, and you can be as petty or as high-minded as you please when you make your mark or touch the screen. No?

  • fw

    #13 organshoes

    part of being a christian is to be free not to use the freedom we have.

    I would go with Dr Luther on the 8th commandment. “defend, speak well of, and put the best interpretation on everything.” and his comments in the large catechism about not saying something that cannot be proven in a court of law, and not staying things that only a judge and jury have authority to say or investigate.

    I think we are obligated as christians to do no less than this. this included the clinton years, larry craig, trent lott, gw bush´s daughters, conservatives and liberals. we should pray for them sincerely as our elected officials and sincerely wish them well, defend them in scandal as though they were our close family members.

    It sort of takes the fun and sacastic comments out of things.

    Anything less than this is sin. pure and simple.

    feel free to call me on it if I don´t live up to this standard. I often do not in fact. I need to repent and try to do better.

  • fw

    #13 organshoes

    part of being a christian is to be free not to use the freedom we have.

    I would go with Dr Luther on the 8th commandment. “defend, speak well of, and put the best interpretation on everything.” and his comments in the large catechism about not saying something that cannot be proven in a court of law, and not staying things that only a judge and jury have authority to say or investigate.

    I think we are obligated as christians to do no less than this. this included the clinton years, larry craig, trent lott, gw bush´s daughters, conservatives and liberals. we should pray for them sincerely as our elected officials and sincerely wish them well, defend them in scandal as though they were our close family members.

    It sort of takes the fun and sacastic comments out of things.

    Anything less than this is sin. pure and simple.

    feel free to call me on it if I don´t live up to this standard. I often do not in fact. I need to repent and try to do better.

  • organshoes

    True on that first statement, fw.
    As to the rest, I’m trying to discern its relevance to the discussion at hand, or to what I said.
    So, back to the Christian’s freedoms–to act or not to act: all I’m saying is that the Christian’s freedom, in considering a vote, is the same as the non-Christian’s. I can ignore a candidate’s position on all sorts of issues–even a position that’s in opposition to my faith (for example, Rudy on abortion)–without excusing that position, and vote for him, if my Christian conscience tells me he’d be better for my country. A Christian is like any other citizen, who weighs not just single issues but entire realms of issues, from national security to presidential appointments to the preservation of individual rights to American exceptionalism, on and on.
    Hopefully, we’re not all reduced to simply voting for the person, as if he were a savior or even a pastor or even a role model, and not even as a fellow keeper of all we hold sacred or even special.
    I have yet to find any candidate anywhere in any election who believes as I believe 100%, and I truly have not seen one whom I even like personally, knowing them from a distance, only by reputation and record. However, there are candidates that, even if I can’t believe ‘in’ them, I can believe them.
    Likewise, there’s a great dearth of journalists who practice journalistic principles fully enough that I fully trust their reporting to be free of bias and favor and agenda. Political reporters have largely become only shadow politicians and would-be governors, but without having to subject themselves to any democratic process.
    So, when I get in the booth–finally!–in what by that time might be a totally irrelevant primary, I’m free to consider what awful practioners of journalistic principles the New York Times are nowadays, and vote against them and the harm they set out to do my country through their bad practice. Or not to. Or to write in a name I prefer (I’m not free to write in Mickey Mouse, I don’t think. Do you? That’s being irresponsible, which is not Christian.) Or to not vote for any candidate because my conscience tells all choices are bad (though that seems irresponsible as well, because someone is going to be elected; ‘none of the above’ is not on the ballot, and a Christian should, above all else, be realistic).

  • organshoes

    True on that first statement, fw.
    As to the rest, I’m trying to discern its relevance to the discussion at hand, or to what I said.
    So, back to the Christian’s freedoms–to act or not to act: all I’m saying is that the Christian’s freedom, in considering a vote, is the same as the non-Christian’s. I can ignore a candidate’s position on all sorts of issues–even a position that’s in opposition to my faith (for example, Rudy on abortion)–without excusing that position, and vote for him, if my Christian conscience tells me he’d be better for my country. A Christian is like any other citizen, who weighs not just single issues but entire realms of issues, from national security to presidential appointments to the preservation of individual rights to American exceptionalism, on and on.
    Hopefully, we’re not all reduced to simply voting for the person, as if he were a savior or even a pastor or even a role model, and not even as a fellow keeper of all we hold sacred or even special.
    I have yet to find any candidate anywhere in any election who believes as I believe 100%, and I truly have not seen one whom I even like personally, knowing them from a distance, only by reputation and record. However, there are candidates that, even if I can’t believe ‘in’ them, I can believe them.
    Likewise, there’s a great dearth of journalists who practice journalistic principles fully enough that I fully trust their reporting to be free of bias and favor and agenda. Political reporters have largely become only shadow politicians and would-be governors, but without having to subject themselves to any democratic process.
    So, when I get in the booth–finally!–in what by that time might be a totally irrelevant primary, I’m free to consider what awful practioners of journalistic principles the New York Times are nowadays, and vote against them and the harm they set out to do my country through their bad practice. Or not to. Or to write in a name I prefer (I’m not free to write in Mickey Mouse, I don’t think. Do you? That’s being irresponsible, which is not Christian.) Or to not vote for any candidate because my conscience tells all choices are bad (though that seems irresponsible as well, because someone is going to be elected; ‘none of the above’ is not on the ballot, and a Christian should, above all else, be realistic).

