Does Republican presidential candidate John McCain have a hypocrisy problem? If you read the pages of Alabama newspapers last week, you saw the answer is yes.
On page B1 of Thursday's Birmingham News, we learn that McCain remains opposed to spending federal tax dollars to repair Vulcan, the statue that sits atop Red Mountain and is perhaps Birmingham's most famed landmark. So McCain is opposed to so-called pork spending on public facilities such as Vulcan.
But maybe public facilities wouldn't need so much federal support if well-heeled customers paid their fair share when using those facilities--customers like the John McCain for President Campaign.
On page A1 of that same day's paper, we learn that the McCain campaign received a cut rate for use of a public facility in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. The McCain campaign received a discount of about 80 percent for use of Rosewood Hall last week. Jefferson County Democrats used the same facility in September 2007 and were charged the full rate.
McCain's campaign was charged $250 for two rooms in the hall, which normally would book for $1,200 for a weeknight. The campaign also was provided free labor from Homewood City Jail inmates.
Homewood Mayor Barry McCulley clearly has stepped in some serious doo-doo with this one, but he continues to try to spin it so as to appear to be fair to all comers. So far, McCulley's efforts seem to be falling flat.
"I think it's outrageous," said Robert Yarbrough, chair of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and a Homewood resident. Members of the Homewood City Council also are questioning McCulley's handling of the matter.
But I'm more interested in what this says about McCain and his followers. On the one hand, McCain is opposed to spending federal dollars on public facilities. But he has no problem with stiffing a public facility.
Of course, McCain leads either Democratic presidential candidate by 20 percent in polls of Alabama voters. So why should he care if he screws Alabama cities out of much needed income?
As for McCulley, I understand he issued a statement today, saying that he would ask the McCain campaign to pay what should have been the regular rate. If the McCain campaign refuses, McCulley says he will reimburse the city himself.
Seems like an honorable thing for the mayor to do. Will be interesting to see how the McCainites respond.