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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Mendacious Mr. McCain

There was a time when I admired John McCain as a latter-day William Proxmire, scourge of government pork who fearlessly outed members of both parties for their J-Lo-at-Gucci spending habits. After he sold himself like a two dollar crank whore to Bush '04 that esteem shriveled, and any vestiges disintegrated when he joined the Social Security traveling snake oil show after having publicly announced that he thought privatization was a crock.

Matt over at wants to make sure I don't change my mind:
Every outside interest group from NOW to NARAL to Americans for Tax Reform to the Club for Growth have their own systems for ranking members of Congress based on votes on issues they advocate. The most objective is this system designed by Dr Keith Poole of the University of San Diego. It doesn’t measure issues, intensity, rhetoric, public posturing, good looks or media savvy. It simply ranks Senators by how often they vote with the other members of their own party.
McCain voted with his party more than Rick Santorum and 46 other Republicans in the last Congress. Only Jeff Sessions, Don Nickles, and Jon Kyl towed the party line more often. When it counts, John McCain is not a moderate but a conservative ideologue, which is certainly his prerogative. But if Barbara Boxer took contrary stands on one or two big issues and Republicans warmed to her, it wouldn’t change the fact that she is the most reliable Democratic vote in the Senate.
How McCain manages to contort himself within the media into some kind of moderate with a voting record like that is quite remarkable, and it's worth noting that fellow middle-of-the-road traveler Lindsey Graham is right up there with Rick Santorum when it comes to toeing the party line. The true disparity between a McCain and a Cornryn, for instance, has more to do with the image they attempt to cold chisel for themselves in the public consciousness, and less to do with any substantive distinctions.

A Republican is a Republican is a Republican.

Update: E. J. Dionne has a great article in the WaPo on the new cushy relationship between Bush and McCain here. (Thanks, Gord)