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Everyone Knows it's Cindy (Except Newsweek)

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Newsweek has a 5,000-word cover story out on Cindy McCain. Here's how the magazine dispatches with the most interesting part of Cindy's life story: Her confessions (first to the feds, then to the public) about stealing painkillers from her own nonprofit:

The McCains knew the story would get out. They chose to tell what happened to a handpicked group of reporters they thought would be fair. The Arizona Republic wasn't included, and the day after the story broke, the paper ran an ugly editorial cartoon depicting Cindy as a junkie shaking down babies for pills. Cindy retreated further from public life and stayed away from reporters.

Er, that's one way of looking at it. Another, more contextual one is that the handpicked reporters

were offered an exclusive story in exchange for agreeing to certain terms. They would attend individual interview sessions Aug. 19 and sit on the story until Aug. 22.

Why the weird time lag? More on that below. What was the "exclusive story"? That Cindy had been addicted to Vicodin and Percocet for three years, going so far as stealing from her own international aid outfit. Why was she talking about it now, more than a year since she'd come clean?

"If what I say can help just one person to face the problem, it's worthwhile," she said. "They should know it's OK to be scared. It's OK to talk about it. And there's nothing wrong with staying home, carpooling and potty-training a 3-year-old."

Inspirational! But there were a couple of important details that Mrs. McCain was leaving out. Chiefly, that on Aug. 22, the day that all the Cindy-beats-drug-addiction hero stories were splashed across the wires and airwaves, Maricopa County was busy unsealing a 212-page extortion investigation into one of her ex-employees, Tom Gosinski, who had sued her for wrongful termination and tipped off the Drug Enforcement Agency that she had written bogus painkiller prescriptions in his name. The McCains knew that Aug. 22 was going to be the first day the public found out about Cindy's illegal drug problems; they just got out in front of it with a heart-rending story, scrubbed clean of seamy details and juicy context.

The extortion investigation into Gosinski ? which, by the way, was initiated at the behest of legendary Washington fixer and McCain family friend John Dowd ? quietly died nine months later.

Does any of this matter, in a world where Vicodin and Percocet should be easier for all of us to get without having to shake a baby upside-down? Not unless you care to know the darkest corner of McCainiac damage control/suppression, or if you're relying on Newsweek for warts-and-all political reporting. I'm actually a huge fan of Cindy; her magical realism about key moments in her life is all part of the fun.

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  1. Well, naturally we should expect all this, because that is the nature of John McCain’s “honor”:

    If your wife breaks the drug laws you advocate for, and steals from a charity besides, first make sure she gets off with a slap on the wrist, and also make sure that you use your connections to try to put the jail who blows the whistle on her in jail.

    Typical John McCain.

  2. That should read “the guy who blows the whistle”…etc.

  3. …her magical realism about key moments in her life is all part of the fun.

    So far as I know, that’s pretty much *everyone’s* way of viewing their own life. Whether they realize it or not. Memory is a fickle bitch…much like fame, and the Internet.

  4. Fluffy,

    I can’t say I *entirely* blame him; it is an astonishingly human sort of hypocrisy. If a person has power, of whatever sort, it stretches the bounds of reason to expect them to *not* use it to help and protect their loved ones, regardless of the ethical complications.

    Of course, it makes his positions on drug laws damnable and imperious…for *other people* and for that he should be taken to task. How does one justify supporting laws that would have destroyed the lives of their loved ones but for the privileges of their position?

  5. LMNOP – some people are able to view themselves and loved ones as having actual flaws.

    As far as magical realism, I’ll take Garcia Marquez. At least his stories are occasionally interesting.

  6. Typical John McCain.

    Typical of a naval aviator you mean. While there are some good apples in the bunch, it has been my experience that most naval aviators are usually untrustworthy, self-serving slimebags.

  7. “If what I say can help just one person to face the problem, it’s worthwhile,” she said. “They should know it’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to talk about it. And there’s nothing wrong with staying home, carpooling and potty-training a 3-year-old.”

    Was there some confusion as to whether it was the drug addiction or the staying at home that was the source of the controversy?

  8. LMNOP – some people are able to view themselves and loved ones as having actual flaws.

    Oh certainly. It is just that almost invariably those flaws are romanticized or elided over when it *actually matters*, especially upon recollection. It is an extremely rare individual that knows the character *and* extent of *all* their foibles.

  9. If a person has power, of whatever sort, it stretches the bounds of reason to expect them to *not* use it to help and protect their loved ones, regardless of the ethical complications.

    I agree with this. If a loved one has committed a crime, it’s only natural to want them to get a lenient sentence. And if I knew somebody who knew somebody, I would call them, too.

