McCain Was The Most Reprehensible Of The Keating Five And He Hasn’t Changed

McCain & Keating Bahama Buds

McCain & Keating Bahama Boondoggle

Teddy at the Campaign Silo pointed out yesterday, citing a damning new article in The New Republic, that John McCain was almost certainly the source for a set of illegal leaks during the Keating Five investigation — leaks that, if proven, would have been cause for his expulsion from the United States Senate for perjury, not to mention the underlying corruption and malfeasance from his relationship with Charlie Keating.

As The New Republic related:

One day in early March 1986, John McCain, an Arizona congressman, sat down to write a letter. McCain had heard that a long-time friend and donor, Charles Keating, was upset for being listed as a member of McCain’s campaign finance committee when a more prominent position would seem more appropriate. So McCain apologized. Needlessly it turned out, for "Charlie," as he signed his letter, would reply a few days later: "John, don’t be silly. You can call me anything…I’m yours until death do us part."

The entire article is a must read; it is a brutally clear exhibition of John McCain’s deeply ingrained, pathological, self serving dishonesty and soulless backstabbing lack of honor.

Now the thing that most, if not all, have overlooked here is the timing of Charlie Keating’s retort; it is not just that it was before McCain was sworn in as a United States Senator, it was right as Keating was pumping big money into McCain’s general election campaign for his first run at Barry Goldwater’s old Senate seat.

Charlie Keating wasn’t helping a friend, he was buying what he considered to be a future President. And they both knew it.

As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Tom Fitzpatrick, who knew McCain intimately, both socially and professionally, presciently said back in 1989:

You’re John McCain, a fallen hero who wanted to become president so desperately that you sold yourself to Charlie Keating, the wealthy con man who bears such an incredible resemblance to The Joker. Obviously, Keating thought you could make it to the White House, too.

He poured $112,000 [amount later shown to be far greater] into your political campaigns. He became your friend. He threw fund raisers in your honor. He even made a sweet shopping-center investment deal for your wife, Cindy. Your father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was cut in on the deal, too.

Nothing was too good for you. Why not? Keating saw you as a prime investment that would pay off in the future.

So he flew you and your family around the country in his private jets. Time after time, he put you up for serene, private vacations at his vast, palatial spa in the Bahamas. All of this was so grand. You were protected from what Thomas Hardy refers to as "the madding crowd." It was almost as though you were already staying at a presidential retreat.

Twenty years later and Fitzpatrick’s words still drill right into the dishonorable heart of John Sidney McCain III.

What kind of man was Charlie Keating buying? A man just like himself; a man who was all ambition and no conscience. A man completely self centered and who had no compunction bleeding senior citizens dry, bullying and berating adversaries and corrupting the process of government. A man like John McCain.

It was a Faustian bargain. It was also a bad joke on the rest of us and a disaster for many old people who lost their life’s savings to Keating.

The money was never really Keating’s to give. But he never would have got his hands on it if you and the rest of the Keating Five didn’t halt the government takeover for two long years while Keating’s people continued their looting.

And now, the tab for the Savings and Loan heist must be paid from taxpayer pockets.

But the most telling part about John McCain is not that he was centrally involved in the Keating Savings & Loan scandal, many politicians get involved in political corruption scandals. Four others, although to a far lesser extent, were indeed involved alongside McCain in the Keating scandal. As bad as that was, the worse, and telling part about John McCain, was the lying and backstabbing of his friends and associates for the sole reason of saving his own pitiful skin. John Sidney McCain did not hesitate for one split second to plant and twist the shiv in the back of everybody around him, from Charlie Keating himself to his fellow Senators.

It was, and is to this date, classic John McCain. More from the late, great Tom Fitzpatrick in 1989:

Since Keating’s collapse, you find yourself doing obscene things to save yourself from the Senate Ethics Committee’s investigation. As a matter of course, you engage in backbiting behavior that will turn you into an outcast in the Senate if you do survive.

Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.

