It's pretty obvious that Sarah Palin loves earmarks like...
Fuck, I think any good metaphor is technically sexist by McCain standards. She loves them like a gender-neutral and completely equal individual loves a non-gendered object which would be a common and comically fervent object of desire for said individual? Yeah, that rolls off the tongue.
Transparency and knowledge are the only antidote to the corruption that is bred by earmarks, the gateway to corruption.
McCain's also got his favorite earmark stories, at least two of which (the Bridge to Nowhere and the bear DNA study) are either directly relevant or analogous to Palin's time in Alaska. If earmarks are the breeders of corruption, you don't get credit for being a slightly smaller fetid swamp than the previous folks, especially when you've spent your career soaking up earmarks like a gender-nonspecific thing which soaks up an ungendered liquid which can in turn be soaked up.
Either earmarks are fundamentally corrupt and those who request and use them are destructive and venal parasites on society, or they aren't. But there's no "less parasitic" standard in McCain's world. However (and there's always a however), Palin has one out - goofy excuses!
Patterico excuses the millions of dollars she spent studying seal DNA because there were other earmark requests she made that were totally legitimate. Which, of course, is the problem with McCain's position. Dan Riehl decides that it's not a problem because Biden and Obama got more earmarks and were in a position to vote on them. Of course, neither of them being the anti-earmark zealots that McCain is, it's not actually much of a problem at all.
Essentially, Sarah Palin, the genderless earmark monarch of Alaska, is absolved of the massive corruption that John McCain believes she would otherwise be part and parcel of because she's not as corrupt as other people. It's like pulling a half-Abramoff!