McCain, Muddled Maverick


With Super Tuesday right around the corner, most true conservatives feel disenfranchised, even unfairly ousted by the party they have long supported. The Republicans have definitely fallen into some sort of a malaise. With all the bantering from the MSM and right wing talk show hosts is there any wonder there is a conundrum. No one knows what to believe anymore, you have candidates portraying themselves as something they are not, the concept of voting for a contestant because he is the lesser of the two evils, and the wealth of worthless information being passed off as truth. Is this the reality of John McCain?

Exploring Senator McCain, the present frontrunner for the Republican nomination, you find some would say he is a liberal in conservative clothing. Others offer that he is a man who does what he thinks is right. What ever camp you fall into it is true that McCain has acted seemingly autonomous through out his career in the Senate. The mystery is, was it independent thought, a reflection of his inner political workings, political ambition, or blind confusion.

Taxes and Tax Reform:
As a conservative a primary belief is the idea of lower taxes. High taxes represent a federal intrusion into one of the most sacred and personal aspects of one’s life, their money. Senator McCain, over the past 10 years, has performed strangely in this area. This is a look at his votes on taxes from 2001-06.

1) Economic and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, Conference Report - May 26, 2001 McCain Voted No, This would have 2001 tax cut which reduced marginal tax rates, ended the marriage penalty, expanded the child credit, increased IRA and 401(k) contributions and phased out the estate tax.
2) Death Tax Repeal Sense of the Senate February 13, 2002 McCain Voted No, To express the Senate’s sense that that the estate tax should be repealed. [1]
3) Permanent Repeal of the Death Tax - June 12, 2002 McCain Voted No 2002 vote to permanently repeal the death tax which failed. [1]
4) Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 - May 15, 2003 McCain Voted No, 2003 tax cut which accelerated the phase in provisions of the 2001 including income tax rate reductions, marriage penalty, and child credit. Legislation also reduced the double tax on dividends and capital gains tax to 15 percent, and increase business depreciation to 50 percent. [1]
5) 2004 American Jobs Creation Act – Motion to Invoke Cloture on Conference Report – October 10, 2004 McCain Voted No Final passage of conference report for international tax legislation which needed passage to bring the US in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. (I do not like this, and this is possibly why he opposed it.) In addition, the legislation cut the corporate tax rate for domestic manufacturers and allowed companies to repatriate their foreign profits back into America at a lower tax rate. [1]

McCain, according to the Americans for Tax Reform [1] , has been increasingly inconsistent in his approach to tax reform. From 1994-97 he scored a 100% with a Reagan style approach to taxes, but from 1998-2002 he rated 66%. But in the past 2 years McCain has been trying to reinvent himself to regain support and scored a 90% favorability rating. His posture is mixed between Republican and Democrat, tending to go with the political winds at the time. There is no evidence to support McCain’s words that he will cut taxes and create new initiatives for tax reforms.

McCain on immigration is also an enigma to me. On his report card obtained from Americans for Better Immigration
[2] , Senator McCain scored an average D. What is even more disturbing is when you look at his voting history through out the years, there are more “no votes,” meaning he cast no ballot, than there are grades. His approach to immigration is very ambiguous and leaves much to the imagination. Although, when graded he falls quite short on most important issues except with border controls and interior enforcement, he does extremely well. Again McCain’s words do not match his actions and his record tends to be elusive.

National Security:
I will not even touch this one, Senator McCain is much more than qualified to manage and lead the armed forces of this country. His expertise and wisdom in this area are probably unmatched by anyone in the Legislative Branch. He has the sound combat experience, a good rationale about the G.W.O.T., and the proper attitude to face any adversary the United States could come up against, presently, or in the near future. The Senator would most definitely keep this country safe and approach military operations in the truest of conservative manners.

Budget and Economy:
McCain is, both, weak and strong in this area. On the budget McCain ranks fairly well as far as his voting record indicates;

1) A 2006 amendment to cut $74.5 million for various agriculture programs
2) A 2006 amendment to cut $6 million for sugarcane growers in Hawaii [3]
3) A 2003 amendment to reduce funding for the Yazoo Basin Backwater Pump Project in Mississippi
1) A 2002 amendment to eliminate $2.5 million for coral reef mapping of the waters off the coast of Hawaii
4) A 1998 amendment to cut $78 million in projects from an emergency supplemental appropriations bill [3]
5) A 1994 motion to kill an amendment to provide $40 million for the conversion of a New York City post office into an Amtrak train station [3]
6) A vote against the 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan [3]
7) A vote against the Farm Security Bill in 2002 [3]
8) A vote against the 2005 Highway Bill, one of only four senators to object to the pork-stuffed bill
9) A vote against providing Amtrak with an extra $550 million for the fiscal year 2007 [3]
10) A vote against $2 billion in milk subsidies [3]
11) One of fifteen senators to vote for Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) amendment transferring $223 million for the "Bridge to Nowhere" to the repair of a Louisiana bridge damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Senator McCain was also one of only thirteen senators to vote for an amendment by Senator Coburn to eliminate $950,000 for a parking lot for the Joslyn Art Museum in Nebraska [3]

Senator McCain is very consistent in his understanding of how to control pork barrel spending and ear marks. Over the years he has built and followed through on a very impressive and truly conservative approach to budget control. He gets it and to me scores very highly in this area.

On the economy and growth, the enigma returns. Unfortunately for McCain, taxes are a very important part of economic growth. As seen before, his ability to discern this fact is muddled with political ambition and seemingly utter confusion of his own personal stances. Also, his voting record on growth is indicative of a very restrictive, mistrustful, and liberal approach to the free market.

1) Voted for Climate Stewardship Act, a bill he sponsored with Joe Lieberman (D-CT)
2) Voted for Patients' Bill of Rights, which he sponsored with Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and former trial lawyer John Edwards (D-NC). [3]
3) Voted for an amendment that would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to set prices on prescription drugs under Medicare [3]
4) Voted against a bill that would prohibit an increase in CAFE standards [3]
5) Voted for an amendment that would prohibit oil drilling in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska [3]
6) Voted (along with all of his Senate colleagues) in favor of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, an overreaction to corporate malfeasance that imposed heavy financial burdens on companies.

Senator McCain is noted for having a very defiant nature and is often considered to be seditious to the Republican base. Some consider him to be an independent thinker who goes against the status quo. This is an unfortunate conclusion to draw. McCain has a true command of the issues he knows, such as budget control and national security. But when it comes to issues such as immigration, tax reform, and economic growth he is displaying that he is completely lost. His actions are so egregious that he has left his conservative principles and has rightfully earned the reputation of a RINO. His paradoxical stances often leave me scratching my head. The Senator is a little to willing to compromise his principles out of ignorance on specific issues. If elected President I think America can expect more muddled legislation that is often contradictory to what is coming our of his mouth. But the American GOP has spoken and it seems they want John McCain as the nominee. But keep in mind, you sometimes get what you wished for and it is not what you needed.


[1] Americans for Tax Reform
[2] Americans for Better Immigration
[3] Club for Growth



Copyright © Politics and Critical Thinking Design by BTDesigner | Blogger Theme by BTDesigner | Powered by Blogger