The Devil Went Down to Georgia

McCain's top foreign policy adviser was a Georgian lobbyist—so what?

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It turns out John McCain's chief foreign-policy adviser has made a bundle representing Georgia, and this means McCain is corrupt.

As the Associated Press notes:

The payments raise ethical questions about the intersection of Randy Scheunemann's personal financial interests and his advice to the Republican presidential candidate who is seizing on Russian aggression in Georgia as a campaign issue.

I love a good scandal as much as the next person, but this really fails to raise any ethical questions. For starters, Scheunemann is hardly the first campaign adviser to have worked as a lobbyist. Some represent nonprofits, some represent industries, and, yes, some even represent foreign companies and governments. There's nothing illegal about that.

What's more, McCain's strong response to Russia's invasion of Georgia is consistent with where one would expect him to come down on the issue. As his opponents like to point out, McCain's a hawk; there's no 180-degree turn here.

So what's left? That Scheunemann represented a foreign client whose interests are shared by McCain? Gee, maybe that's why Scheunemann is (and was, well before he took on Georgia) McCain's top foreign-policy adviser—they actually agree!

If anything, this shows that one can be a lobbyist and stay true to one's beliefs. Bully for Scheunemann.