Not content to take voters at their word, McCain tells us why we really voted against republicans by wide margins -- runaway spending.
Republicans spent their way into losing control of Congress, presidential candidate John McCain says.
"The reason why we lost that election, my dear friends, was because we let spending get out of control," McCain told a breakfast crowd Saturday. "We came to power in 1994 to change government and government changed us."
Spending has been bad -- really bad, in fact -- and I'm sure that it had something to do with the GOP rout. But to say that it was the reason is more than a little dishonest. It didn't even rate in exit polling. And here's a secret that John McCain may not know -- voters tend to know why they're voting. So if you ask them and they tell you, you should probably believe them.
McCain has good reason to try to make spending the issue. It's probably the easiest for a president to fix, since it's the president who submits the budget. But McCain has his own spending problem -- he's addicted to military spending. He'll throw money down a rathole as long as said rathole has some guy in a uniform standing next to it.
Take his current position on the Iraq war. It's McCain who's been the biggest exponent of the troop surge, suggesting it long before Bush adopted it. In fact, critics are calling it the 'McCain Doctrine.' Not only hasn't he voted against any spending bill for the war, but he's been proposing increasing spending with his troop surge plan for quite some time.
But probably the worst example of McCain's free spending ways is his continued support for ballistic missile defense, otherwise known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or 'Star Wars.' The problem with missile defense is that it doesn't work and is really expensive. In fact, insanely expensive for something that doesn't really do a damned thing.
You don't need to consider just the cost of the system itself, but also the cost of blowing up -- or mostly failing to blow up -- test missiles. Each test of these systems runs about $100 million. For a system that's consistently failed.
Of course, the purpose of the missile defense project isn't to actually stop any missiles. No, the purpose is to funnel cash to defense contractors. In fact, this is something I've dealt with before (The Only Purpose of Missile Defense is to Waste Money, 12/3/06). In that post, I quoted the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation:
One of the problems with all missile defense concepts tested since the 1950's is that Pentagon scientists have never been able to overcome decoys and countermeasures that an attacking country may deploy. While the Pentagon had planned to test the current system with up to 10 decoys, the tests conducted thus far have included only three decoys that were designed to be easy to avoid.
According to a September 1999 National Intelligence Estimate, any country that could develop long-range ballistic missiles can either develop or acquire decoys and countermeasures. Furthermore, the report said, China and Russia already possess the technology for such countermeasures, and may be willing to sell the technology to interested states.
Thus the Bush Administration is intent on deploying a system that cannot cope with the most likely missile attack, should it come.
The Bush administration isn't ignorant of this fact -- and neither is John McCain. Since Reagan jotted his little 'Star Wars' notion on the back of a napkin, we've dumped $95 billion down the missile defense rathole. And we have absolutely nothing to show for it. It still doesn't work. But it doesn't matter if it works -- it's designed to be expensive, not effective.
So John McCain can go on and on about how terrible the spending under Bush and his GOP congress has been, but he's not going to be able to hide his own record in this regard.
By shoveling money into a failed war and missile defense, John McCain has his own spending addiction to deal with.
Technorati tags: politics; war; elections; 2008; Bush; John McCain criticizes congress for overspending, while shoveling money into missile defense and Iraq