What would have happened if McCain had voted “no” last night?
I think he would have had a very winning issue, declaring that while he felt the goal of the legislation was necessary, he could not, in good conscience, support the manner in which Congress was doing this. Emergency legislation cannot include incentives “for opening new restaurants” and “doing business in the District of Columbia.” Provisions to promote wind, solar energy, plug-in electric cars — they’re completely separate issues from whether or not to sign off on the Paulson plan.
McCain’s signature issue is earmarks. I realize this was a matter of attaching the bailout/rescue to a preexisting bill, but this is the sort of thing that McCain is supposed to be the Terminator of — money set aside for “Wooden Arrows designed for use by children”, “Mine Safety Equipment”, “wool research,” etc.
By voting “no,” McCain could have set up the remainder of the election on this issue – that even when the economy is at stake, Congress can’t resist the urge to stuff a bill full of irrelevant crap that wastes taxpayer dollars. He could have hit Obama, Dodd, Reid, Pelosi, Senate Republicans who didn’t demand better, the culture of Washington, Bush for signing off on it, etc. …