February 21, 2008

It's Not About Sex, It's About Power



First off, I owe a hearty thanks to everyone who took part in the conversation while I was away.  I was in Mexico City for five days taking a complete break from news, technology, the internet, U.S. culture and American gastronomy.

One thing I’d like to figure out, though, is why the news always goes crazy when I take a few days off.  I mean, I knew I was missing a few primaries and Bush in Rwanda, but Kosovo? Castro? Afghanistan bombings? the al Sadr rumors?  And then, I somehow completely blanked on the Pakistani election.  Anyway, I might be working forward and back a little bit to catch up.

At this point, however, how could I overlook the visage of one Vicki Iseman?

As this story builds over the next few days, just keep in mind the power of a photograph.

Given where the mind goes — when money and power (and unreported free rides with beautiful lobbyists) are concerned — these images can’t help but pull for carnal knowledge.  Of course, the image with Bush looks pretty standard.  But, check out this diptych the Huffington Post constructed.  With McCain fresh off somebody’s private jet, they have him leering to his left like he’s looking at Iseman (or her chest, more specifically) through a window.

What elevates the story way beyond the blue dress/Monkey Business dimension, however, is Iseman’s role as an influence peddler.  Along those lines, what is potentially explosive here is the emergence of the not just the Iseman story, but the Iseman image in the middle of an election environment dripping with enmity toward the Washington lobbyist.

Just like Tom DeLay’s mug shot finally crystallized a picture of the GOP as ethically bankrupt, I’m interested to see whether Iseman’s photo — paired with the NYT story, and a little more digging — comes to hang McCain with a similar symbolism.

Bottom line, however, tossing around meet-and-greet pictures of Bush together with Iseman, or pushing a sexual connection between Iseman and McCain (whether there is/was one, or not) only serves to confuse the issue.  As always, these relationships are not about sex, but about power.  Or, in McCain’s case, relative to Iseman’s telecommunications clients and the FCC (and whatever else shakes out), the abuse of power.

For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk (NYT)

McCain’s Ties To Lobbyist Worried Aides (WAPO)

Attytood: McCain’s lobbyist friend: “A View from the Top”(Attytood.com)

Arrogance Express (Digby)

Iseman lobbying firm
bio (screen shot via Huffington Post via Raw Story)

(image 1:  Indiana University of Pennsylvania.edu via attytood.com. image 2: AP. image 3: unattributed)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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