Annals of McCain - Palin, XIV: gambling man

Many people characterized Dishonest John McCain's shenanigans around the bail-out bill a gamble that didn't pay off, but it was hardly uncharacteristic. McCain is not only a risk taker but an inveterate gambler, literally and figuratively. He is also a Big Friend of the gaming industry and a customer. Over the weekend the New York Times ran a very long investigative report about McCain's close ties to the gambling industry and his own fondness for the dice. Here's how it starts:

Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.

A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table. He was throwing dice that night not long after his failed 2000 presidential bid, in which he was skewered by the Republican Party's evangelical base, opponents of gambling. Mr. McCain was betting at a casino he oversaw as a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he was doing so with the lobbyist who represents that casino, according to three associates of Mr. McCain.

The visit had been arranged by the lobbyist, Scott Reed, who works for the Mashantucket Pequot, a tribe that has contributed heavily to Mr. McCain's campaigns and built Foxwoods into the world's second-largest casino. Joining them was Rick Davis, Mr. McCain's current campaign manager. Their night of good fortune epitomized not just Mr. McCain's affection for gambling, but also the close relationship he has built with the gambling industry and its lobbyists during his 25-year career in Congress. (Jo Becker and Don van Natta, New York Times)

That's just the first 5% of a 4600 word plus article, the results of a months long investigation. It's heavy on details -- names, places, events -- and is worthy of a read. But here are some of the main points:

  • McCain has long had a penchant for gambling. His personal interests are also tangled up with his professional responsibilities and duties in the Senate, where he was two-time chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee. In his official capacity he has been the lead figure in framing the legislation that regulates casinos, especially the Indian gambling business, a $26 billion/423 casino force in the industry
  • More than 40 top advisers and fund raisers in the McCain Campaign either lobbied or worked for gambling interests
  • He has helped specific casinos whose lobbyists were long time personal friends of McCain's
  • McCain has twice voted for tax breaks for casinos -- casinos -- worth $326 million over 12 years
  • His high profile censure of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who stole $66 million from his client Indian casinos, masked a complicated battle within the Indian casino lobby community of rival factions. Abramoff's lobbyist competitors were part of the McCain coterie
  • Just as interesting was the political back story of the Abramoff scandal:

    It was in that primary race that two of Mr. Abramoff's closest associates, Grover Norquist, who runs the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform, and Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition, ran a blistering campaign questioning Mr. McCain's conservative credentials. The senator and his advisers blamed that attack for Mr. McCain's loss to Mr. Bush in South Carolina, creating tensions that would resurface in the Abramoff matter.


    Mr. McCain announced his investigation on Feb. 26, 2004, citing an article on Mr. Abramoff in The Washington Post. He did not mention the action by lobbyists and tribes in the preceding weeks. His campaign said no one in his "innermost circle" brought information to Mr. McCain that prompted the investigation.

    The senator declared he would not investigate members of Congress, whom Mr. Abramoff had lavished with tribal donations and golf outings to Scotland. But in the course of the investigation, the committee exposed Mr. Abramoff's dealings with the two men who had helped defeat Mr. McCain in the 2000 primary.

    The investigation showed that Mr. Norquist's foundation was used by Mr. Abramoff to launder lobbying fees from tribes. Ralph Reed was found to have accepted $4 million to run bogus antigambling campaigns. And the investigation also highlighted Mr. Abramoff's efforts to curry favor with the House majority leader at the time, Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, a longtime political foe who had opposed many of Mr. McCain's legislative priorities.

    Mr. McCain's campaign said the senator did not "single out" Ralph Reed or Mr. Norquist, neither of whom were ever charged, and that both men fell within the "scope of the investigation." The inquiry, which led to guilty pleas by over a dozen individuals, was motivated by a desire to help aggrieved tribes, the campaign said.

    Inside the investigation, the sense of schadenfreude was palpable, according to several people close to the senator. "It was like hitting pay dirt," said one associate of Mr. McCain's who had consulted with the senator's office on the investigation. "And face it -- McCain and Weaver were maniacal about Ralph Reed and Norquist. They were sticking little pins in dolls because those guys had cost him South Carolina."

