From John Heilemann at New York Magazine:
Is McCain attacking Obama and toeing the GOP line out of principle? Or for revenge against the man who beat him?
The Senate debate over health-care reform had just begun when John McCain took to the well of the upper chamber and offered his party’s first proposed amendment: to strip the Democratic bill of its proposed $487 billion in Medicare reductions. “All of these are cuts in the obligations that we have assumed and are the rightful benefits that people have earned,” McCain intoned. “I will eagerly look forward to hearing from the authors of this legislation as to how they can possibly achieve half a trillion dollars in cuts without impacting existing Medicare programs negatively and eventually lead[ing] to rationing of health care in this country.”
For anyone who followed the 2008 presidential campaign in any detail, the McCain amendment surely caused a double take so severe that it induced a case of whiplash. A little more than a year ago, please recall, the Republican nominee was pushing a health-care plan that revolved around giving tax credits to voters to help them buy insurance, all the while pledging that the scheme would be budget-neutral. And just how did he propose to pull that off? Glad you asked. By offsetting the cost of the tax credits with $1.3 trillion in cuts over ten years to—wait for it—Medicare and Medicaid.
And now, kids, we finally know why he’s called Captain Underpants!