You sought out a master criminal like Keating and became his friend. Now you’ve discarded him. It shouldn’t be surprising that you are now in the process of selling out your senatorial accomplices.

You’re John McCain, clearly the guiltiest, most culpable and reprehensible of the Keating Five. (emphasis added)

Pat Murphy, the former editor and publisher of McCain’s hometown newspaper, The Arizona Republic, is another man who knew McCain well, as both a close friend and professional subject. Murphy had these words of wisdom and caution on the eve of McCain’s last Presidential run in 2000:

Those of us who’ve known John McCain since he began his Arizona political career made two mistakes.

First, overestimating the Washington media’s willingness to look beyond a politician’s self-serving façade.

Second, underestimating McCain’s skill in camouflaging his bullyboy ways and reincarnating himself as a lovable maverick glowing with political virtue.

If McCain becomes President, America will have more than a prickly president with a low boiling point. He carries grudges, fibs rather than admits mistakes, cannot endure criticism, threatens revenge, controls by fear, is consumed with self-importance.

My friends, this is the once and future John Sidney McCain III. It is an angry, unattractive and dishonorable picture, but it is the real deal. The real McCain. The singularly self serving, erratic, say and do anything dishonesty and perfidy exhibited in his campaign against Barack Obama are proof positive that he is indeed the same old McCain.

John McCain hasn’t changed, he never will. And he is not fit to serve as President of the United States.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

67 replies
  1. JimWhite says:

    Hooray for the return of the party hat photo!

    Great post bmaz. This man is truly a sociopath. I am looking forward to you writing a post on Wednesday starting the process of saying goodbye to Johnny Mac and hello to Senator Napolitano.

  2. JClausen says:

    Thanks for your yeoman’s work on this sociopath. I especially enjoyed your Prescott article. Keating and his Senators cost me 10% of the value of my home when I headed back to Iowa.

    Dugg

  3. BayStateLibrul says:

    Good investigative reporting…
    Love the New Yorker, “John McCain, played the part of a vaudeville illusionist, asking to be regarded as an apostle of change after years of embracing the essentials of the Bush agenda with ever-increasing ardor.”

  4. perris says:

    bmaz or whowever else is a lawyer, I have a pretty important question;

    isn’t it illegal to claim you have not been convicted when you have?

    at the very least, if there is no specific crime, isn’t it contempt of court?

    can a person file a grievance as a friend of the court against stevens?

    if so, this needs to be done, we need all the democrats we can get and stevens is going public with his “take it to the people” teevee add

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    I must admit to a certain amount of evil admiration for the Old McCain. The most guilty of the bunch, he evaded justice brillantly. Made just the right moves (House to senate, leaking key information, etc) at just the right times, had exactly the right friends (How DID Glenn get included in that bunch?) and a genuinely excellent speech pleading guilty to the minor stuff and begging forgivness which played well nationwide, not just in Az.

    9:29 here, and the first McRobocall just hit. Had 17 yesterday, 2 for a local casion issue, one Obama, and the rest all McBush. There is no pit in Hell deep enough for the people who developed robocalls.

    Boxturtle (Though Satan might see executive talent)

    • BoxTurtle says:

      casion

      Casino. *sigh* Robocall woke me up and caffine still hasn’t kicked in.

      I know threats of violence are banned, but could we possibly make an exception for those who inflicted the robocalls upon us?

      Boxturtle (Only comfort is the GOPers are getting robo’d as badly as we are)

  6. NCSteve says:

    After 40 years as a card-carrying Republican, I’ve decided to vote for Obama. I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. The party has taken a wrong turn, toward divisiveness and incompetence and fiscal irresponsibility.

    Under the current leadership, the size of the federal government has increased and the national debt has doubled. In addition to budget deficits we have off-book spending to finance the war. They’re trying to demonize Obama as tax-and-spend, but borrow-and-spend is even worse in my book.

    I think it is pretty clear that total deregulation has failed in every case. The free market system is an appealing ideal, but it has led to unchecked greed and has ruined the economy.