  • As the boom in Indian casinos started to become unpopular with the public, McCain looked for ways to distance himself from his former "cause." In 2005 he found a way to do this and do a favor for pal Joe Liberman at the same time. He went after the Bureau of Indian Affairs in hearings meant to put pressure on them to reconsider their grant of official status to a Connecticut tribe wishing to start a casino to rival the state's Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, both Indian owned. McCain's staff offered back door advice to opponents of the BIA decision, gave the opponents disproportionate time at the hearing and generally facilitated the eventual BIA reversal of recognition for the tribe, despite its extensive and well documented geneological history

That's not all. The details are mind numbing. But the lesson is clear. If you are going to play poker with John McCain, ask for a fresh deck.

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I have a better idea... McCain is a big boy and currently gaming isnt illegal as so many things asserted by you Revere seem to be. The issues are with the lobbyists and not so much McCain. You can obviously see that the NYT's article is out to get him. I wish that they would put so much emphasis on Obama. There were 6 negative articles that week in the NYT about McCain and none that were negative about Obama... Mind this all the while the questions about Rezko and Obama have to be answered. How about the lawsuit challenging his legitimacy to be in the race? How about the connection to Freddie and Fannie and hiring the guy that was responsible for it to be his "economic advisor".

I havent seen one thing out of you negative about Obama Revere and therefore i have to assume that your bias extends far beyond here. The article is in the politics section of the NYT which is already biased and openly at that. If there is an indictment of Raines for cooking the books then its going to floor Obama.

In addition Revere it turns this into an open lib/left masturbation session each time you do it. It doesnt do anyone of us any good to continue to engage in it. The unanswered questions about Obama are going to haunt him if elected and might take him out and dont you know that Hillary and Billary would be pushing it hard and heavy for that to happen. They dont want him elected and that may be just enough to keep it from happening.

McCain isnt my choice by a long shot but as I said before, its the best worst answer in this government testing we are going through.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Gee, Randy. By that measure the media are biased against Osama bin Laden, too. All those negative stories and no positive ones. Us NYT readers aren't as lucky as you Fox watchers who only get Fair and Balanced News. LOL.

Well gee Revere I again say that they just didnt kill enough people...Nope, no positives out there for McCain only the negatives. It would be really nice if they did investigate him....Maybe suddenly he gets problems at year two when Hillary is going to run again......

Here have a cookie Neo....

This brought tears to my eyes and I just wanted to ask the Obama youth if they had a clue what they were doing... This is a parental setup. The guy doesnt fool me one bit.

By M.Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Nope, no positives out there for McCain only the negatives.

This is blatantly false. If you want anyone to take you seriously, you better start using facts rather than assertions.

Really Clay, its only the libs who dont take me seriously... The above reminded me of the Hitler Youth. Now thats serious.

Show me an article that didnt start off with the bash of McCain, anything saying that he did good. They always give Obama a pass and havent dug deep into this guy. If I can find it why cant they? Do tell Clay...

You see it every day and reporting that says McCain lied and all of this other crap. What about Palin? Please. A month ago no one knew anything about her. Now she is the princess of evil because she has religion.

I put up videos where it is clearly refuting the statements made here... they are ignored and I am accused of this shit you are spewing.

Left wing lib site is all it is now. Nothing medical, nothing but spew.

It has to be video now because of all of this crap that is rolling out of here and even then you guys dont believe it.

Besides, you are about to vote for a guy who wont even stand in honor of our flag..

Piss off.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Randy: Glib and superficial claims might work some of the time -- this is just the comment thread of a small blog, after all -- but there are some things you need to be careful about wherever you are. You clearly have no conception of what Hitler Youth was or what was involved. None. There is no counterpart and such statements betray ignorance of history and lack a sense of perspective and proportion, and cdertainly a sense of what might be found deeply offensive. You bridled at being called a racist, and for my view, I don't think you are, but you have no idea how much more offensive it is to call someone a Nazi and to mean it seriously, as you say you do.

You are in no position to call into question any one's patriotism or love of community. You don't know, you can't know, you can only disagree with their politics. The cliche that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel describes your kind of patriotism. I am surprised and disappointed.

Serious infraction of Godwin's Law by Randy.

It's always pounce on MRK isn't it revere? He has strong convictions just like you do. That's part of the situation here and you do invite it, whether consciously or unconsciously dear one.

