McCain and the stimulus

MCCAIN AND THE STIMULUS…. The lead story on MSNBC’s site right now reports, in a rather large, bold font: “McCain: Won’t vote for stimulus as it stands.”

Sen. John McCain says it will take some big changes before he would vote for the Obama administration’s stimulus package.

The Arizona Republican, who calls himself a member of the loyal opposition, says he can’t vote for the proposal as it is now written. For one, he doesn’t think it would do enough to put people back to work.

The former GOP president nominee also says he will push to make permanent the Bush tax cuts, which helped high-earning people. Those cuts expire next year, and President Barack Obama has said he would not seek to renew them.

McCain spoke on “Fox News Sunday.”

Now, I suppose McCain’s intended vote is of some interest, in light of his recent run as the Republican presidential candidate. For that matter, Obama and his team have done some outreach to McCain of late, perhaps hoping to see some of the McCain circa Spring 2001 — the persona that voted against the Bush tax cuts he now wants to make permanent.

But let’s not put too much emphasis on McCain’s perspective. The news, apparently, can by summarized this way: “Conservative Republican still embraces conservative Republican economic agenda.” It’s not exactly a stop-the-presses revelation. Of course McCain opposes an economic stimulus — he thinks the economy is “fundamentally strong.” He just spent six months telling 300 million people about his ideas on how to improve the economy, and investment in infrastructure, healthcare, schools, and energy is pretty much the opposite of McCain’s worldview.

It would, in other words, be a far more significant story if McCain had said anything else this morning.

But with all due respect to the senator, he’s one conservative voice in a 41-seat caucus. McCain won’t sway any Democratic votes, and his influence in the Republican caucus is limited. Obama would no doubt like his vote on an economic rescue plan, but McCain’s comments this morning don’t really affect the landscape much.

Update: McCain, in the same interview, also apparently explained his opposition to a plan to expand internet access to rural communities. During his presidential bid, McCain held the opposite position.