Elections, John McCain, News and Current Events, People, Politics, Sarah Palin

McCain’s Transition Team Tied to Special Interests?

I’m not politically savvy enough to guess what this means, but maybe someone else is: The New York Times reports today that McCain is using a man who has lobbied for special interests in the Oil and Finance industries to put together his (McCain’s) presidential transition team.

Both presidential campaigns are currently putting together their transition teams — that is, each is putting together a team to get things ready for its candidate to take power on January 20th.  All of which is normal.  But the person heading up McCain’s effort to put together a transition team, Williman E. Timmons, is a longtime Washinton lobbyist whose clients have included the American Petroleum Institute and the mortgage company Freddie Mac.

So, I wonder what that means?  Does it somehow mean there’s a better than not chance a McCain presidency would be closely tied to Big Oil and Big Finance?  Does it mean McCain’s transition team is likely to be composed in part of lobbyists from those industries?  I’d like to know because it seems that a president-elect’s transition team has the responsibility of picking many of the people who will run the future administration.

Any ideas about what’s going on there?

18 thoughts on “McCain’s Transition Team Tied to Special Interests?”

  1. I sort of hate to break this to you, but Obama has ties to Big Oil and Big Finance just as much as McCain. The irony is that it doesn’t matter who wins this election; Big Oil, Big Finance, and Military Industrial Complex will continue to run this country into the ground.

    Take a look at this chart: Obama’s Top Contributors.

    Look here.

    And let’s not even get into Joe “Credit Card Whore” Biden’s ties to the Credit Card Companies.

    Beyond the thin veneer of rhetoric and few minor differences on a handful of policies, there’s actually very little separating Obama from McCain, let alone the Democratic Party as a whole from the Republican Party.

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  2. I agree with Meowlin—Obama’s campaign has just as many ties to the oil and financial companies as McCain. Obama’s VP pick, Biden the Credit Card Whore, is probably the biggest lobbyists for the Credit Industry in Washington. And despite his claims not accept money from oil companies, Obama has received quite a bit of money from Exxon, etc.

    Whichever of the two win this election, we’re more or less on the same tailspin to destruction. The only question is at what velocity….

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  3. baekho: “Whichever of the two win this election, we’re more or less on the same tailspin to destruction. The only question is at what velocity…”

    And which of them is likely to at least try to pull out of that dive, rather than accelerating into an “inverted Immelmann.”

    – M. \”/

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  4. Baekho: “Neither, as far as I can tell”

    OK, perhaps I should have phrased that differently. The question is, which of them is more likely, due to his attempts to pull out of that dive, to accelerate into an “inverted Immelmann”* instead.

    And if you still respond with “Neither, as far as I can tell,” then maybe you just can’t tell.

    – M. \”/

    * Here, this is also known as “The Bob Richards Maneuver.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Richards_(meteorologist)

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  5. Thanks for the link. That’s a nice analogy. 😀

    But I still see few substantive differences between McCain and Obama. Both want to increase the size of our already bloated military budget, both support a highly militant foreign policy, both support inefficient and costly healthcare systems, both support “dirty” energy (i.e. drilling in our reserves, nuclear power, coal power and ethanol). Both have voted to endorse the Patriot Act, both voted for telecom company immunity, both voted to endorse Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State, both support NAFTA, and of course, both are in the pockets of the corporate elite.

    I could go on. The point is, at the end of the day, I don’t feel a vote for either one of them is a vote for change.

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  6. baekho: “The point is, at the end of the day, I don’t feel a vote for either one of them is a vote for change.”

    I guess it all depends on how much change you consider change. We could go directly from Mussolini to Lenin… but not without a serious amount of bloodshed.

    A local columnist claimed, a while back, that he could usually tell a responder’s political leanings from the first couple of sentences in their letter. I’d been emailing him for a while, and when I read that, I fired off one to him asking him what he figured i was. His response: a moderate radical.

    That sounds oxymoronic, but it’s really pretty accurate. I know that considerable change is needed. But I also accept that those changes are either going to take some time, or will be met with kicking & screaming resistance.

    “Obama’s campaign has just as many ties to the oil and financial companies as McCain.”

    Of course he does. Those companies may prefer McCain, but they’re not stupid – they hedge their bets, and throw a little money to the other side as well. If Nader had a chance in hell of winning, they’d be sending him political contributions too.

    – M. \”/

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  7. I’m not calling for a violent revolution—what I am calling for is for people to wake up and vote in their own interests. I’m a young voter, but for as long as I can remember Democrats have been voted into office on platforms they say they will uphold only to jetison those platforms and side with the Republicans. I understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if we keep voting for the same kind of people Rome will never be built at all.

