Monday, October 27, 2008
McCain is not George W. Bush....really
John McCain has been pretty forceful about the fact that he is not George W. Bush. Who can blame him for not wanting to be associated with one of the least popular President's in US History? Despite what McCain says repeatedly, a USA Today/Gallup Poll from October 10-12 suggested that 66% of a sample of adults are either very concerned or somewhat concerned that McCain would pursure policies similar to Bush if elected. Is there are a reason people think this? News flash, this association between Bush and McCain is not a coincidence. The similarities were surprising even to me.
Probably the most damning thing for McCain is his voting record, which anyone with insomnia and an internet connection can access. McCain has voted in line with President Bush over 90% of the time in recent years. Conservatives will be quick to point out that Obama has been just as partisan as McCain, voting almost exclusively with his party at nearly every turn. This is absolutely true and a sad statement about the partisan nature of US politics. The problem for McCain is that the link with Bush is far more damaging given Bush's lack of popularity. Both candidates were doing the same partisan thing, McCain just happens to be doing it with one of the least popular figures in US history.
So how did McCain differ from Bush in the small number of situations where he didn't vote with the President? One of the largest examples has been on tax policy. McCain voted against Bush's tax cuts several times saying "I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of tax cuts irrespective of their size or to which segment of the population they are targeted,". Sound different than the feisty Maverick, we've all gotten to know so well this election year?
What caused McCain to change his stance from being against giant tax cuts targeted at the wealthiest Americans? Largely, it was his desire to have a shot at the Republican nomination. John McCain learned something very important in the years since his 2000 primary loss to W.: you will not win a Republican primary unless you adopt the core economic stance of the Republican party. Considering McCain's voting record against Bush's tax cuts combined with his current economic policies that are in complete lock-step, it's a great example of how McCain has completely changed himself to appeal to his own party. Not exactly what a real maverick would do, but you can't really blame him, since if he hadn't, we might be talking about how we ended up with an election between a Mormon and a black guy.