Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain's Crapping Out

Lost amid all of the bailout noise, but likely to come up at some point in the near future (for reasons to be explained momentarily), is the NYT column about McCain's ties to the Native American Casino world. The article details a number of dealings in which Johnny "I Hate Lobbyists" Mac, two time head of the Indian Affairs Committee, directly stepped in and affected policy decisions concerning Indian gaming.

The article begins with a description of a night, not too long after losing the 2000 presidential bid, during which McCain could be seen tossing around $100 chips around the craps table. As a fan of the dice myself, I think it's fair to say that such behavior only comes about from someone with an extremely hot hand, or a high roller who treats chips as if it were play money; usually both. Regardless, one would have to be accustomed to tossing that kind of money around, and be safe in the presumption that doing so will not have repercussions down the line.

From there, the article moves on to distinct instances where McCain seemingly used his influence to help out one casino or another. In more than a couple of these instances, a personal tie to that tribe's lobbyist isn't far behind; and along the way, earns himself a reputation as the "founding father of Indian Gaming." (Salon's War Room correspondent Thomas Schaller has another take on all of this.)

This is where Huffington Post columnist Gerald Posner and Ross Perot come into play.

Perot, if you recall, is a diminutive, big-eared, paranoid crank as well as a failed third party presidential candidate, was also known for using private investigators to dig up facts on people he regularly dealt with. He often never used this information, claiming it was more about a desire to know people.

Well, for various reasons detailed in the HuffPo piece, Perot dug up a particularly relevant incident in McCain's life:

Perot told me that McCain had a gambling problem and he had uncovered details that McCain was bailed out in the late 1980s from a big gambling debt by his wife, Cindy.

There are, of course, a ton of caveats to this implication. As it stands, it's merely hearsay, needs to be verified by Perot (who would probably relish the opportunity to stick it to an old enemy), and he would also need to provide the evidence. Also, though the NYT piece is full of damning insinuation (lobbyists hired by interests solely for their connection to McCain, a McCain strategist being paid six figures to be a tribe's consultant), there's been nothing that directly ties McCain to any wrong doing.



B.E. Earl said...

I was reading about this over the weekend. Sounds dicey (!) to me.

Anonymous said...

Ha, is that when he was hanging out with Bill Bennett the Morality Czar?

Swine, all of them.