The NYT features lobbyist Charlie Black’s prominent role in John McCain’s presidential campaign. I didn’t know that he got his start with Jesse Helms, Lee Atwater, and other assorted right wing zealots. Not a good sign for me, since Jesse was a virulent hater of the State Department and an author of the Helms-Burton Act, which was one thing that encouraged me to get out of the Foreign Service.
While I was assigned to the US Embassy in Rome, an Italian contact whose little daughter had been denied a US visa under the Act remarked to me about how it penalized the children of those it targeted. I found its operation to be very similar to the way the Nazis targeted Jews in Italy during World War II as described by Herman Wouk in Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I was not happy that the US was punishing children for the “sins” of their parents.
Plus, as I said earlier, I am not happy about lobbyists having big roles in presidential campaigns, especially of someone like John McCain, who claims to be the king of straight talk. The Black connection seems to indicate that McCain has swung hard to the right. I worry that although he has a history as a maverick, he was neutered by George Bush in the 2000 campaign when Bush beat him in South Carolina by claiming that McCain’s adopted daughter was actually a black bastard conceived out of wedlock. Now, to see McCain fawning over Bush is more than I can take. Plus, I hate seeing him get his Middle East policy whispered in his ear by Israel hawk Joe (Bomb Iran) Lieberman.