Thursday, July 26, 2007



The beer money calls the shots

Two of the most vicious right wing propagandists in the entire world, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, have no beef with McCain's message of endless war in Iraq. They just want the green. The two hired hands are the latest in a long, long list of McCain staffers who have abandoned his floundering campaign. Today's Wall Street Journal reports that McCain's campaign is imperiled.

After Terry Nelson and John Weaver and the last legitimate political operatives left McCain earlier in the month, he was forced to hire from way at the bottom of the barrel and wound up with one of DC's worst-regarded low-life crooks running his campaign, the notoriously corrupt lobbyist Rick Davis. Davis' reputation makes it impossible for any legitimate DC players to work for McCain. Over a dozen high ranking aides have quit McCain's campaign since Davis came on, not just in DC but all over the country. Even worse, fundraisers have stopped raising for the campaign since no one feels Davis can be trusted with money.
Now the loss of the Schriefer-Stevens media team is considered a new blow, Republican strategists say. The McCain campaign had long planned to begin running ads this fall in early contest states; those plans are at risk given Mr. McCain's debt, compounded now by the difficulty of getting donors to invest in a troubled campaign.

...The unraveling of the McCain team this month climaxes months of infighting between other McCain advisers and Mr. Davis. That came against a backdrop of a slide in the polls as Sen. McCain became identified with two unpopular issues, the Iraq war and immigration overhauls. Mr. Davis privately complained to Republicans outside the campaign about the Nelson-Weaver team's strategic leadership, while within the campaign his own actions were a source of building tension.

In particular, last year Mr. Davis and lobbying partner Paul Manafort had started and co-owned an Internet services firm, 3eDC, which billed the campaign more than $1 million. Mr. Davis also arranged for the campaign to give its property-management business to a second new company started by a lobbyist-friend's client, Indian-casino developer Richard Fields. That move came despite the fact that Mr. McCain had become known as the Senate's biggest critic of scandals involving Indian casinos. The campaign has ended both companies' deals, though it still owes them money.

The other advisers also objected that Mr. Davis and his firm lobbied for a Kremlin-backed Ukrainian Party that is opposed by the U.S. government and Mr. McCain.

As these issues festered, Mr. McCain twice agreed to sideline Mr. Davis as CEO, last December and in April. But Mr. Davis continued to advise the senator informally, and was a frequent traveling companion and confidant of the senator's wife, Cindy. McCain supporters privately attribute Mr. Davis's reemergence at the head of the campaign to her influence.

Cindy holds the purse strings and her bad personnel judgment, coupled with McCain's terrible policy judgment-- he was still claiming Iraq is doing great-- is what's behind the complete collapse of his presidential bid and why someone like Newt Gingrich could refer to him as just another pathetic pygmy as though he were as much a nothing as Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani or Tom Tancredo.

One McCain staffer who is staying put is arrested alleged sex predator Bob Allen, McCain's Florida co-chairman. McCain liked that his guy Allen wrote Florida's Sexual Predator Elimination Act but wasn't as pleased that Allen was caught trying to blow a policeman in a public toilet. It kind of took the smirk off poor Old McCain's face after Giuliani's Southern Major Domo, David Vitters, was caught with his diapers down. At least McCain supporter/rapist Michael Flory wasn't actually a paid staffer. One has to wonder what kind of administrations these nominees would put together if any of them were actually elected to the presidency. I guess it couldn't be any worse than Bush's. And GOP lobbyist Freddy Thompson, who still insists he's only "testing the waters," seems to just have experienced the wheels coming off his own non-campaign. Although, not unlike Bob Allen sticking with McCain, Thompson will still have Cheney operative Mary Matalin staying with him.

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