Remember when Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ, disagreed with President Obama’s attacks on Wall Street? Remember when Bill Clinton defended Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman at Bain Capital? Have you noticed that anytime an Obama surrogate says anything remotely contrary to a position taken by the President the media harps on it for days and characterizes it as a fracturing of support for the President?
Yesterday John McCain was interviewed on the PBS Newshour and made some remarks that utterly obliterated Mitt Romney’s position on campaign finance as well as the whole of his election operation. And, so far, it has been ignored by the mainstream press. Here is what McCain said (video below):
JUDY WOODRUFF: But in the wake of the Supreme Court decision Citizens United, we are seeing enormous sums of money going into this campaign, to the campaigns themselves, to outside supporters.
Is this — is it just inevitable that we’re now in a period where money is going to be playing this dominant role in American politics?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m afraid, at least for the time being, that’s going to be the case, because of the most misguided, naive, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court I think in the 21st century.
To somehow view money as not having an effect on election, a corrupting effect on election, flies in the face of reality. I just wish one of them had run for county sheriff. So what we are. . .
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean one of the justices?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: One of the five Supreme Court justices that voted to invalidate what we know of as McCain-Feingold.
Look, I guarantee you, Judy, there will be scandals. There is too much money washing around political campaigns today. And it will take scandals, and then maybe we can have the Supreme Court go back and revisit this issue.
Remember, the Supreme Court rules on constitutionality. So just passing another law doesn’t get it. So I’m afraid we’re in for a very bleak period in American politics. You know, we all talk about — and you just did — about how much money is in the presidential campaign.
Suppose there’s a Senate campaign in a small state, and 10 people get together and decided to contribute $10 million each. You think that wouldn’t affect that Senate campaign?
JUDY WOODRUFF: This question of campaign money highlighted today by this — the announcement that there’s a huge amount of money coming in from one donor in the state of Nevada.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Mr. Adelson, who gave large amounts of money to the Gingrich campaign. And much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from this casino in Macau.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Which says what?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Which says that, obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign — political campaigns.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Because of the profits at the casinos in Macau?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Yes. That is a great deal of money. And, again, we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that Teddy Roosevelt had that we have to have a limit on the flow of money, and that corporations are not people.
That’s why we have different laws that govern corporations than govern individual citizens. And so to say that corporations are people, again, flies in the face of all the traditional Supreme Court decisions that we have made — that have been made in the past.
That’s about as strong a denunciation of Romney’s campaign as can be made without adding profanities. How can Romney balance his assertion that “Corporations are people, my friend,” with McCain’s total repudiation of that nonsense?
And McCain goes further to blast Romney’s newest billionaire supporter, Sheldon Adelson, as injecting foreign money into American politics. McCain’s opposition to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court shatters any argument that Romney could make to justify his reliance on billionaire donors and SuperPACs.
These are not the comments of some obscure, second-tier Romney supporter. John McCain is a top Romney surrogate, as well as the just past nominee for president from the Republican Party. And the sharpness of his criticism contrasts with the vague remarks from Clinton and Booker who, it could be argued, were merely acknowledging that Romney had been successful in business, but that those skills do not transfer to success in governing (as was the case in Massachusetts).
There are few examples of political contradiction more severe than that offered up here by John McCain. So where is the feverish reporting of a fracturing Republican coalition, or even an acknowledgement of the flagrant difference of opinion? This is not a tangential issue. It goes to the core of what is making Romney competitive as a candidate – his fundraising. Yet his top surrogate demolishes his position and, after trumpeting the alleged gaffes of Democrats, the so-called “liberal” media remains silent.