First, John McCain says he’ll veto any bill that contains earmarks. Second, ThinkProgress notes that American aid to Israel is handled through earmarks and wonders if McCain plans on cutting that. McCain’s campaign responds, of course, that aid to Israel will keep flowing.
And right there you have a great example of the vacuity of McCain’s budget proposals. It’s easy to propose sweeping budget cuts in the abstract. But then when you start looking at it, it turns out that behind every large spending commitment there’s a politically powerful constituency. And so McCain, having initially declined to promise specific spending cuts, preferring instead to propose vague general ones, winds up being asked about something specific and of course he doesn’t want to cut that! But you can’t start with a large deficit, add large new tax cuts, pile on a big increase in defense spending, and then make the math add up purely by cutting the most clearly absurd small-bore items.