The Rulz

by digby

I realize that everybody gets excited about sex scandals. It's human nature. But it's important to keep in mind that John Edwards didn't even come close to winning the nomination and this is just another sleazy tabloid story with absolutely no serious significance other than the sickening spectacle of the prurient slavering of the mainstream media now that they have finally found their hook: it's because he lied to the press about his sex life. How could he???

(Lying to the press about the anthrax killer and WMD in Iraq, well, not a problem.)

Let's assume that the rules now say that denying an affair to the press is a cardinal offense that merits endless bloviating about dishonesty from a bunch of hypocritical celebrities who protect their "sources" when they lie about torture and war. Fine. But this guy actually may very well be president and they took his word for it:

I'm very disappointed in the New York Times piece. It's not true. And I'll be glad to respond to any questions you might have.

QUESTION: Senator, did you ever have any meeting with any of your staffers in which they would have intervened to ask you not to see Vicki Iseman or to be concerned about appearances of being too close to a lobbyist?


QUESTION: No meeting ever occurred?


QUESTION: No staffer was ever concerned about a possible romantic relationship?

MCCAIN: If they were, they didn't communicate that to me.

QUESTION: Did you ever have such relationship?


QUESTION: Senator, can you describe your relationship with Vicki Iseman?

MCCAIN: Friends. Seen her on occasions, particularly at receptions and fund-raisers and appearances before the committee. I have many friends in Washington who represent various interests and those who don't, and I consider her a friend.

QUESTION: But do you feel like, in terms of your relationship with lobbyists in general, you were closer to her than with others?

MCCAIN: No, no.

I have many friends who represent various interests, ranging from the firemen to the police to senior citizens to various interests, particularly before my committee. And I had meetings with hundreds of them and various interests. And that was my job to do, to get their input.

And, obviously, people who represent interests are fine. That's their constitutional right. The question is is whether do they have access or unwarranted influence. And certainly, no one ever has in my conduct of my public life and the conduct of my legislative agenda.

QUESTION: Senator?

MCCAIN: Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Did John Weaver, who is one of your former top aides -- is quoted on the record saying that he had a conversation with her saying -- basically telling her to butt out.

Do you not know of that conversation? Do you know why John Weaver would go on the record describing such a conversation?

MCCAIN: I did not and I don't know anything about it.

Many people, especially in the press, jumped to defend McCain against the evil New York Times on that one and there has been no follow up. But considering how everyone is excusing the flogging of this Edwards story on the basis of the fact that he lied to the press, I'm not sure it's in the country's best interest not to ask McCain about this again and talk to the women herself. What if it comes out that it was true after he's president? Why surely the press will be as honor bound to obsess over it as they were about Clinton and now Edwards, right? It's not about the sex --- it's about the lying, remember? (They've been saying on a loop that John Edwards was a breath away from the presidency, after all and he got about four delegates.)

I personally don't care who and of these people are sleeping with (especially McCain). Marriage is a very complicated institution and I don't pass judgment on how others conduct theirs. I think this is all bullshit. But if the media has decided that even a failed politician who has no chance at the presidency can be subject to this kind of scrutiny, then they need to be a little bit more vigilant about pursuing someone who is the nominee of his party and has been very publicly linked to a specific woman by the paper of record, not the National Enquirer. If these are the rules, then this guy is a far more likely subject of scrutiny than Edwards.

Update: I just heard Barnicle say on Hardball that it was only "a matter of time before they ask Barack Obama and McCain --- well McCain's talked about his past --- Barack Obama, if he's ever had an affair." IOKIYAJM.