So, what happens when a guy who's made his reputation in the Senate in part by pushing for stronger campaign finance regulations and speaking out against the influence of certain core constituencies of campaign donors tries to run for President...and needs campaign cash from the usual suspects? This New York Times assessment of Sen. John McCain's fundraising efforts indicates that the handicap is significant.
McCain has cultivated a reputation as a maverick willing to buck the will of big money, and he's also seen his own fundraising in the run-up to the Republican primary falter short of expectations. The McCain dilemma is summed up well here:
“He wants to be independent, to make decisions free from the influence of special interests — God bless him,” said Kim Bayliss, a Democratic telecommunications lobbyist. “But those are the people with money, and they are only going to give their money because you have been with them or you are going to be with them.”
Yet another indication of just how difficult it is to stick to both your principles and your ambitions for office in such a brutal fundraising climate.