Today, John McCain will deliver a speech, according to the Associated Press, in which he will make the case that he's the presidential candidate with a "history of fighting to reform government" and that Barack Obama's rhetoric doesn't match up to McCain's accomplishments.
As a reformer who has watched McCain over the past 12 years, and very closely over the past 12 months, this is complete you-know-what.
John McCain may have a history of supporting campaign finance laws, but he absolutely won't be a reformer in the White House.
Here are eight major reasons why McCain won't change or reform Washington (feel free to add your own in the comments section):
1. A McCain presidency would continue to allow big money donors and well-connected lobbyists to call the shots because McCain has refused to take a pledge to pass comprehensive public financing for all federal offices if elected.
2. McCain has refused to cosponsor legislation to fix the presidential public financing system event though he had once authored it himself.
3. He's already opted in and out of the public financing system for president, using a shady loan to float his campaign. The matter is subject to two FEC complaints. Though complicated, the maneuvers he made exposed that he was only willing to take public money in the primary to bail out a losing campaign despite signing a letter agreeing to abide by the law. Now he'll grandstand about his decision to opt in for the general election. That's complete rhetoric, not principles.
4. He has surrounded himself with 118 lobbyists who are advising, staffing, and raising money - and conflicts of interest - for his campaign. For example, just yesterday he proposed a divestiture policy in his speech about Iran, but five lobbyists or advisors on his campaign have worked for companies that profited from trading with the Iranians, including former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and lobbyist Charlie Black, who lobbied for General Electric.
5. McCain's campaign claims its so-called conflict of interest policy is the strictest ever in place. Then why does it prohibit lobbyists from lobbying him as a candidate but says it's okay to lobby him as President? That's backwards. What do you expect from a conflict of interest policy drafted by a lobbyist.
6. McCain is raising millions of dollars through a loophole for $70,000 campaign donations - 30 times larger than what the law that bears his name otherwise allows.
7. He has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Roberts and Alito - two justices who have already begun dismantling those past reforms he once supported.
8. McCain once called his home state's successful Clean Elections public financing policy a national model. Now he opposes its adoption for federal races.
And the list goes on.
Perhaps at one point in the past, John McCain could claim he was a reformer. But he no longer deserves to carry that mantle.