Which Dictators Are Too Awful?

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We blogged the other day about how two McCain staffers, including one who was supposed to run the Republican convention in Minneapolis, were booted from the campaign because they had lobbied for the repressive military junta in Burma.

Turns out, the staffer who was supposed to run the convention, Doug Goodyear, was actually McCain’s second choice. His first choice was Paul Manafort (naturally, a lobbyist), who had to be removed from consideration because he too had lobbied for authoritarian figures, specifically Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovich.

Okay, it’s a bit odd that McCain can only seem to find shills for dictators to run his campaign. But what’s even more odd is that Charlie Black, one of McCain’s most senior and most loyal aides, also worked for Ferdinand Marcos, as we reported yesterday. In fact, he’s worked for Marcos, Zaire dictator Mobuto Sese Seko, Somalia’s Mohamed Siad Barre, and Nigeria’s Ibrahim Babangida.

Either there is something particularly objectionable about Viktor Yanukovich, or John McCain is willing to selectively punish moral outrage. If you lobby for dictators and are easily replaceable, you’re out the door. If you lobby for dictators but you are McCain’s right hand man, you get to stay.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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