McCain on the Plane

06/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When the Senate is about to vote on a provision affecting the oil companies, John McCain has a certain favorite place he loves to be: his wife's private jet.

McCain has been "on the plane" for vote after vote that would have shifted billions in taxpayer subsidies from oil companies towards the clean energy and efficiency technologies that could free us from the grip of $4 a gallon gas and a climate in crisis.

Check out what Sierra Club president Carl Pope's account of one of McCain's many missed votes.

"McCain lands at Dulles last Wednesday. He has time to get to the Senate to vote on cloture on the expanded economic-stimulus package, which includes clean-energy incentives. But he doesn't show up, musing on the plane as it landed that ''I haven't had a chance to talk about it at all, have not had the opportunity to, even... We've just been too busy, focused on other stuff. I don't know if I'm doing that. We've got a couple of meetings scheduled.'' (For the record, fellow candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did find time to make up their minds).

McCain doesn't vote. The expanded stimulus package gets 59 votes, one short of what is needed for it to proceed to the Senate Floor. The next day a stripped-down version of the stimulus bill, minus clean energy, is brought to a vote. McCain votes for it; the bill passes."

Now, McCain has taken seeking refuge in the cushy confines of the private jet to a new level by saying in advance that he won't attend next week's vote on Lieberman-Warner climate legislation, which, even though it would give polluters major windfall profits and fall short of what scientists say is needed to tackle the climate crisis, is opposed by the oil companies, which means McCain will stay on his plane.

McCain's announcement was also occasion for him to (hat tip to Bill Scher) flip his position on the legislation, which he had supported as recently as three weeks ago. It seems like the oil companies have had three weeks to get McCain into their oozy grasp and squeeze him till he runs for cover on the plane.