“Can you believe they are putting $6 million of pork into Homeland Security?” he asks with his trademark clenched-fists. “They promised they wouldn’t do that. Ben Nelson [the Democratic senator from Nebraska] just inserted a $200,000 museum in Omaha into the legislative branch appropriations bill. These earmarks are a creeping disease. First members condemn them, then they condone, then they embrace them.” Then Mr. McCain adds, “Eight or nine Republican appropriators routinely vote for this pork.” Shaking his head he says, “It’s killing our party.”
Bailouts and Stimulus:
He says he has worked to keep his relations with President Barack Obama “cordial,” but he pulls no punches criticizing the president’s economic policies. “Never. Never have I seen such a transfer from the private enterprise system to the government of such massive scale,” he says. He goes through the list: car companies, banks, insurance firms owned by government, and he especially grimaces when he mentions the $787 billion stimulus package.
Not much has improved because of the stimulus. Mr. McCain scoffs, “And now, the answer is, according to the Obama economists, we didn’t spend enough.”.....
Asked about the deficits, his response is blunt. “I think it’s the biggest problem we’ve ever faced.”
Ever? “Yep,” he replies. “The only time where we amassed greater debt was during World War II, and that was temporary spending. We won the world war and then cut back. But now . . . the spending is permanent.”
His campaign and Sarah Palin:
If the market crash was the low point, I ask him for his best memory from the campaign. “The high point, I think, was the convention, the selection of Sarah Palin, and the enthusiasm that was generated all over the country.” His fondness for Mrs. Palin and her family strikes me as from the heart; he believes she was a net asset for the ticket.
“Let’s face it,” he says, “she galvanized our base in a way that I couldn’t. Everywhere she went she drew enormous and enthusiastic crowds like a rock star.” He says his only regret in selecting the Alaska governor was that no one on the campaign predicted the ferocity of the assaults against her. “To the liberal left, particularly the feminists, she is their worst nightmare.”