John McCain hates pork and earmarks. The new financial rescue package passed by the Senate contains plenty of pork, some of it earmarked. Asked about this by Joe Scarborough, McCain says this illustrates how rotten the system is and how the President needs to threaten to veto pork-laden bills:
But surely McCain doesn’t actually think the president should veto this bill, right? After all, McCain himself voted for it and is urging the House to pass it. That’s because the bill is very important, so it needs to be passed even if there’s some crap associated with it. Which is how things work — you don’t attach your pork items to trivial pieces of legislation that people are happy to throw overboard, you attack them to the important bills that need to pass. McCain is fond of observing that you can’t vote “present” when you’re President of the United States. Which is true enough. But you also can’t cast churlish protest votes. A Senator is often in a position to vote against a bill just to make a point, sure that it’ll pass anyway. But a president can’t veto a bill just because it includes a tax break for manufacturers of toy wooden arrows — if it’s an important bill, he needs to sign it.