Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I find a bad temper refreshing, particularly in Washington. That's just one of the reasons I remain devoted to John McCain, Congress' most dogged reformer. Politics needs more antagonists like the Arizona senator, who's willing to wear his anger on his sleeve.
Freshman U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (the male Oprah) is discovering this firsthand after stabbing McCain in the back. Obama had pledged to assist the Republican in pushing a bipartisan lobbying reform bill through Congress, but then suddenly backed out, dismissing McCain's ethics task force as a waste of time.
Reading between the lines, the Illinois Democrat clearly implies that McCain is carrying GOP water by delaying action on an issue Obama's party plans to exploit during the mid-term elections. That's like accusing Barney Frank of being soft on hate crimes.
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.
He concludes, acidily:
But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.
While Republicans long ago lost the high ground on reform, no one in Washington has done more for that cause than McCain. That the Democrats have just discovered the issue points to political expediency, not principle.
Howard Beale for president!