Song remains the same: The New YorkTimes has again challenged John McCain's ethical conduct as a senator. At issue this time is his decadeslong relationship with Arizona developer Donald Diamond, who has raised more than $250,000 on behalf of McCain's current presidential campaign. The Times reports, "Mr. McCain has helped Mr. Diamond with matters as small as forwarding a complaint in a regulatory skirmish over the endangered pygmy owl, and as large as introducing legislation remapping public lands."
At the Plank, the New Republic's Noam Scheiber loves this quote from Diamond: "I want my money back, for Christ's sake. Do you know how many cocktail parties I have to go to?" "How refreshing to have a fat-cat contributor actually fess up about the blindingly obvious point of all his contributions," says Scheiber, who thinks this story trips up McCain only because "he's much more sanctimonious than at least 80-90 percent of his colleagues" who do the same thing with their top contributors.
At Hot Air, conservative Ed Morrissey notes that one of the the article's authors, Jim Rutenberg, also had a byline in the famous Vicki Iseman story the newspaper ran in February. Morrissey concludes that Rutenberg's "gotcha"—that he sponsored legislation to remap public land in a way that directly benefited Diamond's development business—isn't quite accurate. Morrissey writes: "[T]he legislation McCain sponsored didn't require the sale of the parcels at issue in Rutenberg's article at all. It authorized the Secretary of the Interior to swap land as deemed necessary and beneficial. Neither McCain nor his family had any personal stake in the land deals that Donald Diamond negotiated with Interior, nor did McCain write legislation requiring Interior to sell anything at all to Diamond."
Philip Klein at theconservative American Spectator's blog sees another dud for the Gray Lady: "The point that keeps getting made in the story is that post-Keating 5, McCain has made a name for himself trying to get money out of politics, and to avoid appearances of using his office improperly. But there's no allegation of actual wrongdoing or corruption here, and the Times even notes that on other occasions McCain publicly criticized Diamond, and 'has occasionally rebuffed Mr. Diamond's entreaties as inappropriate ...' Looks like strike two for the Times."
Confederate Yankee says he doesn't like McCain, but he likes this sort of "political hit piece" less: "For the story to have merit and legitimacy it needs a 'gotcha,' an impropriety, some sort of ethical or legal breach on behalf of the businessman by the politician. … In fact, the only evidence the story supplies are specific instances where McCain rejected inappropriate interventions." However, Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse makes no excuses: "McCain, of course, has the same problem Obama has; he sets himself up as a different kind of politician who is above mucking around in the political sewers with special interests while carrying on business as usual when it comes to his 'special friends.' In the larger scheme of things, this favor for Diamond is hardly a mortal sin. But as an example of campaign hypocrisy? Guilty as charged, Senator."
Liberal Matt Yglesias thinks it's an open-and-shut case but also not terribly worrisome against McCain's other demerits: "At the end of the day, this pales in comparison to McCain catastrophically wrongheaded ideas about foreign policy on the list of reasons not to vote for him. But it's yet another story which reveals how ultimately hollow the myth of John McCain as the great man of honor who'd never have his hands anywhere near the mucky side of politics is."
The Reaction agrees: "While it is important to target McCain on the issues … it is imperative that his facade of integrity, endlessly played up by the media, for whom he can usually no wrong, be exposed for what it is: a mask hiding a corrupt and hypocritical core."
Read more about the Diamond-McCain nexus.
We did it: Al-Qaida chief deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri has lashed out at Iran and Hezbollah for spreading the malicious lie that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 attacks. "The purpose of this lie is clear—[to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," Zawhiri said in response to a question posed on an Islamic militant Web site.
Jammie Wearing Fool writes: "That giant sucking sound you just heard was the air being let out of the Truther balloons. Granted, they'll just spin it to say Ayman al-Zawahri is a neocon pawn working on orders of Dick Cheney."
At Commentary's contentions, David Hazony offers Zawihiri some unsolicited advice: "If you're really that mad at Iran, why don't you put your organization's efforts into taking out their nuclear program? That would really show them."
At Prairie Pundit, Merv writes: "It is still interesting that truthers whether they are in Iran or in the US deny the obvious truth of the 9-11 attacks. I think they all do it for the same reason. They want to deny the legitimacy of the US response to those attacks."
Of course, Bin Laden's No. 2 might have just been following the Onion:
Read more about Zawahiri's 9/11 conspiracy-theory debunking.