John McCain, judging by his new ad, wants you to think we are talking about 2008 and his opponent. We're not. We are talking about the Savings and Loan crisis of the late eighties and early nineties. The man who hopes to be President is John McCain and the friend and adviser is Charles Keating.
John McCain wants us to forget. He wants us to give him the reigns so that he can steer us out of trouble. But John McCain is the last person we should trust when it comes to financial scandal. Because John has been there before, and we should be using that phrase his buddy George Bush so memorably screwed up. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
America, don't get fooled again.
John McCain would like you to believe he was exonerated. He was not. What happened was that they couldn't find evidence showing that he had done anything more than intimidate with his presence and with things that were barely true but were, after all, a little bit true and thus hard to claim as being prosecutable falsehoods. That sounds familiar, doesn't it?
At the end, John McCain was found to be officially guilty of poor judgment. He was not prosecuted further because he paid for the free flights and vacations given to him by Charles Keating and because he was able to claim that it was his wife's money that was invested with Keating, not his. You know, like how his wife owns all those houses and thus he doesn't know about them.
And he paid the U.S. Treasury $112,000.00 in order to offset the campaign contributions he had received from Keating.
John McCain was at the center of what many called the worst example of Senate corruption since Teapot Dome. John McCain helped Charles Keating attempt, unsuccessfully, to brazen through an investigation and drag out a situation which resulted in Charles Keating's investors, who were primarily older people who had invested for retirement, losing over one hundred eighty million dollars with no hope of recovery.
And although John McCain survived, he was far from blameless. Not in my opinion, not in the opinion of the investigators and not in the opinion of his homestate media. I present to you the words of Tom Fitzpatrick from The Phoenix New Times November 29, 1989.
Link to the original article.
"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. (skip ahead)
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.(skip)
Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.(skip)
It was a sobering scene. There you sat with Glenn, both sweating before the cameras, waiting to answer questions: two badly tarnished American icons.
No one forgets that Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. You won't let anyone forget that you were a prisoner of war. But you have played that tune too long. By now your constant reminders about your war record make you seem like a modern version of Arthur Miller's tragic failure Willy Loman.
Clearly, both you and Glenn sold your fame for Charles Keating's money.
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.(skip)
Perhaps you might silence your own conscience about all this someday.
Just keep telling everyone that it was your wife's money invested in that shopping center with Keating and that you knew nothing about it.(skip)
Keep telling them that it wasn't that you were bought off but that Charlie Keating got special help only because he was one of the biggest employers in the state.
Just keep sitting there and staring into the camera and denying that Keating bought you for money and jet plane trips and vacations.
So what if he gave you $112,000? Just keep smiling at the cameras and saying you did nothing wrong.
Maybe the voters will understand you took those tiring trips to Charlie's place in the Bahamas in their behalf. Certainly, they can understand you wanted to take your family along. A senator deserves to travel on private jets, removed from the awful crush of public transportation.
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.