McCain: WTF?

I know I should be focusing all my attention on Democrat in-fighting between Hillary and Obama…but I’m sorry; do people out there know about the Keating Five Scandal? It is, shall we say, totally fucked up.

Basically John McCain and his pals (one of whom was astronaut John Glenn) tried to bribe officials to stop investigating a banking outfit on the verge of collapse due to risky investments, the chairman of which also happened to be a significant contributor to the McCain campaign.

This sort of influence-peddling scheme was not at all uncommon in the political climate of the time — as Wikipedia mentions, K5 was part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis. This was the widespread failure of banks in the midst of Raegan’s deregulation mania, whereby public institutions (and the legal frameworks that upheld them) were being dismantled and sold to the highest corporate bidder. And oh was there ever a lot of well-documented corruption involved in this transition, especially in the finance industry.

Raegan’s deregulation was perhaps the ultimate, most public instance of a larger process that took place in the United States throughout the 20th century: the transfer of power from the State to the corporations. State power, for all its evils, is at least *meant* to be accountable to the will of the people. Corporate power is subject to no such restriction. And when it completely infiltrates the halls of government, you have the death of “democracy” in any meaningful sense of the word.

But all this is nothing new. What’s really interesting about the McCain phenomenon is that in a kind of postmodern shape-shifting flick of the wrist he was able to completely re-imagine his political career by casting himself in later years as the anti-corporate reformer. How is this conceivable? How could people, including myself, have fallen for this nonsense?


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