Last night, the Senate passed the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008." That is the formal name of the "Bailout" package that Congress has been working on since last week.
If you read my blog, you will know that I am a partisan Democrat. I just need to say though that I am outraged at what happened last night. The bill was "sweetened" with more than $100 billion in tax cuts mostly for businesses and the middle class. In other words, "PORK!" Now, I am not opposed to tax cuts for the Middle Class and for small business. Neither is Barack Obama. But such things had no place in this bill! Let's get the economy working again and then talk about such things.
Have you heard of some of the things in the "sweetener?" Tax breaks for rum producers in Puerto-Rico and the Virgin Islands? It's in there! "Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children." That is actual language in the bill! Amazing!
But, here's the big picture. If John McCain was truly the "Maverick." If he truly wanted to "shake up Washington" and "take a pen to earmarks." If McCain truly wanted to cut spending, why did he vote "yes" for this bill?
I know we needed some kind of bill to get credit flowing again. And, I'm upset about the pork in this bill. But, wouldn't it have completely shaken up the campaign if last night McCain would have come into the well of the Senate and said something like this:
"My friends, I rise today to register my disapproval of the pork that is in this bill. At the time when our nation is suffering its worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, when the nation is looking to us for leadership, we want to pass a bill with $100 billion of extra spending. I have been campaigning all over the country and telling the nation that when I become president I am going to cut out the wasteful spending in Washington. Well, I'm starting right now by voting against this bill and its pork. And, I call on you Senator Obama to do the same!"
Now, I'm an Obama supporter. But, a speech like that would have been a game changer for McCain. It would have put Obama on the defensive and the press would have still been talking about it today. But McCain missed it. Once again, a sign that he is not what he says he is. McCain is not a Washington outsider (like he's been trying to tell everyone).
So, you take away McCain's "Maverick" persona, what do you have left? An angry old man with 20th century solutions to 21st century problems.