Last night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) voted in favor of the $700 billion financial bailout bill, saying we “square in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes” and that he was “pleased” to be voting for the bill. McCain also told NPR he was “guardedly optimistic” the House would support the new version, which was packed with “sweeteners” aimed to bring House conservatives on board, as TP noted yesterday.
Though those “sweeteners” angered the MSNBC pundits this morning, McCain was hardly bothered, never mentioning them yesterday or during today’s cable news interviews. But when Joe Scarborough asked McCain about the pork projects, McCain flipped back to his standard anti-pork crusade, going so far as to suggest that that President Bush should veto the bill, “no matter what the stakes are:”
SCARBOROUGH: Why did these items have to be in this critical bill?
MCCAIN: Well that’s 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. And no matter what the stakes are, you’ve got to stop this by starting to veto bills that come across the president’s desk. … It’s insanity and it’s obscenity, because it’s a waste of taxpayers’ dollars and it goes on, and until we stop it, until we get frankly a president who will say, I’m gonna veto these bills, I’m gonna make the people famous that put them on there, uh, famous.
Despite McCain’s constant railing against “pork barrel spending,” his actual voting record rarely matches his fiery rhetoric. He has scheduled many campaign events at venues that benefited from earmarked funding. When confronted with the realities of projects earmarks support — such as aid to Israel, military housing, and cancer treatment clinics, he has backtracked from his anti-pork crusade, saying it’s just “the process” he opposes. Even while criticizing the earmarks in an Iraq war funding bill, McCain still voted for it.
If a President McCain would veto the bill because of pork, why was the bill good enough to earn Senator McCain’s vote?