Michael Scherer at Time has a great find. The McCain campaign has tapped a dean of the Washington lobbying scene and consummate Beltway power broker, William E. Timmons, Sr., to help helm his transition team, along with long-time McCain pal John Lehman, Jr.
While this reversal on a "transition team" is amusing based on the prior inane puffery and McCain posturing, the selection of Timmons raises some intriguing questions of McCain’s judgment. Again.
No question that Timmons is well suited to help with transition, with his years of GOP power-broking and lobbying, he knows who has what fingers in what Beltway pies, especially when you are talking money and power. He certainly speaks the language, from Goldwater and Nixon to Reagan and beyond to today’s K Street crowd.
Timmons is old-school power, and he brings all those connections to the McCain table — for his own and clients’ benefits, though, or for McCain’s? Or both?
Timmons has been greasing the skids for a whole host of special interests for decades, and thus brings a certain "insider smarm" that the Maverocity PR purveyors will have to try to downplay. But can they?
Just take a peek at a partial list of clients for whom Timmons and Company has lobbied just since 2001 according to Implu:
— Unocal (now owned by Chevron)
— American Petroleum Institute
— American Health Care Association
— Freddie Mac
— Centex Corporation
— Cox Enterprises, Inc.
— National Assoc. of Manufacturers
— Asbestos Working Group
— Northrup Grumman
— American Financial Services Assoc.
— The NRA (The National Rifle Association)
— The American Council of Life Insurers
;– Farallon Capital Management, LLC
— Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
— The Vanguard Group, Inc.
— Primerica Financial Services
— Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
Timmons is a Beltway staple — having served as the chief Congressional lobbyist for the Nixon Administration, and served in every Republican Administration since then. He’s also quite an old hand at Washington politics, knows how to work the levers of power…sound like Dick Cheney in terms of ability to work his own agenda into the mix yet?
We all know how well that went for Dick Cheney’s agenda when he headed up the Bush transition team. You have to think McCain would take a more active roll than Bush did, just based on his own insider experience the last few decades.
But the sheer number of power-broker lobbyists in highly placed spots makes you wonder if their ultimate agenda hasn’t been McCain’s own agenda all along. Doesn’t it?
Honestly — Rick Davis? Charlie Black? Phil Gramm? Wayne Berman? And way too many more to even begin to list in a single place. Truly. (Although for a handy visual chart, you can’t beat this from Media Matters. Or this gem from McCain’s Lobbyists.) Especially with yet another revelation that McCain and uber-lobbyist advisor Rick Davis went yacht hopping with suspect clients?
If your object is to buy your way into any meeting in town, these are your guys. But they don’t exactly scream "cleaning up Washington" while they are mucking around with the backroom money, now do they?
If these folk are his closest advisers and have been for years — what, exactly, does that say about McCain other than "he’s one of them."
McCain’s cronies? Really, it’s all in the family for John McCain.
Obama has yet another new ad — at right up top — that hits McCain right in his lobbyist soft spot….strong stuff.