Mr. Thursday is not a fan of hypocrisy. In fact, we find it especially irredeemable by politicians (we’re so frequently disappointed). So, when John McCain hired Terry Nelson to be his campaign manager, we were upset.
Remember that Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry? John Kerry, a decorated veteran, was accused of anti-American sentiments for his statements opposing the continuation of the Vietnam war upon his return from service. This campaign John McCain called “dishonest and dishonorable” and contributed to the 2004 presidential campaign defeat of John Kerry? Well, Terry Nelson was the political director behind the strings for that one.
More recently, Nelson placed the infamous ad against Harold Ford Jr. in the Tennessee Senatorial campaign? This ad played off of the latent racist fears in the South that are still under the skin of political life there. Walmart, a notably conservative outlet chain (a survey found 76% of their customers voted for Bush in 2004) was so distraught by the firestorm of publicity caused by the ad that they were forced to drop one of their most successful conservative consultants for his lack of ethics — Terry Nelson, again.
And because the Curious Mechanism loves a hat trick, we present a third case. Nelson has been connected to yet another one of the most fantastically outrageous political scandals of the decade: Tom DeLay’s Texas money laundering scheme. In this little escapade, Nelson helped DeLay circumvent Texas law by laundering money from corporate donors through the RNC in order to manipulate the Texas senate legislative campaign. After his gerrymandering of the Texas state house, this was obviously the next best step. Guess who was personally responsible for funneling the funds through the RNC. That’s right, Mr. Terry Nelson.
Mr. Thursday just finds it simply amazing that a presidential candidate so well known for his campaign finance reform legislation and devotion to the military would allow a man into his exploratory committee (with the title “Senior Aide”, no less!) who so blatantly ignores the law and mocks soldiers for personal and political gain. There is a certain irony that in the fact that a man so noted for his morality would hire a campaign advisor so known for his lack of it; however, this new-found moral ambiguity is more than should be tolerated by a candidate for the highest office in the United States.
Actually, perhaps moral ambiguity is the rule rather than the exception.
We like John McCain, for the most part. Here’s hoping this only diminishes his appearance, and not his reality.
Man-hugs to the Feb. 12th edition of The New Republic for bringing this to our attention.