    I strongly supported the war in Afghanistan. Going after Bin-Laden in his cave is the right thing to do. Invading Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al-Qaida. Those with dissenting opinions were ignored and smeared. (e.g. Valerie Plame)

    To me, true conservatism means less government intervention in our lives. The Republican Party is toward ever more intervention, from wiretaps to Terry Schaivo. Many of these are hot-button issues meant to capture single issue voters. This has led to winning elections but the abandonment of true conservative values.

    There is no evidence that trickle-down economics and tax cuts for the wealthy have created jobs or helped grow the economy. On the contrary, history shows little correlation between tax rates and job creation. Under current party leadership, the middle class has jobs and experienced a decline in real income.

    John McCain continues to advocate tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, and an indefinite continuation of the war in Iraq. I think we have pretty clear evidence that those policies are wrong. It’s definitely not working for me. I’m voting for Obama

    • bmaz says:

      Very well stated. And you know, that is the funny thing; you and I may be from relatively different traditionally perceived ends of the political spectrum, but i agree with everything you just stated. And always have. Increasingly dogmatic petty thought divides many these days when, a lot of times, as here, our core beliefs are really not far apart at all. It is refreshing to realize and remember that every now and then.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I second your comment, bmaz.

        BTW, I take it you’re not overly fond of John Sidney McCain III….?
        LOL…
        Actually, it’s been compelling to watch you unveil this man and see how many things make sense in light of what you say: Rick Davis, Charlie Black, Randy Scheunemann, Charles Keating, Sarah Palin…. Just quite the parade of users and abusers that no honorable person would tolerate on their staff.

    • JimWhite says:

      Thanks for that. I hope you have had the opportunity to share these thoughts with your friends. The campaign this year, more than any in my memory, is composed of people talking to each other and sharing their experiences. We all have to pull together to get through the many messes our country faces and we are only harmed by drawing artificial barriers between citizens.

  7. kspena says:

    via CNN- attendance at mccain’s rally in Tampa, FL this am???? 1000-1100. bush had 12,000 four years ago near same spot…

    • skdadl says:

      And we know how we’d vote, too, don’t we, Petrocelli?

      Both of the Bush-era ambassadors to Ottawa have been wandering about here lately mumbling that Canadians will be sorry for liking Obama so much. Ha! like we have enjoyed the finger-wagging and condescension for the last eight years from Cellucci and Wilkins.

      Please send us someone nice next time.

      • Petrocelli says:

        You’ve got that right, skdadl … I can’t wait to see Harpuh lick Barack’s boots … karma is incredible.

  8. TheraP says:

    Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.

    I hate to say it, but I will. What if this also describes his captivity?

  9. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Profile of the Sociopath

    This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.

    * Glibness and Superficial Charm

    * Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    * Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    * Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    * Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    * Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    * Incapacity for Love

    * Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

    * Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

    * Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

    * Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

    * Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

    * Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

    * Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

    * Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

    http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

    • TheraP says:

      We refer to some people as “successful sociopaths” and they are the folks who “succeed” in life, using their pathological skills. Think of a sociopath as a pathological narcissist.

      Bmaz, you have done yeoman’s work in hammering mcShame’s character pathology over and over. I thank you for that!

  10. klynn says:

    bmaz,

    With everything you have written about McC, I do not trust him.

    Here’s the latest in Ohio IRT McC and his trusty computer wiz:

    On Friday this report was at Rawstory regarding the 2004 election in Ohio:

    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/….._1031.html

    And then this was posted as well:

    The Republican IT guru, recently described as a “high tech Forrest Gump” for his proclivity to be “at the scene” of so many troubling elections since 2000, and even at the heart of the “lost” White House email scandal, has been ordered by a federal judge to appear for an under-oath deposition next Monday in Ohio.

    The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, GovTech Solutions, created Ohio’s 2004 election results computer network, appeared in federal court today, as compelled, and has been ordered to appear for his deposition on Monday, November 3, just 24 hours before Election Day 2008.