    Nader of course isn’t running to win, but to keep a progressive agenda out there. I’m voting for him because at this point in the election he is the only one (aside, perhaps, from Cynthia McKinney) who truly stands for the people of this country and not just a bunch of coporate doners and the military industrial complex.

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  8. Perhaps. But he’s simply not good enough for me. The constant striving for “realism” in politics has done nothing except impede a truly progressive agenda. Time and time again we’ve been sold out by the “lesser of two evils”. This is because the lesser of two evils is still an evil…

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  9. b: “The constant striving for “realism” in politics has done nothing except impede a truly progressive agenda.”

    The thing that impedes a “truly progressive agenda” is that there are too many people who disagree with it. You can have either small changes quickly or big changes gradually; trying to bring about big changes quickly requires an extremely charismatic leader (c.f. Kemal Ataturk in Turkey), and sometimes even that isn’t enough.

    – M. \”/

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  10. I think there are more people in support of a progressive agenda than you realize.

    Take single payer healthcare.

    A majority of Americans* and a majority of American physicians** want single payer healthcare. Yet neither Obama nor McCain is offering single-payer—the most Obama has said is that he may consider it, but his remarks on the subject are scant, vague, and unpromising.

    I can give you similiar statistics on ending the war, another policy neither Obama nor McCain seriously considers. Not to mention basic human rights issues like a living wage in this country (neither Obama nor McCain will even mention this). It’s a frequently cited fact that 81% of the country thinks we’re headed in the wrong direction; given that both Obama and McCain want us to continue in that direction, I would say a majority of the country is ready for substantive progressive action.

    Second, you seem to be implying that there are in fact people who are working gradually for change. A cursory glance at the voting records of the Democrats in the Senate and the House reveals that they are not, by and large (which the exception of a few mavericks like Kucinich and Feingold), working slowly or swiftly for change. They aren’t working at all. They have caved in to the Republicans on every major issue—the war, the patriot act, education, healthcare, etc—despite having a majority.

    This includes Barack Obama, who has voted in more than $300 billion worth of war appropriations despite claiming to be against the war. He has also voted for the Patriot Act, for Telecom immunity, for the installment of Condoleeza Rice. His words may speak of change, but his voting record speaks of more of the same. And this puts him squarely in line with the rest of the Democratic and Republican parties.

    I understand the concept of gradual change. At the same time, there is also a need for deceisive action. Would you have told campaigners for women’s suffrage that “these things take time” or that “change is gradual”? Would you have told anti-slavery activists that they should just shut up and wait for the major parties to address the issue of slavery in due time?

    Thousands of people are dying because of the actions and in-actions of the major parties. I’d say the time for waiting is over.

    *http://abcnews.go.com/images/pdf/935a3HealthCare.pdf

    **http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN31432035

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  11. I can empathize with the desire to vote for the best candidate, Baekho, because I share that desire (even though no candidate, including the minor ones, is entirely in line with my positions). However, I’m voting for Obama this year — in part, because I’m scared of what McCain and his cohort of neocons might do.

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  12. b : “Would you have told campaigners for women’s suffrage that “these things take time” or that “change is gradual”?”

    Of course not. Even though, in this case, it was true. The amendment itself may have been a closely defined point in time, but the background that led up to that amendment took much longer.

    “Would you have told anti-slavery activists that they should just shut up and wait for the major parties to address the issue of slavery in due time?”

    Again, you might be able to point at a moment at which this change officially took place, but that denies the years of background that led up to it. And the efforts, over those years, of activists who kept the issue in the face of those who, eventually, did something about it.

    Radicals – of either wing – may be right (or not), but to the general public, they’re scary. Most people are pretty conservative (in the true sense of the word) – they’d generally rather muddle through in the status quo than take a chance on some change that might work out better… or might blow up in their collective face. Even when the status quo is as blatantly screwed up as it is now, most people are more comfortable making a series of small changes, easily reversed if they don’t work out, than a few sweeping changes that, once implemented, would be harder to take back.

    The synergy required between president and legislature for the kind of changes you want doesn’t exist yet. For that, we’d need a fairly left-wing president, and a Congress that is overwhelmingly with him. That means >2/3 of the Senate, so that an opposition filibuster can be broken, and a sizeable majority in the House as well.

    Obama is our best bet for that this year. But we have to elect compatible legislators as well, or it won’t work.

    – M. \”/

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