Monday, March 13, 2006


I take a perhaps unusual view of Senator John McCain of Arizona. In spite of the conventional wisdom of McCain as a moderate I consider him a relatively conservative Senator who's image as a maverick, a moderate, and a pragmatist make him unbeatable. Paul Krugman exposes McCain's conservatism in the New York Times today, and I agree with most of his argument though he uses some questionable data as "facts". For example he sites as ranking McCain the 3rd most conservative member of the United States Senate. Now, voteview could be right, and seems to be run by trustworthy people (a UCSD Poli Sci professor), but the ranking of McCain as the Senate's most conservative member is way out of step with everything else I've seen which tends to place him towards the middle and mainstream of the Republican caucus. That said, Krugman hits the principle quite accurately.
He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him at the right wing of the REpublican Party.

And he isn't a maverick, at least not when it counts. When the cameras are rolling, Mr. McCain can sometimes be seen striking a brave pose of opposition to the White House. But when it matters, when the Bush administration's ability to do whatever it wants is at stake, Mr. McCain always toes the party line.

While I think Krugman's analysis of Arizona's senior Senator is ultimately correct I don't think this is a cat you want to let out of the bag. If McCain decides to run for President in 2008 his moderate image may prevent him from winning the nomination for lack of traditional conservative voters supporting him. I would argue that McCain cannot be beaten, he's too well liked accross party lines. Should he decide to run, the only thing keeping him out of the White House will be the Republican Primary, and in that setting his moderate image might kill him. So let's not tell the public that McCain is a right winger just yet.


true_slicky said...

You make a good anti-McCain case. Its never too early to try to dismantle his campaign.

I mean, is it really such a shocker that conservatives are warming up to John eight years later?

But besides portraying McCain as the conservative that he is, we can also point out one obvious fact: he's a wimp. When Bush & Rove decimatd him in South Carolina in 2000, saying he had an illegitimate black child, McCain wilted like a flower.

Then four years later he's campaigning for Dubya. You cant shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding. The man deserves no respect- none.

Can we trust someone like that to stand up to the threats of our country?

Anonymous said...

this is an old thread, but i just wanted to make the point that the data you refer to is deliberately 'one dimensional'. The moderate reputation you mention derived from second dimensional issues for the most part. see elsewhere on voteview for such illustrations