    (my bold)

    http://www.stumbleupon.com/too…..p%253D6600

    and…

    UPDATE: Attorney Arnebeck notified Ohio reporters that Judge Solomon Oliver of the Norther District of Ohio US District Court issued a notice regarding a hearing at 2 p.m. Friday, October 31. The notice asked counsel and parties to be present in Cleveland for argument for motions to quash and compel in regard to the subpoena for Mike Connell’s testimony on the King Lincoln Case.

    Arnebeck said he had filed the Secretary of State’s computer architecture maps for the 2004 and 2006 Ohio elections which show that Connell’s GovTech was functioning within the SOS’ office at the same time his New Media Communications company was doing IT work for the campaigns of President George W. Bush and other Republicans.

    Columbus, Ohio: A key witness in a lawsuit alleging the presidential vote in Ohio was stolen in 2004 filed a declaration Wednesday identifying the kingpin attack (also known as the Man in the Middle plan) as the method used to compromise state computer systems and deliver a second term to President George W. Bush. The kingpin attack was perpetrated by SMARTech, the IT services provider of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

    Clifford O. Arnebeck, lead plaintiff attorney in the King Lincoln Bronzeville vs. Jennifer Brunner lawsuit, believes the same kingpin or man in the middle set up may be in place this year in Colorado and New Mexico and other states.

    More here:

    http://thejournal.epluribusmed…..fited-bush

  11. rosalind says:

    bmaz, does the following affect the outcome of stevens’ trial, or is just the juror who’s subject to penalty?

    from roll call:

    The juror who was dismissed from the criminal trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to attend the funeral of her father in California admitted Monday that her father had not died, and that she went to California to attend a horse race.

    • randiego says:

      The juror who was dismissed from the criminal trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to attend the funeral of her father in California admitted Monday that her father had not died, and that she went to California to attend a horse race.

      WTF! I swear, are people this stupid, or is there something in the water that only affects half of us?

  12. BargainCountertenor says:

    The editorial from the 2000 Arizona Republic makes one thing perfectly clear.

    McCain is Nixon.

  13. randiego says:

    Bmaz, without (hopefully) sounding obsequious, the McCain work you’ve done the past few months has been incredible. I know it’s helped me really connect the dots in a lot of ways and helped me coherently explain the narrative to others that don’t have the information.

  14. freepatriot says:

    bill kristol thinks the repuglitards are gracious in defeat”

    we conservatives will greet the news with our usual resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism. Being conservative means never being too surprised by disappointment.

    get a grip, bill

    repuglitards are gonna greet Obama’s victory with cries of “VOTER FRAUD” and “TREASON”, and “IMPEACHMENT”

    if that’s “Cheerful Fatalism” or “Resolute Stoicism”, I’ll eat my hat

    here’s my prediction

    after the Obama LANDSLIDE, the repuglitard party is gonna stage the biggest suicidal hissy fit the world has ever seen

    who ya think is right, bill kristol, or the crazy guy ???

  15. Petrocelli says:

    A little joke, to temper the stress of the next 36 hours or so:

    Little Ralphy goes to school, and the teacher says, ‘Today we are going to learn multi-syllable words, class. Does anybody have an example of a multi-syllable word?’
    Ralph says ‘Mas-tur-bate.’
    Miss Rogers smiles and says, ‘Wow, little Ralphy, that’s a mouthful.’
    Little Ralphy says, ‘No, Miss Rogers, you’re thinking of a blowjob.’

