Capitol Hillbillies

McCain is for sale, just like the rest

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP candidate for Presidents, portrays himself as a “straight talker” who avoids back room,deal making politics.

In truth, McCain is just another politician on the take, ready and willing to do anything to help a fatcat friend with deep pockets and lots of pull.

And one of McCain’s best friends is an Arizona deal-maker named Donald R. Diamond.

Curse of the midnight earmark

A principle as old as Congress is that once a bill is passed it is final. There are no do-overs or changes unless the full Congress votes them in a subsequent bill. But strange things do happen, and one of those is causing furor on Capitol Hill.

Petraeus meets his next boss

Gen. David Petraeus, meet your next commander in chief.

The top commander in Iraq found himself in the middle of presidential politics Tuesday — literally — as he was questioned by White House candidates politically and physically on either side during a congressional hearing.

So much for reform from Democrats

Last fall, the newly ascendant congressional Democrats promised a thorough reform of earmarks or, failing that, a one-year moratorium on them. That was then and this is now, and now is an election year.

Chuck Hagel: Time for a new political party

U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel writes in a new book that the United States needs independent leadership and possibly another political party, while suggesting the Iraq war might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

“In the current impasse, an independent candidate for the presidency, or a bipartisan unity ticket … could be appealing to Americans,” Hagel writes in “America: Our Next Chapter,” due in stores Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy.

Another fine mess we’ve gotten into

Perhaps it’s a good thing that Sens. John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are preoccupied with running for president because if they were involved in the budget debate back in Washington they might decide they don’t want the job.

McCain advisers lobbied for Airbus

Top current advisers to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign last year lobbied for a European plane maker that beat Boeing to a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, taking sides in a bidding fight that McCain has tried to referee for more than five years.

Two of the advisers gave up their lobbying work when they joined McCain’s campaign. A third, former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler, lobbied for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. while serving as McCain’s national finance chairman.