Given that McCain has pretty much wrapped up the Republican nomination, I thought it was about time I wrote my thoughts about the man. Well truth be told, I think the man would a terrible President that at best would be marginally better than George Bush and at worst could leave the world (and the U.S. at home and abroad) in much worse shape than Bush did. Here’s a list of reasons why all progressives should be throwing their support behind whoever the Democratic nominee ends up being:
1) I don’t care what Coulter and Limbaugh say, McCain is NOT A MODERATE. His record in the Senate has been VERY conservative. His lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union is a very high 83 (see here). To give some context, everyone said Fred Thompson was very Conservative, yet his score is only 3 points higher (see here), while real Republican moderates like Arlen Spector get a score of 42 and Hillary and Obama both score under 10. That alone should tell you just the starkly different policies the Democratic candidates would put in place compared to McCain. But there’s many more reasons why McCain would be a progressive’s nightmare…
2) Justice Stevens (the most liberal judge on the SC) will almost certainly retire in the next term. McCain has vowed to only appoint pro-life judges. Thus, you could very likely see Roe V. Wade overturned with a McCain Presidency which would lead to about 30 states criminalizing abortion. So there’s a lot at stake for women’s rights here.
3) McCain would undermine the UN with his plan for a parallel “League of Democracies” (see here). This would starve the UN of funding and undermine its legitimacy. At a time when conflict is rising in the Middle East this is the last thing we need, as this organization would effectively cut out that entire region (though I bet Pakistan gets to qualify as a “democracy” under McCain’s plan). It would be repeating the mistakes of the failed League of Nations by excluding key countries from the dialogue. I think the UN has gone a long way towards preventing a Third World War and McCain’s plan would be a huge step backward.
4) McCain has been the most fervent backer of going to War in Iraq and openly says he’s fine with the U.S. being there for another 100 years.
5) McCain has openly stated that the U.S. may need to bomb Iran, thus creating a possibly even more disastrous war.
6) McCain firmly believes in the Mike Harris doctrine: cut taxes and slash spending much more deeply. The poorest Americans would suffer even more greatly under John McCain then they have under George Bush as McCain is much more committed to balanced budgets and vowed to accomplish them almost solely through slashing spending. The Bush tax cuts were bad policy and yet McCain wants to extend them through and take out the lost revenue on the poor.
7) McCain will almost certainly select an even MORE conservative running mate. The only reason the fanatics on the right make noise about McCain is because of his stances on immigration (where he stood with Bush anyway), global warming, torture, and campaign finance reform. McCain has not swayed from the Conservative dogma on any other issue that I know of, but the aforementioned ones are so important to Conservatives they will press him hard to pick someone even more Conservative then he is because McCain cannot afford to have them sit out the election (after all Bush would not have won in 2004 without them). McCain himself may not run again in 2012 so that would make his VP the front-runner for the Republican nomination then. Do we want to accord an even stauncher Conservative the benefits of incumbency in 2012 or even 2016?
8) McCain has gone back on virtually every modestly progressive stance he ever took.
- He opposed Bush’s tax cuts, now he wants to extend them even though that would plunge the US into further debt and deficit or mean drastic cuts to social programs.
- He criticized Jerry Falwell and the religious right in 2000, yet this year he spoke at their universities and courted them heavily.
- He stood up for immigration reform (though even then his position was similar to Bush’s), now he says he’ll just focus primarily on border security.
- He once supported gay marriage, now he's firmly opposed to it.
- He stood firm against torture, but then caved and voted for a bill that would allow the Bush administration to define what torture really was (thus waterboarding may be continuing even though McCain says he opposes it).
You could say McCain just went back on his earlier positions to win over Conservatives in the primaries, but isn’t his whole appeal that he’s “principled”. Don’t all these reversals fly in the wind of that?
The only credit I give McCain is for his stances on campaign finance reform and global warming as he is to the left of his party on these issues for sure, but even then both Hillary and Obama have more sensible and progressive stances on these issues as well. On the vast majority of issues he is as just as, or much more, Conservative than Stephen Harper so it concerns me when I read or hear from Liberals thinking about supporting McCain or Hillary supporters saying they can't support Obama or vice-versa. You have to think how would John McCain really represent a step forward after George W. Bush? Doesn't the USA and the world need a radical departure from where Bush has been taking it?
So I’d be curious to hear from any progressive thinking of supporting McCain. Why?
Even though Canadian bloggers aren’t going to have a big impact on the influence the U.S. outcome, some of us have U.S. readers and some Liberals have gone down South to campaign so we aren’t irrelevant to what happens down there and what happens in this election will influence Canada and the rest of the world. That’s why I’ll continue to write about it and that’s why I am really hoping all progressives can get behind the Democratic nominee because the stakes are high and Canada and the world cannot afford John McCain as President.
Now you don’t just need a negative reason to support the Democrats, both Hillary and Obama have reasonably progressive platforms that would bring the USA at least somewhat closer to how Canada operates and the vision the Liberal Party of Canada represents. They support universal health care, a strong plan to combat global warming, campaign finance reform, a better code of ethics in Washington, and a saner foreign policy. They’ve got a long way to go though and I think we’ll need at least 12 years of the Democrats in office before the damage of the Bush administration is even remotely undone. McCain unfortunately would be just a basic continuation of the last 8 disastrous years.
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