03 October 2008

The Maverick and the Bailout

So we know that the “rescue plan” passed the Senate 74-25. This is after the bailout was rewritten to include $100 billion worth of earmarks. Senator McCain voted for the bill; we can assume that Senator McCain reviewed the bill prior to voting for it. The morning after he voted his support for the pork-laden bailout, McCain hit the media to. . . complain about pork:

In an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Thursday, McCain said the extra sweeteners added to the financial bailout bill that passed Wednesday night in the Senate are "just the way the system is working in Washington, and the reason why it's got to be fixed and it's got to be changed" (AP).

Did he speak out against the pork prior to voting for the bill? No. He declined the opportunity to speak on the Senator floor before it went to the vote, even though he claims that "this bill is putting us on the brink of disaster" (AP). This seems, at best, an attempt to have it both ways.

The Washington Times concurs. This morning’s Times editorial recalls McCain’s refrain that, as president, he would veto bills containing earmarks, and that he would “name and shame” pork-loving politicians, and asserts:

Judging from his performance on the bailout bill, he can start the process by looking in the mirror. The bill Mr. McCain voted for on Wednesday is laden with the very special-interest provisions that he rails against. [. . . .] So, yesterday, television viewers were treated to the bizarre spectacle of Mr. McCain denouncing the very bill he voted for the previous night. "It's insanity, and it's obscenity because it's a waste of taxpayers' dollars, and it goes on," Mr. McCain said.

And he then went on to complain about how the problem has grown, how Americans need a president who will veto such bills and how different he is from President Bush when it comes to fighting such spending. Mr. McCain asserts that he had to back the bill to prevent the economy from collapsing - a questionable assertion in view of the fact that the bill he voted for contains none of the reforms, like cutting corporate and capital-gains taxes, that could actually help put American businesses and the economy on a sound footing. Mr. McCain cannot have it both ways.

I don’t often agree with the Times, but they’ve nailed McCain here. Unfortunately, this only maintains the recent portrayal of McCain as “erratic.” Moreover, it’s another chip in the “straight-talking maverick” image: he objected to it but went along with it. This is a “maverick"?

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