Thanks to an innuendo-laden story by the New York Times last Thursday, everybody who follows USian politics at all knows that Vicki Iseman is a quasi-hot telecom/media lobbyist who for a while eight years ago had a pretty close friendship with Senator John McCain, and that he threw some of his political weight around on behalf of some of her clients. (I tried to find a flattering photo of Ms. Iseman to grace this here blog entry, but all I could find were an elongated pic of her in an evening gown, too big for my purposes, and a horribly unflattering portrait from her company’s website. Oh well, by now you’ve either seen those photos or this story likely ain’t for you anyway.)
What few suspect, however, that this whole story was a cleverly planted plot designed to boost the google rank of Wetmachine into the stratosphere!
The wingnutosphere is up in arms about the innuendy gossipyness of the Times story as pertains to a possible “romantic” relationship between the senator and the lobbyist. Even many left-leaning bloggers have said that that part of the story is either too empty or too diluted and lawyered-down to have merited putting into print, much less front page placement. Most political/media bloggers on the Left/Democratic (at least among those that I read) lamented that all the attention was going, naturally enough, towards prurient curiosity about a possible sexual relationship between McCain and Iseman, and not to the less sensational but more significant and disturbing pattern of “straight-talking” John McCain cozying up to moneyed interests and carrying water for them. On the other hand, when the story broke, many lefties, notably Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, guessed that there was more to it, that there was another shoe to drop.
The fallout in the days following the original story has been interesting, indicating that Marshall’s instincts were probably right. McCain issued a blanket denial of the whole story, and Iseman denied the part of the story that insinuated her “romantic” involvement with McCain. Almost immediately, holes were found in McCain’s rebuttal. Newsweek, the Times and others surfaced evidence that clearly caught McCain in lies, or at the most charitable, with an extremely faulty and selective memory.
So now the attention goes to what McCain actually did on behalf of Iseman’s clients. Calls made, letters written to the FCC, arms twisted, muscle applied, and so on, and so forth.
What did Iseman actually want for her clients? Was her influence proper? Did she obey the law? What did McCain do on behalf of Iseman’s clients? Was it proper? Did HE obey the law?
Hell if I know! It sure looks fishy to me, but what do I know?
Here’s one thing I do know: if there is any person in the blogsphere qualified to comment on this whole delicious matter, it is my esteemed colleague Harold Feld, of Wetmachine/Tales of the Sausage Factory. I await his commentary with bated breath.
Before Vicki Iseman, FCC policy and politicking was of interest to us wonks only. Now it’s of interest to anybody whose attention is piqued by headlines like “the skirt-chasing chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and the leggy blond lobbyist”. This can only redound to the technorati joy of premiere FCC policy wonk site Wetmachine, hooray. Some crybabies on the right side of the dial will complain about what a cheap shot to Maverick(TM) John McCain this whole business is, but until I see a convincing refutation of this story about McCain and the “Clinton Rules” of journalism, I’m not going to lose any sleep over McCain’s self-made woes.