McCain a Conservative?!

Steve Swedberg

Last week, I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC. As I got off the plane, I found out that Romney announced his “resignation” at CPAC. Initially, I was in denial. When this awful reality sank in, I realized that John McCain was the likely candidate for the 2008 elections. When I got to CPAC, McCain was giving his speech about how he was going to unite the Republican Party — you know, the usual pandering that goes on during this time in the election cycle. He also claimed how he was going to adhere to conservative principles. By the time the conference was over, I had to wonder which conservative principles he was talking about. McCain is known for being a maverick — there’s no mistake about that. And when the party is not acting according to its own principles, being a maverick is a good thing. But has McCain been acting like a conservative? It doesn’t matter whether or not he says he is a conservative because talk is cheap when your actions contradict what you are saying. The most objective determinant of his conservatism is his voting record. So let’s see if his voting record matches up with his rhetoric.
First of all, McCain opposed Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts (which incidentally boosted the American economy). In 2001, McCain said that the wealthy would benefit from the tax cuts at the expense of the middle class. Sounds a lot like John Edwards and social-class warfare! He recently stated that “greedy people on Wall Street need to be punished,” because they were selling sub-prime mortgages. McCain seems to forget that people chose to buy those mortgages of their own volition, and were not forced at gunpoint to take them. Let’s get this straight — not only does McCain hate the free-market system, but he doesn’t want people to take personal responsibility for making their own poor life decisions. Some conservative he is!
Environmentally speaking, he is the man who put drilling in ANWR on par with a proposal to strip-mine Yellowstone. ANWR is not only a proposal that most Republicans support, but it’s also something that most of the citizens in that region support because it would bring revenues to that part of the country. Plus, only 8 percent of ANWR would be considered for exploration, so the caribou still have plenty of roaming space. He also fell for the global warming alarmism and is one of the biggest congressional noisemakers when it comes to doing something about global warming. He tried to pass the McCain-Lieberman bill, which would have been the most intrusive and erroneous attempt in this nation’s history to regulate industry.
But if there is one policy stance of his that is infuriating to the far Right, it has to be his immigration policy. This is the man who tried to pass the McCain-Kennedy bill, which would give 11 million illegal immigrants citizenship. This would have been the largest amnesty bill in history, and quite frankly, we are still recovering from the 1986 amnesty that only let in three million illegals. This action shows that he would prefer to reward criminal behavior rather than punishing it. He is so pro-illegal immigration that he voted against the Cornyn Amendment (6/6/07), which stated that any gang members or terrorists could not receive amnesty. He was emotionally distraught over the bill to the point that he decided to hurl the F-bomb at Cornyn! So, how is hostility supposed to re-unite the Republican Party? Also, do we want someone easily provoked over a disagreement to be our next Commander in Chief?
He does have some impressive wartime credentials though, and he would probably handle the Middle East better than Bush has been. He has a decent record for decreasing federal spending. But in the end, is McCain a conservative? Hardly! He claims that he is a uniting force, but he only extends the proverbial olive branch to Democrats. Instead of trying to help reunite the Republican Party, he is further fracturing it by name-calling and backstabbing other members of his own party. It’s also interesting that the New York Times seems to like him a lot, as well. That should tell you something right there! No, McCain is not nearly as far to the Left as Obama or Hillary, but it sure would be more appropriate if the Senator had a “D” next to his name rather than an “R.