Sen. John McCain, a leading opponent of earmarking, today praised President Bush for his plan to issue an executive order cracking down on pork-barrel spending. During a conference call with bloggers, McCain said he was rejoicing at the thought of angry appropriators in Congress.

“Thank God he’s doing it,” McCain said of Bush. “I don’t have to tell you about the billions in these committee reports. … The president redeemed himself to a great degree in my eyes by what he’s going to say tonight [in the State of the Union]. And what will be fascinating will be to see how the appropriators react. It’s something I’ve been waiting for for years. And please don’t think I’m small-minded about this, but I rejoice.”

McCain acknowledged that appropriators would try to find ways around Bush’s maneuver. “What’s their reason for existence? If they couldn’t pork-barrel and earmark, it would be rubber stamps for the authorizing committees.”

Despite criticism by conservative bloggers and taxpayer watchdogs that Bush’s executive order doesn’t go far enough, McCain suspected it would be welcomed by Americans who are fed up with how business is done in Washington.

“I think what you’re going to see is an overwhelming groundswell of support for the president on this,” McCain said, “and that will make it a lot harder for [appropriators] to find ways around it.”