Did McCain Learn Anything From His Keating Five Experience?

10/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Early in his congressional career McCain was taking bribes -- to the tune of $112,000 in campaign contributions -- from Charles Keating, a family friend and crooked banker for whom he was caught strong-arming federal regulators. Eventually McCain's interference on behalf of his pal Keating -- who was also involved in very lucrative business deals with McCain's gangster (former jailbird) father-in-law and with his wife Cindy -- cost the taxpayers billions of dollars in the Savings and Loan meltdown. At the time the McCains would regularly bundle off in one of Keating's private jets to his private retreat at Cat Cay in the Bahamas. Although right wing propagandists try to say McCain was "cleared," he wasn't. He was formally "admonished" by his colleagues on the very lax Senate Ethics Committee.

McCain calls his Keating Five experience "the worst mistake of my life," although God only knows how that stacks up to the torture in Vietnam he never stops talking about. But the real question is... what did he learn from this. Apparently it wasn't to stop taking bribes in return for political favors and it wasn't to stop associating with unsavory characters who are eager to get at the taxpayers' money. What he learned was to stop going to the Bahamas...