John McCain was elected to the Senate in 1986, taking Barry Goldwater’s seat after two terms in the House. In 1987, as a rather naive =freshman Senator, he was involved in the “Keating Five” affair This involved assistance to a constituent of McCain’s but was, in fact, a Democrat influence peddling matter. McCain was included chiefly to make it “bipartisan.”
The five senators—Alan Cranston (Democrat of California), Dennis DeConcini (Democrat of Arizona), John Glenn (Democrat of Ohio), John McCain (Republican of Arizona), and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (Democrat of Michigan)—were accused of improperly intervening in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB). The FHLBB subsequently backed off taking action against Lincoln.
Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed in 1989, at a cost of $3.4 billion to the federal government (and thus taxpayers).
This experience affected McCain severely, making him obsessed with his reputation and leaving him open to more manipulation by Democrats. What followed was The McCain Feingold Act also known as the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.” It made a huge change in the way Congress conducted business.
McCain-Feingold tilted influence in our political system toward the ideological extremes. For centuries, political parties played a moderating role: Because they comprise a broad coalition of interests, parties had to mediate among competing constituencies, looking for middle-ground positions that would draw maximum support. Traditionally, they used their preponderance of resources to impose discipline on extremists who threatened party comity.
That description is pretty much nonsense. What it really did was to place legislation in the hands of Congressional staffs and lobbyists. Congress members spend their days and months raising money while staffs and lobbyists write the laws. That is why Nancy Pelosi told us that “we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.” She was referring to Obamacare but it applies to all legislation the past 18 years since McCain Feingold.
This is why Trump is so hated. He is an outsider coming into a world of insiders who know each other and who do not want any outsiders learning what they do.
President Donald Trump winning the election threw a monkey wrench into the entire DC system…. In early 2017 the modern legislative machine was frozen in place.
The “America First” policies represented by candidate Donald Trump were not within the legislative constructs coming from the K-Street authors of the legislation. There were no MAGA lobbyists waiting on Trump ideology to advance legislation based on America First objectives.
As a result of an empty feeder system, in early 2017 congress had no bills to advance because all of the myriad of bills and briefs written were not in line with President Trump policy. There was simply no entity within DC writing legislation that was in-line with President Trump’s America-First’ economic and foreign policy agenda.
Exactly the opposite was true. All of the DC legislative briefs and constructs were/are antithetical to Trump policy. There were hundreds of file boxes filled with thousands of legislative constructs that became worthless when Donald Trump won the election.
This is why Trump has to be driven from the Presidency. He is the fox in the chicken coop.
Legislation needed to be in-line with an entire new political perspective, and there was no-one, no special interest or lobbying group, currently occupying DC office space with any interest in synergy with Trump policy.
Think about the larger ramifications within that truism. That is also why there was/is so much opposition.
No legislation provided by outside interests means no work for lobbyists who sell it. No work means no money. No money means no expense accounts. No expenses means politicians paying for their own indulgences etc.
Politicians were not happy without their indulgences, but the issue was actually bigger. No K-Street expenditures also means no personal benefit; and no opportunity to advance financial benefit from the insider trading system. Republicans and democrats hate the presidency of Donald Trump because it is hurting them financially.
This is where Angelo Codevillsa’s essay, “The Ruling Class” is so significant. The Republicans, with a few exceptions, are not any better than Democrats, at least as far as honesty is concerned. The Democrat Party has gone crazy the past decade with identity politics and the Gramscian destruction of higher education. College students and most recent graduates have no idea of how the economy or the country work.
The Wuhan virus and the hysterical reaction to it may be rationalizing the politics again. Trump’s populism and deregulation prior to the virus have given Americans a view of the difference between the red and blue states. The result may be a significant realignment, especially if less corrupt candidates appear on Republican ballots. Time will tell. It was no accident that the only legislation to pass Congress when Republicans had a majority in the House was a tax cut.
11 thoughts on “If you think Congress does not work, thank John McCain”
A trenchant and most insightful analysis. Thanks so much for elucidating the mechanism of TDS in Washington.
A comment on the usefulness of the GOP Senate.
The letter showed that Senate Republicans were aware Christopher Steele was a paid operative working on behalf of Trump’s Democratic enemies inside and outside the government. Further, the dossier wasn’t raw intelligence exposing collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin; Grassley acknowledged the document was anti-Trump propaganda that influenced activity at Barack Obama’s FBI and seeded damaging news articles before the 2016 election.
In other words, Republicans knew at that point the whole dossier-fueled collusion storyline was a massive scam.
The date of the letter? March 24, 2017. A few days earlier, FBI Director James Comey confirmed during a House Intelligence Committee hearing that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, a stunning confession.
The Ancient Greeks had some good ideas. In some city states, there was an audit at the end of each legislator’s term. The citizens could vote to exile a legislator if they were disappointed in him.
Obviously our current legislators would never vote for such a measure to apply to themselves. But it will be worth considering after the revolution when we get to work on Constitution 2.0.
In Arizona’s 2016 senate election, my choices were a green, a democrat and John McCain. I wrote in Cthulhu. I’m not joking.
That Democrat in 2016 won the CD 2 election in 2018, lying about her residence. She then served in the House by being drunk all the time, falling and sustaining several severe injuries, and finally entering rehab for most of 2020.
You note how Sarbanes Oxley did nothing to solve the subprime bubble, dodd frank (which I’ve dubbed Sutton dilinger) did nothing to prevent mf global or other frauds, and cares of course just makes the flatline worse, previously nclb which included the first generation of constructivist education, with templates neil bush picked up from the emirates, did nothing to improve education,
Semi-OT, but broadly on the topic of leftist malfeasance, I just finished reading “My Brother Ron,” the history of deinstitutionalization that Mike K recommended.
It was superb, and highly informative on filling out details that I hadn’t known before. I knew O’Connor v. Donaldson was in the thick of things, but did not appreciate how involved the ACLU and other “activists” were in pushing the whole thing.
Anyway, thanks for the recommendation, Mike K!
The “My Brother Ron” book goes into much more detail on the legal history of deinstitutionalization than I do in my chapter on Psychiatry in my medical history book.
whenever there is one of these reforms, you almost instinctively know it’s not going to be good,
“ The “My Brother Ron” book goes into much more detail on the legal history of deinstitutionalization than I do in my chapter on Psychiatry in my medical history book.”
Probably everyone here has read his book, but for anyone who hasn’t, it is available right now on Kindle Unlimited. Dr. K’s explanation in his book of why deinstitutionalization was probably misguided was very enlightening. It was done supposedly out of kindness. And the results for many was just the opposite.
Clayton Cramer, author of My Brother Ron, is an underappreciated treasure. Do y’all know he is the original unmasker of Michael Bellisiles’ fraud?
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