So The New York Times decided to run with the whole adultery angle, while The Washington Post focused far more on the impropriety of a lobbyist having such close ties to a Senator with a reputation for disdaining such creatures. The essence of today's article in the Post is quite simple - McCain may deny the allegations of an improper personal relationship, but those who were charged with protecting his political reputation were concerned about the way Vicki Iseman, a telecom lobbyist, seemed to use her ties to McCain. She was told, in 1999, "to get lost", yet she apparently found her way back long enough to become a potential liability in the 2000 campaign. This liability, apparently, was just enough below the radar not to become an issue at the time. As times change, though, the range of the radar has widened.
I was talking with my wife about this story, and I have to admit that this particular angle - the whole "undo influence" thing - is far more troubling than the question of whether or not McCain could keep it zipped with this woman. Indeed, I couldn't care less if he could. My attitude towards adultery in politics is bipartisan - I don't care about who is sleeping with whom. As to whether a lobbyist used "closeness" to further the interests of her clients, and in a manner that might be considered inappropriate (there are certainly no allegations of illegality), that is another matter. Of course, the inappropriateness might just be a matter of image; McCain, after all, has been the public bane of lobbyists since the 1990's. Yet, there is evidence on the record that he intervened on behalf of one of Iseman's clients.
This raises all sorts of questions, not so much about whether or not McCain was cuckolding Mrs. McCain II (with whom he had been cuckolding Mrs. McCain I), but about his public integrity, or perhaps I should write his "alleged" public integrity.
Either way, it is quite clear that big guns are aimed squarely at McCain. If the Republicans are interested in taking down McCain on some squirrelly principle, the next few days and weeks could be a whole lot of fun.
Except, perhaps, for Mrs. McCain.