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Why McCain Owes The New York Times a Thank You Card

The Times, in fact, couldn't have found a moment more favorable for Johnny Mack to let this fearsome cat out of the bag.
 
 
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The Republican Right is already howling over the bombshell dropped by The New York Times on John McCain, the GOP's all-but-official nominee. It's an outrage, they say. A deliberate torpedo. A liberal media smear.

Sorry, but these guys have got it backwards. The Times , in fact, couldn't have found a moment more favorable for Johnny Mack to let this fearsome cat out of the bag. If McCain could have personally chosen when to have this story break, it would have been right about now.

Not to say that the well-researched piece that broke late Wednesday evening isn't any candidate's nightmare. It's not only a detailed run-down of McCain's awfully close friendship with a pert and well-connected lobbyist thirty years his junior; the Times also does an admirable job of rehashing the Senator's long record of cozying up to the same sort of lobbyists against whom he repeatedly rails in public.

So what's my beef? The timing, folks. The timing. Everyone who knows anyone has been hearing about this story for some months. Back in December, Matt Drudge got wind of it from inside the Times and teased it at the top of his site. We all waited, but the shoe never dropped.

Under what is said to be intense pressure from McCain and prominent D.C. criminal attorney Robert Bennett, who was hired to help deal with the matter, the Times capitulated and held off on publishing the story - offering no explanation, then or now. And if you read through the piece just published, there doesn't seem to be any new information that the Times couldn't have had two months ago.

Marc Cooper has covered international and domestic politics for the last three decades. His articles and essays have appeared in dozens of publications ranging from The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Playboy to Rolling Stone, the L.A. Times and the Village Voice.