    But I can’t accept McCain’s continued advocacy of the laws he helped his wife snake her way out of.

    And I really, really can’t accept sending your political fixer after a whistleblower to try to put them in jail. That sort of Godfather movie crap is completely unacceptable, particularly when your hagiographers at CNN want the world to see you as Mr. Honor. If part of your plan for protecting your wife from something she actually did is trying to get a former employee who filed a complaint thrown in jail for extortion, you don’t have any honor and it’s disgusting for you to stand up there and let others write prose poetry about you. You should just slink away and be despicable somewhere where I don’t have to hear about you.

  10. Hey, with her past experience maybe she could end the war on drugs for us all. Even if her spouse turned out to be a mediocre POTUS, it would be worth it just for that.

  11. And I really, really can’t accept sending your political fixer after a whistleblower to try to put them in jail. That sort of Godfather movie crap is completely unacceptable…

    Word.

  12. Maybe it’s just the medical student in me, but I say, whatever disagreements people have against McCain, his wife’s addiction shouldn’t really be an issue. (And I would have said the same thing about Mondale’s wife- who was also a addict- or any other Democratic politician’s spouse). Anyone who knows an addict knows well enough that addiction can lead otherwise good people to do a lot worse things than steal drugs to feed their addiction. Addiction is a terrible disease, and, even as a libertarian, I grapple with the concept of how much addicts are responsible for their actions during active addiction, because the whole thing consumes you. I think that Cindy McCain’s actions and words are relevant, so long as she is campaigning on behalf of her husband, but I’m not sure how much that would apply to actions done during active addiction.

  13. adina —

    What’s relevant is what McCain did or did not do on her behalf to mitigate the legal consequences of her addiction and or cover it up.

    I agree completely that the mere *fact* of her addiction should not be an issue worthy of ink.

  14. Politicians = very screwed up people.

    Anyone who would have sex with a politician = even more screwed up.

    ‘Nuff said.

  15. I’m not saying Cindy McCain resembles any Disney villians, but if she was coming over I would hide my Dalmatian pups.

  16. The proper permits were not pulled when the McCains converted this condo into one
    from two condos (1105 &1106) for the roof top zero edge pool, sun deck, spa, fire pit,
    gas barbeque, men’s and ladies’ locker rooms, steam rooms, massage room

    http://www.webofdeception.com

  17. Robert Lewis,

    Didn’t that scumbag McCain also burn leaves without a permit?

    Is there no end to his depravity? At long last, has he no shame?

  18. This fits the Noelle Bush pattern for Republican hypocrites. Treatment for me, and jail/property-confiscation for thee. Plus the tax and spend drugwar is racist, even though a Martian landing on this planet might think the color you see in all our prisons must be the result of old newsletters and nutcase preachers…
    JMR

  19. Matt,

    How dare you smear John McCain’s war record like this?

  20. Five months to go and already we’ve run out of real issues?

  21. can’t say I *entirely* blame him; it is an astonishingly human sort of hypocrisy. If a person has power, of whatever sort, it stretches the bounds of reason to expect them to *not* use it to help and protect their loved ones, regardless of the ethical complications.

    LMNOP, of course he does the right thing trying to help out his wife. But there is a second step to the moral behavior at that point: he must try to change the laws that—fairly enforced—would have unfairly hurt his loved one. Anything else identifies him as morally inconsistent.

    From that point on Senator McCain had personal knowledge and experience of how screwed up our national drug policy is.

    So what did he do about it?

    Nothing.

    Laws for us, not for him.

  22. The McCains are scumbags and people are hyper-righteous about what pills others are ingesting.

    I’d really like to be surprised, or even care. But alas, were I to start, I’d never get any work done.

  23. From that point on Senator McCain had personal knowledge and experience of how screwed up our national drug policy is.

    So what did he do about it?

    Nothing.

    Laws for us, not for him.

    Sadly, this merely means that McCain is no better and no worse than just about any other politician.

  24. Straight talker or just another bullshit artist? John McCain, you wanted this for so long. Now you’ve got it.

    Welcome to the jungle.

  25. Addiction is a terrible disease, and, even as a libertarian, I grapple with the concept of how much addicts are responsible for their actions during active addiction, because the whole thing consumes you.

    I don’t struggle with how much addicts adults are responsible for their own actions. I go with 100%. Remember, boys and girls, Steve Garvey was “addicted” to sex. I’m calling bullshit on Cindy’s excuses. The kid in the storeroom who stole Vicodin would have done time and you, Cindy, fucking well know it.

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