Washington Babylon — April 18, 2008, 12:45 pm

Top Democratic Strategist Ensnared in Scandal (Not Really)

I’m just kidding with that headline–if it had been true–if, say, one of Barack Obama’s senior advisors had sought help for a failed brothel owner and convicted felon, you would have heard about it. However–one of Senator John McCain’s top campaign strategists is embroiled in precisely such a situation. Which raises the question: why isn’t it front-page news?

From yesterday’s Huffington Post:

In 2005, Charlie Black, currently a chief strategist to Senator John McCain, wrote a pair of letters to federal officials aggressively defending Wayne Drizin, a convicted felon, disbarred lawyer, and failed brothel owner with substantial business ties to the controversial Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi. The letters, obtained by The Huffington Post, were sent to a U.S. district court judge and the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general’s office. They are scrupulously detailed and, at times, personal notes, praising Drizin and alleging that a conspiracy of zealous federal investigators was to blame for his legal woes. At the time, Black was a consultant for e-Smart Technologies, a biometric security technology company that Drizin helped start. Drizin was mired in legal battles over his past convictions. The Republican insider and lobbying powerhouse went to bat on the founder’s behalf.

(Note that Aram Roston wrote about the Black-Drizin connection in The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi.)

For the record, I don’t think the media is in the tank for the GOP, but I do think reporters are generally fond of McCain, and that his ties to lobbyists have thus far received far less attention than they should have. Obama did not get seriously scrutinized until recently, and the scrutiny now taking place is for the most part moronic: Is he a closet radical Black Muslim and America-hater who won’t even wear a flag lapel? And no one likes Hillary Clinton–if Charlie Black were working for her campaign, the major networks would already be working on documentaries about his checkered past. But McCain gets a pass.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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