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John McCain, Senate absentee extraordinaire, touts need for special session

August 4, 2008 |  2:27 pm

As part of parrying Barack Obama's spotlight on energy policy today, John McCain invited his fellow senator to join him in taking leave from the presidential campaign trail to return to Washington forthwith and, with other lawmakers, grapple with the nation's energy problems.

Odds are heavily against it happening -- the Democrats who control Capitol Hill are unlikely to cancel the annual congressional summer break to convene the special session that McCain (and other Republicans, quite theatrically) are pushing for.

But if it were to happen, the break from the road to concentrate on their obligations as lawmakers would be even more unusual for McCain than Obama.

As Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada recently was only too happy to note, McCain has become an absentee legislator -- he cast his last vote on the Senate floor on April 8.

Obama also has been otherwise occupied and during the current session of Congress missed far more roll calls than he's made. He did, however, make a point of casting a couple of Senate votes last month -- including one in favor of a compromise bill on domestic wiretapping. What he earned for his troubles was a nasty note from progressives, for whom the measure was anathema.

-- Don Frederick