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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meet John McCain's Policy Director

In my thus far vain attempt to understand who is advising Sen. McCain on energy policy, I came across this handy compilation of key people on Sen. McCain's campaign. Of course, only a few people were identified on the policy end of things, except for a hilarious press release from the McCain campaign identifying 36 "economic advisors," no doubt an early attempt to shore up his weakness there.

While the familiar Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin is McCain's Senior Economic Policy Advisor, I wanted to know more about who might have helped craft the energy policy, not just shill for it. Dan Crippen, formerly of the CBO, is McCain's Senior Domestic Policy Advisor, but as far as I can tell he's never been particularly involved in energy policy. In fact, I can't find a single thing he's ever written or said about energy (which doesn't mean it isn't out there, but I can't find it), but there was this Fox News blurb that he had "helped McCain craft his health plan."

So what about that Policy Director, Dan McKivergan? Well, he's not an energy guy either, but he is interesting enough for other reasons.

According to his Right Web biography, McKivergan started working for the RNC "research department" out of college. From there he "left the RNC in 1993 for the Project for the Republican Future, a Washington, DC, think tank that served as a precursor organization to PNAC." Following the think tank gig, he joined the Weekly Standard in 1995 as a research director, where he caught the eye of BIll Kristol.

From Right Web:
When Senator McCain, a regular reader of the Standard, approached Kristol about needing a new legislative aide, Kristol recommended McKivergan for the job.
I would note that the fact that John McCain sought out Bill Kristol's advice for staffing should disqualify him from the a sane world.

After working for McCain from 2000 to 2002, McKivergan joined the Project for the New American Century (PNAC, the folks who brought you such hits as the Iraq War) as deputy director. Yadda yadda yadda, in 2005 McKivergan joined The Weekly Standard and posted regularly to their blog through the end of 2006, when he was assimilated into the McCain campaign borg.

Briefly skimming through his blog archive reveals a couple things. First, McKivergan wrote about energy policy exactly once in more than a year at the blog. After pasting from an article about possible oil supply shocks from terrorist attacks he writes, apparently pushing the limits of his interest in energy that "Hopefully, the U.S. will have implemented a real energy policy before a major attack is pulled off. I'm not holding my breath, though." He doesn't elaborate, and I suspect he's not my energy policy guy.

The next thing I noted was that the man is a dyed-in-the-wool neocon wingnut. His blog doesn't contain terribly much original writing, mostly just clippings and sneerings, but the man lived and breathed Fred Kagan, Bill Kristol, Stephen Hayes and company. His favorite topics seemed to be just how close Iran was to getting the bomb (Really close, apparently, in 2006), how traitorous Democrats were, and how Saddam really must have had WMDs. Someone with a pretty good working knowledge of middle east issues could surely pick through there and find some gems.

Here is a bit to get the flavor.
About John Bolton
While the far left isn't happy with Ambassador Bolton's reform efforts, the rest of America wants him to succeed.
About Iraqi WMD's (in 2006, mind you)
The article, “Looting at Weapons Plants Was Systematic, Iraqi Says,” reported on a “highly organized operation,” which apparently took place from mid-April to mid-May 2003 at Iraqi weapons sites, “as teams with flatbed trucks and other heavy equipment moved systematically from site to site,” collecting “tons of machinery...capable of making parts for missiles as well as chemical, biological and nuclear arms....”

To be continued?
On Rudy Giuliani's expertise on the NSA surveillence program
But where does Mayor Giuliani stand? Will Sen. Arlen Specter invite the mayor to give his perspective on the program? My guess is that the mayor generally backs the president's decision to implement the surveillance and given his background is someone the American people should hear from.
My guess is that the mayor generally always backs the president President Bush on everything. And anyone who thinks Giulliani is an expert on anything has no business being Policy Director of a presidential campaign.

On progress in Iraq (November 2005. This is the headline because the post is just a press clipping)
Democratic Party Defeatists on Iraq Shouldn't Read Today's Los Angeles Times -- "In a Sign of Optimism, Iraqis Spending More"
And concern trolling for the Democrats.
Democrats would be better off following the lead of the DLC, but the heart of the party believes in Dean and made him chairman -- and now they're stuck with him.
This guy should be hilarious fodder for Sadly, No!, not advising a presidential candidate on policy.

By the way, if anyone can find any other McCain policy advisors who helped craft his energy policy, besides the lobbyist Eric Burgeson, please let me know. Contrast the McCain secrecy with Obama's transparency. The Obama Campaign put out this list of advisors in November of 2007.