Palin Says McCain Doesn’t “Run with the Washington Herd.” Is It Jogging?

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At a campaign rally this morning in Fairfax, Virginia, Sarah Palin declared of John McCain, “He doesn’t run with the Washington herd.”

That’s sure not true, given that his campaign is managed (or stage-managed) by the old bulls of the Washington lobbying herd. And within what seemed seconds of Palin making this false statement, the Obama campaign sent me (and other reporters) a list of McCain’s top aides who are former DC lobbyists:

* Rick Davis, campaign manager, has lobbied for Airborne Express and DHL on their controversial merger deal, as well as telecom companies Bell South/SBC and Verizon.

* Charlie Black, senior advisor, lobbied for more than 100 clients, including Yukos Oil and Freddie Mac.

*Randy Scheunemann’s lobbying clients have included BP Amoco and the NRA.

* Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior policy advisor, is a former Koch Industries lobbyist.

* Frank Donatelli, the McCain campaign’s director at the RNC, has had 70 clients including PHARMA, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil.

*John Green, congressional liaison, has lobbied for at least 150 clients, including insurance industry trade groups, predatory lender Ameriquest, Chevron Texaco, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac

* Wayne Berman, campaign vice-chair, finance co-chair, and advisor has also lobbied for almost 100 clients, including Ameriquest, Fannie Mae, the National Rifle Association and American Health Insurance Plans.

If that’s not a herd, it’s at least a flock. Or a gaggle.

But as Kevin Drum notes, Republican strategist John Feehey told The Washington Post that “bigger truths” outweigh “little facts” in this presidential campaign. And that seems to be true even if the bigger truths are untrue. No doubt then, Palin will continue to use as a talking point the claim that McCain eschews the Washington herd, even as members of that herd hand Palin her speech lines.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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