John McCain hasn’t exactly demonstrated a desire to lead the GOP after his loss to Barack Obama in November.  Indeed, he has shown more interest in scolding Republicans for their opposition to Obama and demanded that the party cooperate with Obama’s new policies and appointees, even where serious ethical questions exist.  That makes his sudden opposition to Obama’s stimulus plan rather surprising:

President Barack Obama dispatched his top economic adviser and vice president Sunday to relentlessly press their sales pitch for an $825 billion stimulus package to halt the U.S. economic slide, as the plan came under more fire from Republican leaders.

Sen. John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the November presidential contest, said he did not believe the stimulus package did enough to create jobs.

“There have to be major rewrites if we want to stimulate the economy… . As it stands now I can’t vote for it,” McCain said on Fox television.

He also continued a theme from his campaign, declaring that the former Bush administration tax cuts, that were particularly beneficial to high-earning Americans, should be made permanent. The measure expires next year and Obama has said he will not seek their renewal.

I’m stunned.  Not because McCain’s wrong — he’s at least leaning towards the right policy here — but because he’s actually offering some opposition to Obama, and on economics to boot.  Had McCain been able to articulate the problems of government-stimulus spending during the election, McCain might have been able to make the race a little closer.

Of course, McCain isn’t opposing government-stimulus spending in general.  He’s opposing this particular plan, which means that McCain will support massive government spending as long as it creates jobs more quickly than 2011, which is when the CBO foresees most of the impact arriving.  If the Democrats shift some of the spending towards 2009-10 and can demonstrate some actual job creation out of it, McCain presumably will be back on board.

Nancy Pelosi has a suggestion:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she could envision more money for the financial sector so long as the government, on behalf of taxpayers, takes an ownership stake in banks that receive the money. She mentioned no dollar figure.

She refused to use the term “nationalization” when referring to additional rescue dollars.

Well, we mustn’t use accurate language when discussing the Obama/Reid/Pelosi plan to change the American private markets into government programs.  That would be partisan, and we can’t have that.