  16. freepatriot says:

    mcsame finally sells the last piece of his soul by bringing out the wright ads

    and he just manages to look like a BIGGER PUTZ while doing it

    every time these idiots take aim, they end up shooting off their own toe, or the whole fucking foot

    if john mcsame DID have control of the nuclear codes, based on past performance, he’d probably manage to Bomb boise or Ft Collins Colorado or something like that

      • freepatriot says:

        after 45 years of ignoring ads, unless I am specifically reviewing an ad, I couldn’t tell you a thing about them cept for the punch line

        I purposely absorb NOTHING from ads, by design

        so I can’t really say which ad I saw (if there is more than one)

        I just been seein Mr Wright in ads on chicken noodle network

        I missed the ad in the football game last night (probably by design too)

        • freepatriot says:

          and just so youse don’t think I’m lacking in observational skills with ads, I should point out that I could spot small nuances in two similar “FATHEAD” commercials that aired last year about this time

          I only evaluate the ads that I like

          an that fathead ad was great

          It’s a movement that’s been building and building, so put on in your ___ Building

          I was interested cuz the actor kinda fucked up the pause in one version

          jus soes youse know …


          ps: I really like the mom who got an M1-A1 Abrams tank fathead for herself …

  17. freepatriot says:

    i have a confession:

    I’m a “comments” junky

    I like to read the responses to editorials and such

    here’s why, from kristol’s responses:

    They say a drowning man will grasp the point of a sword.
    After reading your fantasy, I would add;
    But a drowning neocon can’t grasp the point.

    sorry bill, you have been weighed, measured, and found to be a fool

  18. Leen says:

    Talk of the Nation focused on election now.

    1-800-989 Talk

    They are asking if you have been polled

    Give a call give a push

    • freepatriot says:

      calm down folks

      we got one more football game to go before we gotta worry about that election thingy

      get yer priories straight, people

  19. BillE says:

    I used to believe that the Darth/Chimperor admin would never let go of power. It looks now the might just slink out of town with a scalding hot pardon pen in hand.

    That said, I really hope Obama wins by such large margins that this election doesn’t end up in court, cause then JSM III will win. There have been a number of ACORN/Voting decisions going agains’t the Gopper’s but when the chips are down they will not let go of power without a huge struggle. Rick Davis has as much as admitted the real election begins Wednesday.

    • Elliott says:

      I used to believe that the Darth/Chimperor admin would never let go of power. It looks now the might just slink out of town with a scalding hot pardon pen in hand.

      and the US Treasury

    • Quebecois says:

      I used to believe that the Darth/Chimperor admin would never let go of power. It looks now the might just slink out of town with a scalding hot pardon pen in hand.

      I have a question. Make that two.

      If Obama is elected, and a fundy loses it next week, and assassinates him during the transition, does Biden take over in January??? Would invoking martial law during the transition mean that the ratfuckers stay???

      Thanks.

  20. Blub says:

    This was a quote from a piece on the CNN website:
    “In McCain’s home state of Arizona, Kyle Aevermann, 21, is preparing to vote in his first presidential election. He is one of the few who has yet to reach a decision on his vote… Aevermann is debating between Obama and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney.”

    WTF? Cynthia McKinney’s tryin’ to Nader Obama?????

  21. bobschacht says:

    So, how many pounds of his flesh did McCain sell back in the early primaries when his campaign was on the rocks with no money except what his wife has? Or was it all in promissory notes?

    ISTM when McCain’s campaign revived, it could justifiably have been called the Lobbyists Express.

    Obama never really exploited this as much as he could have.

    Bob in HI

  22. NorskeFlamethrower says:

    Crazy John McCain is gunna spend eternity in hell, walkin’ through the streets of Hanoi after a bombing and bein forced to pick up the mutialted bodies of children and carry them forever!!

    • bobschacht says:

      Apparently the source of this info is Obama himself. Our local paper, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, confirms the Bulletin, using an AP story that cites Barack himself, with a dateline from Charlotte, NC

      Bob in HI

  23. Valtin says:

    Great article, bmaz. I despise those who adopt the common wisdom re the “old” McCain, who was such a great guy, such an ethical and moral man, blah blah blah. If those who recently watched him renege on his opposition to torture didn’t figure out who McCain really was, then they should be made to write “opportunist” on the blackboard a hundred times. Or better, they could read you excellent piece and write an essay about the life and times of McCain, portrait of an American bad boy gone even badder.

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