Us NYT readers ...

This made me gag revere. Life really doesn't exist for you beyond the East Coast does it? Why not try the Democratic state of California and read the San Diego Union Tribune, or the Los Angeles Times? Or go to a Republican state and read some of their populated city newspapers? Why not go to Arizona and read BOTH SIDES of the story on McCain?

You seem to have the time to do it. Or are you so stubborn that you won't try something else?

MRK: Calm down and cut the piss off stuff. Obama isn't going to win anyway. You have your facts, just no one is willing to read them correctly.

Lea: I referenced the NYT because Randy mentioned it. I grew up in the Midwest and am not an eastern product. I read many newspapers besides the NYT, including California papers whose links you have seen here often.

Regarding the links issue. I ask Randy to support the statements he makes, if he makes statements that seem to me either wildly wrong (which he does often and I've called him on it; he then shrugs it off) or if I am curious as to the source of the information. But it isn't enough to just put up a link and say, If you want to know what I think, read this. Most of the time I don't know what there is in the link he is alleging or why or whether the link is even reliable. That's an argument we can have if there is some argument being made. Most of the time I just ignore what he writes, as he clearly ignores what I write since he accuses me of many things that are clearly contradicted by what I've written here.

Look, I understand that things are getting hot with this election. We're down to the last month. If he or anyone else is frustrated with the fact that we control the front page, there is nothing to stop them from having their own front page. Starting a blog is easy. Meanwhile he and you and many others are welcome here. I open the comments thread to one and all and I hope it won't be abused. I am very tolerant of excesses borne of anger and frustration and strong feelings, but there are limits. Accusations of Hitler Youth are beyond the pale and I needed to call him on it.

Yeah Revere, the little youth really know what they are doing there now dont they. This is already out there as a pinhead idea and I agree that it is. Its indoctrination and its not the Boy or Girl Scouts they are joining. This is nothing more and Obama is going to have to come up with something a lot better than this to make this turd float.

I have seen it before. All the COOOLLL people joined the Hitler Youth and then it became mandatory. Exclusion and then ostracism for not wanting to participate. Card carrying Nazi's and Communists one and all. Catholicism? Religion by Jews... blame all your problems on the Jews and those Catholics. I wonder how many in 1944 that were 15 or 16 in 1936 still held those ideas that were planted by a candidate into their heads? I saw the same damned thing in Nicaragua in the 80's so do try not to dictate so much unless you've been there.

No God in this man and Obama has shown himself to be pretty much the antithesis of all that the conservatives stand for. I see and hear nothing out of you for his relationship with a racist preacher, nothing out of you for his relationship with a man that took millions in federal money. I see him associating and HIRING a man who was in charge of Freddie Mac when the books were clearly cooked. Obama? I cant find that he ever held a job, but that would be because of socialism. I cant understand how you can defend a guy that hangs out with a known terrorist and serves on the board of directors with him. But, hey its OBAMA! Its all good... its all for CHANGE!

Now he has reached down to the children who are the same ones that Al Gore has been aiming at with this, "You are mean if you arent green" and its pervasive in our culture. This is from the same people that say that the US is evil in its ways AND THAT WE ARE BAD!. Even the teachers in this county had to be warned that they either taught both sides of GW or face disciplinary action as they were activists in the cause too... No balance, just indoctrination of our children. Now this latest and its not even a gaffe, its pure in its intent and its obvious.

Indoctrination by the left and that makes it quite a bit about the Hitler Youth and how these things and its is just that a THING. Call me on it all you want it. The intent by Obama is clear and wont change my opinion of the Anointed One, it will just reaffirm it.

Not indoctrination? Think not? We have PETA people attacking people with spray cans, we have yo-yo's burning down car lots, we have people attacking lumbermen and you tell me that they arent indoctrinated by this kind of crap. They got these ideas where? Everything is legal under a liberal regime....Lie to Grand Jury's, perjure yourself....BWTF its Bill Clinton, its only about sex. I can remember a time when even the Democrats would have hung him out to dry faster than the Republicans... But its all good... its the liberal plan and now you have a new leader in the ultra-liberal program.

