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June 23, 2008

Background on Cindy McCain's drug addiction

Harold Pollack argues that Democrats should refrain from trashing Cindy McCain for her history of drug addiction.

There's no shame in being a recovering addict--or an active user for that matter, provided your habit isn't hurting other people.  However, Cindy McCain chose to feed her addiction in particularly loathsome ways.

When you're as rich and well-connected as she is, there are ways to feed a prescription drug habit that don't involve pressuring your underlings to commit crimes on your behalf.

Cindy McCain stole drugs from a medical charity. It doesn't get much lower than that. Worse still, she used her employees' names to obtain drugs, and even enlisted some her her staff to pick up those prescriptions on her behalf. She also used the DEA numbers of multiple physicians who worked for the American Voluntary Medical Team to obtain drugs, often without the doctors' knowledge. (Cf. Laura Silverman's excellent reporting on the McCain drug scandal.)

Doctors can be bankrupted and even prosecuted for irregular prescribing patterns. So, McCain was risking the futures of multiple families when she ordered hundreds of pain pills on the sly. One of the doctors who worked with McCain at AVMT lost his license to practice medicine over the diversion scandal.

Cindy McCain's self-indulgence ruined lives. She has publicly apologized for taking the drugs without permission, but I'm not aware of any apologies for pressuring her employees to risk their futures to feed her addiction.

Ironically, part of her diversion from criminal prosecution involved joining Narcotics Anonymous--which stipulates that an addict must make amends to those she has harmed. That's not a step Cindy appears to have taken to heart in her dealings with her former emplyee, Tom Gosinski, the main whistleblower in this case.

Gosinski alleges that Cindy fired him from AVMT for knowing too much about her drug habit.  Gosinski also tipped off the DEA to McCain after he left the charity. He came forward in part because he was afraid that Cindy had filed prescriptions in his name, a suspicion that turned out to be justified.

When he sued Cindy for wrongful dismissal, she levied spurious accusations of blackmail against him.

Cindy McCain let Gosinski go in January 1993, ostensibly because AVMT couldn't afford to pay him. Gosinski alleges that she fired him because he knew too much about her drug addiction and her penchant for pilfering pills from the charity. Gosinski filed a wrongful dismissal suit against McCain in January 1994, just ahead of the 1-year statute of limitations.

The entire basis of the extortion complaint was a letter from Goskinski's lawyers asking for a $250,000 settlement. McCain and her spokesman lied to the press when they claimed that Gosinski threatened to take the case to the DEA if he didn't get the settlement. In fact, he went to the DEA months before he filed the lawsuit.

Frankly, the character of a First Spouse is rock-bottom on my list of desiderata for a presidential candidate.

As Harold says, we should abide by the norms of our moral universe, if we decide to bring up Cindy McCain's history of addiction. I would argue that our morality requires us to call out double standards where we see them. The mere possibility that Michelle Obama uttered the word "whitey" was enough to send the whole country into a tizzy for several days. Yet, nobody seems to care about the fact that Cindy McCain enlisted her employees to help her steal Vicodin from her own charity.

This whole episode underscores the rock bottom Republican truth: There are two sets of rules. One for the rich and powerful and one for everyone else. 

 

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Comments

Oh my god you people are really dense. You'd vote for a drug addict, a thief, a whore! Michelle Obama doesn't have a drug problem and you white supremacists hate for being a genuine upstanding person. Oh no race has nothing to do with it. We are color blind!!! You people are growing more and more disgusting.
Yes, there is a problem with being in recovery (though she's not)because that is another white supremacist institution exploiting attendees vulnerabilities. IF THIS WAS MICHELLE OBAMA YOU CREATURES WOULD WRITE SUCH NEGATIVE COMMENTS IT'D MAKE THE DEVIL HERSELF BLUSH!

Lindsay Beyerstein is hot. show ur b00bs.

Is this any bigger a deal than our current first lady Laura Bush who, at the age of 18, ran a stop sign and plowed into another vehicle killing a man? No chargers were filed; some say he was her former boyfriend. (Don't forget all of W's police records in the state of Texas have also been "lost" by the DMV.) If Laura Bush's story was not picked up by the media, don't expect this one to be covered. Having an heiress as a wife or a wife with a history is only a big deal if you are a Democrat (i.e. Keri's wife the Hunt heiress). Media tends to forgive and forget Republican sins. And hey, cheers to Ted Stevens while we're at it.

