Where Was McCain?

A couple of Republican defectors on the stimulus bill, all of which are up for re-election this year (Grassley, for one).

Anyway, here’s the scoop:

The fate of $600-$1,200 rebate checks for more than 100 million Americans is in limbo after Senate Democrats failed Wednesday to add $44 billion in help for the elderly, disabled veterans, the unemployed and big business to the House-passed economic aid package.

Republicans banded together to block the $205 billion plan from advancing Wednesday, leaving Democrats with a difficult choice either to quickly accept a House bill they have said is inadequate or risk being blamed for delaying a measure designed as a swift shot in the arm for the lagging economy.

The tally was 58-41 to end debate on the Senate measure, just short of the 60 votes Democrats would have needed to scale procedural hurdles and move the bill to a final vote.

Now, don’t get your hopes up that Republicans voted for fiscal responsibility, because they didn’t. If that were the case, this bill wouldn’t even be up there. No, they voted against the bill because it added a lot of pork spending that Bush promised to veto.

Personally, I’m undecided on whether the entire thing is a good idea. On the one hand, it’s going to put money in people’s hands who will then go out and spend it, which will be good for the economy. On the other hand, they won’t spend it on “luxury” items (meaning, any non-necessary items), they’ll more than likely use it to pay down some debt or pay some bills, which won’t do a whole lot for the economy. Plus, there’s the added debt to the country. At a time when Republicans should really be watching the nation’s checkbook (the main reason they lost in ’06), they really should be standing firm about adding more red ink to it, regardless of what they hope it will accomplish.

In any case, Michelle points out one important vote that didn’t get counted in the Senate: John McCain’s. The reason? He was just “too busy” to go in to work that day.

Call me a cynic, but I don’t think he was too busy to make the vote. In my opinion, he knew this was a political bombshell no matter how he voted, so he decided to skip it.

Think about it. He’s supposedly led the charge against pork spending, and this is about as porked-up as you get. If he votes for it, then he pisses off the conservative base that he’s been trying to woo of late, and it exposes him to charges of hypocrisy, and rightfully so.

On the other hand, if he votes against it to try and appease those same conservatives, he hands the eventual Democrat nominee an important issue to beat him over the head with all the way until November. If you doubt that, just take a look around the media and see how they are reporting this. That’s the spin you will see on this from now until election day.

No, I don’t think McCain missed the vote because of meetings or a hectic campaign schedule, I think he missed the vote because he HAD to, or it would have damaged his bid for the presidency. If he showed up in the Senate to cast a vote then, no matter how he voted, Romney would beat him with it like a rented mule. As it is, Romney will be mentioning how McCain couldn’t be bothered to go vote on such an important issue, but it won’t have as much impact as being able to pin him down on HOW he voted.

Brian runs the blog “Liberty Pundit“. Drop in and say “hi”.

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