The worst part? The very fabric of this country which is founded in morality and God are just tossed aside like they were going out with the trash. Then heaven forbid if you disagree with a lib on anything... "You just dont get it", "You are biased and are trying to keep the poor or ethnic people down" Yeah, I have heard that all my life even though the conservatives have always been the ones to free their shackles. Typical of all libs... Do as I say, not as I do. Big Al alone has to come up with something about his 100 foot long boat that runs twin 6.2 diesels on "bio-diesel". That might be because all diesels can run on bio-diesel... Pure unmitigated bullshit.

Hey all this socialist/lib/ Democrat stuff seems to be working out really good for the ethnics because they dont have to work... the government is taking care of all their needs. Food, housing, children.... but no accountability. No, accountability starts at the conservatives wallets because they have to pay for it. Never the recipients of it.

But now they go after the seed corn and this is the beginning of class warfare becoming open warfare. Its them conservatives that are keeping you down and the only way for you to see the light is through me...Obama! Give me your children and I will make things better for you and your families but to do so we have to tax and spend, we have to denigrate religion and all them bastards down South with that religion and guns.

Use of children in a political debate is beyond the pale and every conservative organization out there is hammering this slimy buzzard. Will we see it in the media? Not going to happen because to control the media is to control the country. Seems the libs have that pretty well down pat. You and others will of course defend him and his actions in this.

If you spent even 15 minutes looking at Obama's history and commenting on it then it would be both appreciated and sorely needed! I have NEVER seen you say anything bad about any of his past. When he uses children its not like joining the Scouts, its the Hitler Youth. Kids have always been off limits in elections and this is pure crap. Its disgusting.

You can say what you want Revere but it wont change a thing. I present things in writing and the libosphere ignores it here. Shout it down is the message. Send them videos, they choose to disbelieve it. Then when I get pissy about it they simply dont care and they make offensive statements about me and others here and our beliefs. Its fine not to believe in God. I defend your right to do so. But this is nothing more than an attempt on the future by the libs and frankly I am sick to death of it.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Randy, why don't you start your own damn blog, then? Why do you post this crap here? What do you hope to accomplish?

Also, I can't ignore this bit of hilarity:

All the COOOLLL people joined the Hitler Youth and then it became mandatory. Exclusion and then ostracism for not wanting to participate. Card carrying Nazi's and Communists one and all.

Yes, those old friends, Nazism and Communism! What a marvelous grasp of history you have!

I'm sure you'll claim that you meant to do that, or that there was some hidden point that you were expecting us to get. You'll forgive us for not believing a word of it.

A-You did exactly what I said you would do..... If you dont get the meaning of that then well, sit back, elect Obama and then you can blame the woes of the not on the 2 year old Congress (libs/dems), the new president Obama, or his activist judges he will appoint but on whom? Things can get a lot worse even though there are people who think that they cant.

The sign posts are all up... You dont see them. Thats fine. You probably wont believe any of this stuff I have said will happen either. Thats fine too. No accountability on anyones part for anything. Fine, fine, fine... everything is just going to be fine if Obama gets elected. No more need to call people crooks, liars, dishonest, gambling men, thieves. Dont have to respond to calls by people who say anything and everything about people who have put it out on the line before. Nope, just everything is going to be fine... the Messiah is going to be in charge. All just fine.

Remember this little jaunt down the libosphere in two years if Obama is elected. If I am right I will only get the bragging rights to saying that I was right as the US melts away before our eyes. Guess that I wont have to worry about getting that social security payment now will I?

You are typical A of all that I posted above. So is Revere. You think that everything is going to change under Obama. Good luck to all. I am done here. When someone condones the use of children as political puppets then thats where I draw the line.... This turd has sunk in the punch bowl. Everyone enjoy their Kool Aid.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Personally I do not gamble (at least not with money, unless you count investing in the stock market). But whether someone gambles or not has no baring on whether I would vote for them or not. After all McCain bills himself as a risk taker. So who cares whether he gambles. When we vote we gamble that the person we vote for does what we expect.

Danimal: I think there are two things about this story. The first is that McCain personally is a risk taker, which is fine if he is risking his own fortune but not the country's. It leads to erratic and unexpeced behavior and you don't know what you are getting or what you might lose. Second is the corruption issue. This is a pattern of his, as this afternoon's post will also show.