WASHINGTON -- John McCain has acknowledged that he doesn't know as much about economics as he would like, but what's his issue with astronomy?
During a debate last fall, McCain picked out an earmark backed by then-Senator Barack Obama to renovate a planetarium theatre in his state, mocking it as "$3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?"
Today, of the more than 8,000 earmarks in an omnibus bill making its way through Congress, McCain settled his considerable talents of ridicule on another project devoted to the study of space and celestial bodies: an earmark for a program at the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, pushed by Senator Daniel Inouye, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
“During these very challenging economic times facing all of our citizens, someone needs to explain why we should be funding projects such as $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa and $2 million for the promotion of astronomy in Hawaii," McCain said in a statement encouraging Obama to veto the bill.
McCain's distaste for zoological scholarship in Iowa predates his apparent skepticism of astronomical study: he last long ridiculed an earmark he described as "$50 million for an indoor rain forest in Iowa."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.