Is this any bigger a deal than our current first lady Laura Bush who, at the age of 18, ran a stop sign and plowed into another vehicle killing a man? No chargers were filed; some say he was her former boyfriend. (Don't forget all of W's police records in the state of Texas have also been "lost" by the DMV.) If Laura Bush's story was not picked up by the media, don't expect this one to be covered. Having an heiress as a wife or a wife with a history is only a big deal if you are a Democrat (i.e. Keri's wife the Hunt heiress). Media tends to forgive and forget Republican sins. And hey, cheers to Ted Stevens while we're at it.

If the right wing 527 orginizations start punching on Michelle Obama below the belt........ well the left wing 527 on line ads will have to get get as tough and this little story here on Cindy's character should be front and center. not her addiction but how $$$ and political influence kept her out of jail!!

Simply amazed,
I am an Arizona voter who does remember. McCsin has done nothing commendable of note since his military days which is why his POW experience is constantly referred to. John has a bit of a hushed up rep for going after young girls here in AZ and Cindy throws her weight around here in AZ getting people fired or having professional licenses revoked if they don't do as she commands.

Uh.. what is "norms of our moral universe?" If a "moral universe" is different for each person, then why is there a norm? I don't understand, what's wrong with saying we all have the same moral set?

I understand that Cindy Mccain had drug adiction issues and had to by court order join NA...My question would be...does Cindy Mccain consider herself to be cured?

I know a gentleman who used to work for Cindy McCain.
She claims that she got hooked after back surgery... this is false.


The woman had plastic surgery and later went around AZ looking for pity.

Steven King, if she worked the NA program, and didn't just sit in back and deny that she was, like the other people at the meetings, an addict, she would tell you that there are recovering addicts and alcoholics aplenty -- but no recovered ones. She would understand she can be clean and sober for the rest of her life, but will always be an addict.

I referenced this article in a blog post discussing Cindy's current NYT article.
http://chicagoinsider.us/

millionaire's club wrote:

.....Dear Majikthise:

It's just not polite to talk about how a cultured and important person like Cindy McCain might have ruined people's lives by using their DEA numbers to get pills. If we talked about it each time a plutocrat millionaire ruined the life of a few commoners, we'd be here all day. Millionaire's are better then commoners, if we ruin a few of there lives, thats our privilege. But to bring it up, as if Cindy was equal to a commoner or working professional, that's just way outside the bounds of civilized conversations, dear.

I wish you were more polite.....

.....I'm sorry, but this is the winner of the most ignorant comment I've read in quite some time. Never mind the fact that your grammar and spelling are sub par even if you were a 5th grader; but the comment is just ignorant...period. Commoners? Practice elitism much? Millions of dollars obviously doesn't buy common sense, nor does it buy intelligence. Hell, it's probably something that was posted by Mrs. Cindy McCain herself. Either way, she's an addict, displayed addictive tendencies, and got caught. Of course she's going to deny and then attack others. It's called projection, and denial. The sad thing is; she's still not working her program. No matter, it's not like she's going to be first lady anyways.


Could you provide supporting documentation on how Cindy McCain "ruined lives"? This statement does not appear to be accurate.

One of Cindy McCain's doctors/employees lost his license to practice medicine for his role in supplying drugs to McCain. She fired Gosinski because he knew too much and basically poisoned the well for him in Republican politics in Arizona.

Lindsay, I dont need to do much digging or research to realize you level of inexperience, ignorance and general lack of knowledge in the area in which you are speaking. First, to understand why Cindy did what she did you must first understand the state in which her brain was functioning. To her, keeping her prescription filled was a matter of survival just as eating and breathing are to you. I suggest you do a little research on how opioids re-configure your brain function.I am not saying what she did is ok, however she had not yet learned to either fight to stop her addiction or to live with it without invloving others as she did. Life is all about learning! At the end of the day, they are just pills, she is just human, and you are just ignorant. Find something of value to report on, or find another profession, the us of a spends more money on tabacco and alcohol each year then education, so go find a real story, stop being a hypocrite, and get out and explore the world in which you live. Thanks for your consideration.

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