I wonder if the people who called out Obama for having connections to incompetent ex-terrorist Bill Ayers and angry Jeremiah Wright–I’m looking at John Kass and Neil “Dissent is Treason”* Steinberg in particular–will be all over the news that John McCain’s chief political strategist, Charlie Black, has a long history of lobbying for terrorists and dictators? Sure, Obama’s main man David Axelrod works for Daley, but Daley is an awfully mild tyrant compared to Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko, and others on Black’s bloody client list. I’d much rather Daley stick a museum in Grant Park than, like, 80,000 land mines.

This seems like it would interfere with Steinberg’s appraisal of McCain as “a genuine war hero with the courage of his convictions. . . . the one man on the Republican bench who stands a chance of becoming a president we could all be proud of.” Now, most of the people I am proud of would run screaming from a person who openly defended Angolan terrorist Jonas Savimbi, mostly because he was paid handsomely to. McCain is throwing lobbyists under the Straight Talk Express left and right–including the one he chose to run the Republican convention this fall, after it came out that he’d lobbied for the Burmese dictatorship that’s been denying aid to victims of the cyclone–but Black is still safe.

Now, if I was the kind of person to worry about who a politician associates with, I’d be extra-special concerned about a politician who hired, as his most important employee, a hack who took blood money to say nice things about dictators and terrorists so that our elected officials would give our money to them.

Perhaps Kass and Steinberg will read about Charlie Black and be terribly, terribly horrified at McCain’s lack of judgment or morals or sense and sit silently at their desks fretting about what his association with–I mean, well-compensated and ongoing employment of–Charlie Black says about McCain.

Or, you know, they’ll dismiss it as wimpy liberal liberaling or something. Stranger things have happened. I long ago locked my optimism about anything political away in a tiny box so it wouldn’t spoil, and I only bring it out for family and close friends. More on Black here, here, here, and here.

Also worth noting that, more recently, Black’s outfit lobbied for Ahmed Chalabi and ran an Iraq war good-news propaganda mill for the Pentagon, assigned to plant stories in the Iraqi press about how swell things were going in the three-way civil war circa 2005. Need “straight talk”? Buy it from Charlie Black.

* For the record, I’m still stunned that the Sun-Times let Steinberg basically call Jeremiah Wright a traitor (“near-treasonous” is a sorry cop-out). Treason is an actual crime defined by actual laws and punishable by actual death, and it’s one of the worst charges you can possibly level at a person. And to do so because someone made a public, and not unusually radical, foreign policy critique is just bizarre. If everyone who said overwrought shit about our country and how it sucks was a traitor, most of us would be in jail.

Treason was defined more narrowly in America than in England because we wanted people to be able to say stuff like that without feeling obliged to behead them. Why does Neil Steinberg hate America?