Wednesday, June 18, 2008

John McCain and President Bush: One and the Same?

When Democrats announce that electing John McCain to the White House would be a continuation of the Bush administration, it’s not meant as a compliment. It’s not difficult to find similarities between the current President and Republican presidential hopeful, especially on the hot topics of the day. However, Senator McCain has distinguished himself as an independent thinker on other issues, often coming into conflict with the Bush administration.

George W. Bush revamped traditional notions of conservatism and imparted a new system leading people to ask, “Are you a Republican, or are you a Bush Republican?” Do you stand for small government and state’s rights? Or do you believe in more federal control though constitutional amendments and increased governmental spending for the import of democracy? With that said, where does presumptive Republican candidate John McCain stand?

With a 25- year record in the House and Senate as evidence, John McCain reveals that on major campaign issues, such as the economy, Iraq, and health care, his positions are close to the sitting President’s. Mr. McCain’s views mirror Bush’s on abortion and appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court. However, on the environment, torture, immigration, American diplomacy, and nuclear proliferation, McCain has distinctly different views that Mr. Bush.


  • Like President Bush, Mr. McCain argues for the limitation of the rights of terrorism suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
  • While John McCain supports the continuation of the war in Iraq, he criticized the conception and administering of the war. However, he stands by Mr. Bush’s adamancy that toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime was crucial to national security, and refuses to set a timetable for troop withdrawal.
  • John McCain announced his agreement with Mr. Bush’s authorization of wiretaps without monitor for the safety of the American people.
  • The Senator and President have asked Congress to lift the ban on offshore drilling to combat rising gas prices.
  • While John McCain once held significantly different beliefs than Mr. Bush on the economy, he now supports making permanent the large Bush tax cuts he once opposed. He also has proposed four major new tax cuts.
  • In terms of health care, like Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain emphasizes insurance bought by individuals, rather than provided by employers, and he would offer a tax benefit for families to do so.
  • Mr. McCain is opposed to abortion like Mr. Bush. In 2007, John McCain declared that Roe V. Wade “should be overturned,” whereas President Bush showed opposition to the Supreme Court decision by emphasizing a “culture of life.”


  • While Senator McCain favors drilling for oil in deep water off American coasts like President Bush, he deviates from the Republican mainstream in his opposition of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • During George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004, the religious right supported the incumbent President with full force, often assisting in campaign strategy. However, Mr. McCain has a difficult time garnering support from the religious right. Evangelical Christians believe that John McCain betrayed them after courting and ultimately rejecting endorsements from Reverends Hagee and Parsley.
  • On gay rights, John McCain voted against President Bush’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Rather, he believes the issue should be up to individual states; however, in his own state of Arizona, Mr. McCain appeared in a television commercial to support banning gay marriage.
  • Unlike President Bush who worries that addressing climate change would further hurt the economy, Mr. McCain seeks to institute mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions. He also supports a “cap and trade system in which power plants and other polluters could meet limits on heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide by either reducing emissions on their own or by buying credits from more efficient producers.”
  • John McCain does not favor American unilateralism like President Bush demonstrated in the war in Iraq.
  • Senator McCain seeks a legally-binding accord with Russia to limit nuclear proliferation, eliminate tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, and encourage talks with China. President Bush’s nuclear security policy drastically differs.

Source: New York Times