"My friends, my friends." That's, of course, John McCain's mantra. But who are Senator McCain's friends? Well, George "Macaca" Allen, late of the failed Fred Thompson campaign, is one of them. Allen played the part of introducing McCain's introducer at CPAC last week. Oh, and the introducer? That was Senator Tom Coburn, former alleged sterilizer and heroic battler of the lesbians who threatened solo trips to girls' restrooms throughout the schools of Southeast Oklahoma.
But another one of McCain's friends worth watching joined the GOP frontrunner on the stage last night as he celebrated his win in the Potomac primaries. We speak of Fred Malek, McCain's national finance co-chair, whose dark past in dirty Republican politics reaches back over thirty-five years. That's when Malek, the personnel chief for the Nixon administration, became known as the President's private "Jew counter."
It's one of the more gothic stories about Nixon related in Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's The Final Days. As they tell it, late in 1971...Nixon summoned the White House personnel chief, Fred Malek, to his office to discuss a "Jewish cabal" in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The "cabal," Nixon said, was tilting economic figures to make his Administration look bad. How many Jews were there in the bureau? he wanted to know. Malek reported back on the number, and told the President that the bureau's methods of weighing statistics were normal procedure that had been in use for years.
Malek's history of aiding and abetting the worst of Nixon's identity politicking isn't the only thing that should give those who believe McCain's government-reformer schtick:
As a Nixon aide, he set up a project that sought to influence government decisions to assist Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign. In 2006, Washington Post columnist Colbert King described this program as "a scheme designed, organized and implemented...to politicize the federal government in support of Nixon's reelection." Citing a memo Malek wrote about the project, King noted:
"The Malek memo also claimed another accomplishment: The steward of a dockworkers union local in Philadelphia, an active Nixon backer, had been accused of being responsible for illegal actions of the union's president. The Pennsylvania Committee to Reelect the President asked that the Labor Department rule in the steward's favor. It did, Malek claimed, adding that 'this action had a very strong impact on the local ethnic union members.'
Malek's responsiveness program was extensively investigated by the Senate Watergate committee. The panel found that the program was aimed at influencing decisions concerning government 'grants, contracts, loans, subsidies, procurement and construction projects,' decisions regarding 'legal and regulatory actions,' and even personnel decisions that affected protected 'career positions' -- all to advance Nixon's reelection.
But long before Malek went to work for CREEP, he was merely creepy. As ThinkProgress reminded back in April of last year, when Malek was but a wee lad, he was arrested for "killing, skinning, and barbecuing a dog." So, what does it say that McCain's friend is no friend to man's best friend? Maybe all those supporters of Mitt Romney, who merely strapped his dog to the top of his station wagon, had a point after all.