Friday, September 5, 2008

Reform, or the Lack Thereof

Well, everyone else is no doubt talking about the McCain speech last night, but I wanted to point out something that was discussed in it: the notion of reform, specifically combating political corruption everywhere, starting with one's own party.

McCain has been pissing off his fellow Republicans with his calls for Campaign Finance reform ever since the immediate aftermath of his defeat by George W. Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries.

Actually, here's something I had simply forgotten with the passage of time, McCain had been working with Democrat Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform since 1995! They finally got it passed in 2002, to the disgust of many Republicans and great damage done to McCain's presidential prospects.

Since entering the Senate, Obama's main claim to fame on reform has been the 2007 Ethics Reform, which Feingold initiated with Obama and McCain co-sponsored but did not initiate. from Florida's St. Petersburg's Times examines Obama's claims in his latest ads about his central role in this reform and only finds them to be half-true.

Further, yesterday saw dual convictions in separate Democratic and Republican corruption trials. First, uber-corrupt Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years for his various violations of federal law.

Second, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to two felony charges of lying to a jury, and pleaded no contest to assault on a police officer.

The difference, here, is that McCain was an avowed enemy of Jack Abramoff and his congressional allies, Tom DeLay and Dick Armey, among many others. As seen below, DeLay hates McCain with a mad passion:

By contrast, here's Obama two years ago on Kilpatrick:

The final piece of the puzzle, to me, is that both McCain and Obama pledged to use public financing in the Presidential campaign if they made it this far, and only McCain kept that pledge.

In the end,we have a true contrast here: McCain is a political reformer even when it makes him a pariah in his own party. Obama, by contrast, acts as a reformer only up until the point it threatens his own advancement, or that of his fellow Democrats. At that point, he bails.

That's my take. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

No comments: