Judge him by his friends

How come so many of John McCain’s buddies take money from anti-American tyrants?

John McCain decided that he couldn’t have Paul Manafort of the lobbying firm Davis, Manafort, and Freedman as chair of the Republican National Convention because the firm used to lobby for Ferdinand Marcos when Marcos was dictator of the Philippines. (Manafort also worked for Victor Yanukovich, the Kremlin puppet displaced running the Ukraine by the Orange Revolution, though not before his opponent had been poisoned with the evident involvement of the Ukrainian intelligence service.) Apparently the involvement of McCain’s campaign manager, the senior partner in Davis, Manafort, and Freedman, isn’t of any concern.

So McCain chose instead Doug Goodyear of the lobbying firm DCI, Inc. &#8212 which used to lobby for the SLORC, the tyranny that rules Burma. Part of its mission was to characterize as “falsehoods” complaints about systematic rape made in Burma. Those complaints were issued by the U.S. state department.

But don’t worry, says Goodyear. His firm isn’t lobbying for the SLORC anymore. And, as a bonus, it’s no longer directing efforts to illegally evade the campaign finance laws. Now we shouldn’t be too judgmental: perhaps Goodyear has genuinely learned from his mistakes. “In the place of the truly penitent,” says the Talmud, “even a saint is unfit to sit.”

In any case, McCain quickly dumped Goodyear (or Goodyear dumped himself) as soon as the news came out.

Since McCain is so concerned about the implications about Barack Obama’s character of the fact that he served on the board of a community foundation with someone who had been a Weatherman thirty years earlier, it seems fair to ask what we can learn about John McCain’s character and judgment from the fact that he surrounds himself with people who take money from foreign tyrannies hostile to the United States?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com