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Published:May 13th, 2008 14:51 EST
John McCain Isn't Squeaky Clean: His Lobbyist Problem

John McCain Isn't Squeaky Clean: His Lobbyist Problem

By Robert Paul Reyes

"'ABC News´ Jan Simmonds reports: Two of Sen. John McCain' campaign aides resigned this weekend after media reports brought to light their ties to a lobbying group that once represented the military junta of Burma, which the regime calls Myanmar.

The aides, Douglas Goodyear, who was tapped as the GOP Convention Coordinator, and Doug Davenport, a regional manager focusing on the Mid-Atlantic States, both worked for DCI. The firm was hired in 2002 to represent Burma’s military junta to try to begin a dialogue of political reconciliation with the United States." Quotation from Blogs.ABCNews.Com

Myanmar (Burma) is a military dictatorship that quashes dissent with an iron fist. Last year this brutal regime was in the news for massacring hundreds of pro-democracy monks, and it's making the headlines today for intentionally tying up efforts to help victims of the cyclone that devastated Burma.

A lobbyist's primary allegiance isn't to a political ideology, but to the Almighty dollar. It's not uncommon for campaigns to be embarrassed because of lobbyists on their payroll with unsavory ties.

But as unethical and pragmatic as lobbyists may be, not many would take on a ruthless junta as a client. It doesn't speak well of John McCain that these lobbyists enjoyed such high-level positions in his campaign.

McCain likes to portray himself as Mr. Clean, the archenemy of lobbyists and special interests in Washington. Yeah right, McCain's penchant for hiring lobbyists demonstrates that he is just another venial politician. McCain has dozens of lobbyists in key positions in his campaign; he no more resembles Mr. Clean than Oprah Winfrey resembles a runway model.

Today McCain's official Web site carried a denunciation of the military dictatorship in Burma. But that's not enough; McCain needs to apologize for having these two scumbags in his organization.

Some of McCain's supporters have protested that it's unfair to hold McCain responsible for the actions of every individual in his campaign -- they call it "guilt by association."

The hypocrisy of these McCain backers is incredible; didn't McCain insinuate that Sen. Barack Obama is soft on terrorism because a Hamas spokesman had some kind words to say about the senator from Illinois? Didn't McCain try to paint Obama as unpatriotic because of his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Notwithstanding his reputation as a reformer and a maverick, McCain is the quintessential Washington insider. Sen. Barack Obama is the true reformer and change agent; he's the outsider who can clean Washington.

I hope the American public sends John McCain to retirement, so he can spend the rest of his days playing golf with lobbyists. Only Obama, who transcends politics and is untainted with close relationships with lobbyists, can bring about real change.