February 7, 2008

McCain Wimps Out - Except That He Really Didn't

Hatched by Dafydd

I suspect the newsmeisters will have you believe that John McCain made a terrible miscalculation by not showing up to vote one way or the other on the Senate Democrats' "compromise" stimulus package; after all, that's the Hillary Clinton spin, and by now, we all know the provenance of the benightly news:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain skipped a difficult Senate vote Wednesday on whether to make 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans eligible for rebate checks as part of a proposed economic stimulus package.

The Arizona senator's decision to miss the vote appeared to come at the last minute, after his plane had landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington just before the proceedings opened on the Senate floor.

But let me say this about that: I applaud McCain's absence; it makes me more, not less, confident that he can whup the Democrats.

The whole charade had one purpose in mind: To trap McCain and other Republicans into supporting the Democrats' budget-busting, non-stimulatory add-ons to the stimulus package. Their position is as it has always been... What's that? a crisis? Say, let's take advantage to cram our unpopular hidden agenda down everybody's throat! The Democrats are indeed the political profiteering party.

Reread the above description of the vote -- "whether to make 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans eligible for rebate checks" -- and compare it to the more, er, honest description a few grafs later in the same story:

Whichever way McCain may have voted, it would have been a difficult choice given his status as the Republican presidential front-runner.

Senate Democrats cleverly bundled the rebates for seniors and veterans, key voting blocs, with expanded unemployment benefits and home heating subsidies for the jobless and poor.

President Bush and Republican leaders, as well as conservatives McCain was scheduled to woo on Thursday, vehemently oppose the expanded benefits and subsidies.

That put McCain in a bad political spot.

Note that home heating subsidies have nothing whatsoever to do with stimulating the economy. And even more risibly, expanding unemployment benefits actually cuts against an economic resurgence, because it allows layabouts to loaf another six months before actually having to go out and get a job.

But when the Republicans defeated this poison-pill proposal (denying the Democrats the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster -- the de facto requirement set by the Democrats in the 108th Congress for moving any legislation -- look how the usual suspects portrayed them:

"By failing to stand up as the deciding vote, John McCain let our families down," said Clinton aide Phil Singer. "Tonight's events prove once again that we need a president who will be ready from Day One to act in the interests of middle-class families and turn our ailing economy around."

(Despite the fact that, as any economist will admit, the Democrats' proposal was not in the interests of "middle-class families," and would not have helped in any conceivable way to "turn our ailing economy around." But, you know, image is everything.)

So why do I cheer McCain for missing this "critical" vote? Because he quickly saw the trap -- and neatly sidestepped it. This declaws the Democratic pit-yorkies: "You cast an indefensible and heartless vote against the poorest Americans!" is a much more powerful attack than "You missed a vote." ("Sorry, dude, I was stuck at the airport.") Thus, McCain walks the line between conservative and moderate and avoids being drawn into a no-win mud-wrestling contest with a herd of -- Democrats.

That's actually pretty diplomatic, if you ask me. (And actually, by reading this site, you did indeed "ask me," didn't you? Let that be a lesson to you.)

If a president in waiting can't even sidestep an obvious badger trap set by that master of subtlety, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 90%), how could anyone imagine he would be able to avoid the various pitfalls (and pratfalls) set for him by Vladimir Putin, Oogo Chavez, and José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero? Let alone Fouad Siniora, King Abdullah, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And in any event, I just love the image of the reedy majority leader crying "Curses, foiled again!" Then perhaps, like Rumplestiltskin (to whom he bears uncanny resemblance), Reid will stamp his foot so hard, it will open a crack in the Earth that will swallow him whole.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 7, 2008, at the time of 3:36 AM

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» Follow-Up On the Non-Wimpy GOP from Big Lizards
We mentioned earlier today, in McCain Wimps Out - Except That He Really Didn't, that the Democrats had recklessly linked two completely different and diametrically opposed approaches in their putative "compromise" Senate economic-stimulus bill: Extendi... [Read More]

Tracked on February 7, 2008 2:42 PM


The following hissed in response by: AMR

I, being retired and a veteran, honestly do not want the stimulus package tax rebate with more national debit for my grandchildren to pay. This is also the latest class warfare example where those that pay the most taxes make too much to receive the rebate and those who are exempt from taxes do. What’s wrong with this picture?

The above hissed in response by: AMR [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2008 6:23 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/07/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2008 10:29 AM

The following hissed in response by: John Anderson

Um, no mention of the many sessions skipped by HillBilly or O,-Bah,-Ma?

I am not exactly a fan of McCain(`s Relish) - but this outright bias is damaging to all.

The above hissed in response by: John Anderson [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2008 12:14 PM

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