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    FW, great question; my response to that “what of his private life?” question is to remember that a lot of times, a person’s private life indicates very clearly what he’ll do in his public life. If he ignores his wedding vows, go figure what he’ll do with his vow to uphold the Constitution.

    That said, it’s an interesting question; what if the person with a good family life has more or less promised already that he (or she) will NOT uphold portions of the Constitution?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    FW, great question; my response to that “what of his private life?” question is to remember that a lot of times, a person’s private life indicates very clearly what he’ll do in his public life. If he ignores his wedding vows, go figure what he’ll do with his vow to uphold the Constitution.

    That said, it’s an interesting question; what if the person with a good family life has more or less promised already that he (or she) will NOT uphold portions of the Constitution?

  • organshoes

    It’s beyond the Constitution, though, Bike Bubba. Or not even at the Constitution yet.
    Look at those who describe the Consitution as a living, breathing document, who often mean they can understand it on the basis of the moment. They’re not anti-Constitution perse, or outside it or beyond it, even. But that doesn’t make them or their positions right or efficacious; just popular and perhaps timely.
    So a man might swear to uphold/defend the Constitution, but still do it great harm, or do the country great harm, based on what he believes the Constitution means.
    What candidate would ever, or has ever, promised such a thing: to not uphold the Constitution? Every officer sworn in on the federal side promises to uphold it, but it’s what they think they’re upholding that’s at issue.
    That’s why what a candidate has done privately is certainly worthy of consideration; but it’s what they’ve done publicly–often at odds with private behaviors–that might be a better deciding factor.
    Otherwise, it’s more akin to throwing stones at sinners than making a reasoned judgment on a candidate’s fitness for office.

  • organshoes

    It’s beyond the Constitution, though, Bike Bubba. Or not even at the Constitution yet.
    Look at those who describe the Consitution as a living, breathing document, who often mean they can understand it on the basis of the moment. They’re not anti-Constitution perse, or outside it or beyond it, even. But that doesn’t make them or their positions right or efficacious; just popular and perhaps timely.
    So a man might swear to uphold/defend the Constitution, but still do it great harm, or do the country great harm, based on what he believes the Constitution means.
    What candidate would ever, or has ever, promised such a thing: to not uphold the Constitution? Every officer sworn in on the federal side promises to uphold it, but it’s what they think they’re upholding that’s at issue.
    That’s why what a candidate has done privately is certainly worthy of consideration; but it’s what they’ve done publicly–often at odds with private behaviors–that might be a better deciding factor.
    Otherwise, it’s more akin to throwing stones at sinners than making a reasoned judgment on a candidate’s fitness for office.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Actually, I’d suggest that those who believe it’s a “living” document are against it for a very simple reason; you write things down because you want to have something firm recorded, not because you believe that it’s going to change over time. To claim the Constitution will change over time is every bit as inane as claiming that one’s wedding picture is eventually going to show wrinkles and gray hair.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Actually, I’d suggest that those who believe it’s a “living” document are against it for a very simple reason; you write things down because you want to have something firm recorded, not because you believe that it’s going to change over time. To claim the Constitution will change over time is every bit as inane as claiming that one’s wedding picture is eventually going to show wrinkles and gray hair.

  • Carl Vehse

    And on the other side of the mattress (so to speak) there’s this from the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://www.lvrj.com/columnists/normclarke/breaking_news/15949272.html?normBN=true):

    Gennifer Flowers is putting the tapes of her recorded conversations with Bill Clinton during their 12-year affair on the auction block, Vegas Confidential learned Monday….

    Asked about the timing of her announcement coming out as Hillary Clinton continues to slide in her presidential bid, “I don’t need to hurt Hillary. She is doing a fine job of that herself, along with her idiot husband.”

    BTW with Hillary claiming an 8-year co-presidency as part of her job experience, does that mean she’s claiming she also was co-impeached? And co-disbarred for lying about her ménage à trois with Monica and Slick Willy?

  • Carl Vehse

    And on the other side of the mattress (so to speak) there’s this from the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://www.lvrj.com/columnists/normclarke/breaking_news/15949272.html?normBN=true):

    Gennifer Flowers is putting the tapes of her recorded conversations with Bill Clinton during their 12-year affair on the auction block, Vegas Confidential learned Monday….

    Asked about the timing of her announcement coming out as Hillary Clinton continues to slide in her presidential bid, “I don’t need to hurt Hillary. She is doing a fine job of that herself, along with her idiot husband.”

    BTW with Hillary claiming an 8-year co-presidency as part of her job experience, does that mean she’s claiming she also was co-impeached? And co-disbarred for lying about her ménage à trois with Monica and Slick Willy?


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