McCain Campaign "studying options for national service."--

Just over a week ago, Ben Adler reported that John McCain had not yet come up with a national service plan:

John McCain, who's predicated his presidential run in no small part on his distinguished military record, frequently exhorts Americans — and especially young Americans — to serve their country. Despite that appeal, he has yet to offer any proposals to expand or transform national service outside of the military. . . .

Although McCain joined most congressional Republicans in 1993 to oppose the creation of the Americorps program when President Bill Clinton proposed it, he later became a prominent supporter. He teamed with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) in 2001 to introduce legislation to expand service programs, and again worked with Bayh and other Democrats to convince President Bush not to cut funding for the program in 2003.

"John McCain has constantly spoken to the need for young Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest," said McCain spokesman Joseph Pounder. "McCain's campaign is all about a cause greater than yourself," echoed Jessica Colon, chairwoman of the Young Republican National Federation.

But the McCain campaign will not commit to releasing a plan for expanding service opportunities. A senior policy adviser said only that they are "studying options for national service." When asked why he does not have a service proposal, Pounder would only say that McCain is proud of his past support for service programs and has exhorted audiences to serve in this campaign.

The leading Democratic candidates all released service plans last year, and Mike Huckabee frequently articulated a general intention to increase national service opportunities.

Others running in the Republican primary, including McCain, said little about service programs, which some members of the Republican base consider unnecessary spending that interferes with more effective private sector efforts.

When Time magazine last month asked both candidates to contribute an essay on patriotism, McCain wrote on the obligations of the citizen and gave pride of place to "the communal spaces where government is absent, anywhere Americans come together to govern their lives and their communities — in families, churches, synagogues, museums, symphonies, the Little League, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Salvation Army or the VFW. They are the habits and institutions that preserve democracy." While he later brought up military service, he made no mention of Americorps or any other national civilian service program.

Although Adler never criticizes McCain for not having a grand national service program like Obama's, reading between the lines of the article I suspect that Adler thinks that McCain ought to have one. Certainly, McCain needs to have a position, though the one McCain expressed in Time Magazine might just be the right one for him.