In a profile of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as one of “America's 10 Best Senators,” Time magazine credited McCain for spending “his entire Senate career exposing wasteful pork-barrel projects,” and praised him for using his “backwater committee, Indian affairs,” to “launch an investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.” But Time neglected to mention a recent McCain proposal for $10 million in federal money for the University of Arizona law school, as well as reports that McCain shielded Republican colleagues from his committee investigation.
In an April 24 profile of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as one of “America's 10 Best Senators,” Time magazine credited McCain for spending “his entire Senate career exposing wasteful pork-barrel projects,” and described him as “a waste and fraud hunter.” Time also praised McCain for taking “his backwater committee, Indian affairs, and us[ing] it to launch an investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.”
In burnishing McCain's oft-invoked reputation as a “pork-buster” or lobbying reformer, Time apparently ignored a recent bill McCain proposed calling for $10 million in federal money to establish a center at the University of Arizona law school as a tribute to the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, which has been derided by critics as “a classic case of lawmakers' trying to funnel money directly to a home-state institution for a project that should find financing elsewhere.” Also, Time neglected to mention that McCain, as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, reportedly shielded his Republican colleagues Sens. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and David Vitter (R-LA) from the committee's investigation into Abramoff's influence-peddling schemes on Capitol Hill.
From Time's profile of McCain:
Many of the problems McCain tackles are entrenched and unexciting: they challenge the rules in Washington and the cynicism of voters at home. Over the past decade, McCain forced through a reform that made the money coming in from rich interest groups and directed at political advertisements more transparent. He has spent his entire Senate career exposing wasteful pork-barrel projects. And in the past year, he took his backwater committee, Indian affairs, and used it to launch an investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose admission in federal court that he conspired to bribe public officials produced a series of efforts to ban certain kinds of influence peddling.
Opinion writers have been perplexed at the preprimary turnaround, but the two-year walk-up to 2008 won't just consist of courting the party's die-hards. McCain is scheduled to assume the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee next January, a target-rich environment for a waste and fraud hunter. He is already stumping against gerrymandering, which he says is undemocratic. “It's harder to keep your job in the politburo in Havana than in the House of Representatives,” McCain says.
And if he wins in 2008? Among the first items on his agenda in 2009, McCain says, is winning the battle that George W. Bush just lost -- fixing Social Security and other underfunded entitlements. Crucial to that effort, he says, is getting Congress to clean house. “If you've got $47 billion in earmarks and 6,140 pork-barrel projects on the highway bill, how can you expect the American people to make tough decisions about entitlement programs?” he asks.