The media narrative of "Sen. John McCain the maverick reformer" takes a bit of a beating in this New York Times story about one instance in particular when McCain used his influence to help a big campaign contributor -- more evidence that our corrupt and corrupting system needs an overhaul.
Actions speak louder than words as they say, and while McCain has clung to his reputation for upsetting the apple cart and overturning the pork barrel, it appears he's not immune to Beltway manuevering:
David Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg reported in The Times on Tuesday that Mr. McCain has used his influence and official position several times to benefit the real estate empire of Donald R. Diamond, a wealthy, 80-year-old real estate developer.
For his part, Mr. Diamond has successfully shaken the money tree for various McCain campaigns and already has raised $250,000 for this year’s presidential effort.
There is nothing illegal about this, but it is more evidence that Mr. McCain is as mortal — or compromising — as the next politician. Mr. McCain has accepted corporate contributions for pet projects and relied heavily on lobbyists to help run his campaigns and Senate office. And when land swaps like the ones he arranged for Mr. Diamond involve a subsidy from taxpayers, which they often do, they are no different from the pork-barrel projects that Mr. McCain decries daily on the stump.
It's tough to beat the system when you have to work it for your very survival. Better to change how we finance our elections in this country and take the ace out of the hand of the big campaign contributors trolling for favors.