’s Ideology Essay, Research Paper
U.S. Senator John McCain’s Ideology
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona announced his candidacy for President on April 14, 1999. His stated positions on most issues are fairly conservative. Senator McCain would like to cut taxes and simplify the tax code. Senator McCain opposes using Social Security funds for deficit reduction or other uses, and would like to set aside 62% of the budget surplus to keep Social Security from becoming insolvent. Senator McCain’s education plans include support for a nationwide school voucher test, voluntary testing of teachers by state and local authorities, merit pay for teachers, and reducing the federal eduction bureaucracy.
Senator McCain has been a United States Senator since 1986, and he was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982-1986. His father and grandfather were admirals, and he served in the U.S. Navy from 1954-1981, retiring as a highly-decorated Captain. Senator McCain believes that our military is the finest in the world, but has serious readiness problems due to declining budgets and increased deployments. He proposes to increase military pay and retirement benefits while reducing money spent on regional pork-barrel projects, and Cold War relics that do not meet modern threats.
Senator McCain does not support gun bans or other measures which infringe on the Second Amendment rights of Americans. He is a proponent of instant background checks for all commercial firearms sales. He has voted against federally-mandated waiting periods, believing that instant background checks can be done swiftly without the need to impose restrictions on law-abiding citizens. Senator McCain has led the effort to ensure trigger locks are sold with every firearm. Senator McCain supports stiff penalties against those who use a gun in the commission of a crime.
Senator McCain has been a leader in the campaign finance reform fight. This is an area where he has voted in opposition to most of his fellow Republicans. Senator McCain sponsored several legislative attempts to reform the campaign finance laws. He believes this is necessary to restore the public interest in our political process and increase government accountability. He regularly takes to the Senate floor to expose the pork-barrel provisions in spending bills. Republicans were particularly annoyed by his opposition to subsidies for ethanol, as well as his failed attempt to pass an anti-tobacco bill.
In order to understand Senator McCain’s ideological voting patterns, I analyzed Senate votes occurring in the off-year sessions of 1997 and 1995. I then compared the percentage of votes that McCain voted in agreement with other Republican Senators in order to get an idea of where he stands on the issues.
I used Senator Thurmond of South Carolina and Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania as my conservative Republicans and Senator Snowe of Maine and Senator Specter of Pennsylvania as my liberal Republicans. From September to December of 1997 (votes #212-293), Senator McCain agreed with these Senators as follows:
In 1997, Senator McCain showed a tendency to vote in agreement with the conservative Senators, but there was not much of a spread in the percentage of agreement. I then analyzed votes #393-492, which occurred between September and Decemeber of 1995.
During this period of time in 1995, there were more votes (100), which gives us a better idea of Senator McCain’s ideological tendencies. Senator McCain’s record in 1995 shows clearly conservative tendencies indicated by his agreement with Senator Thurmond in almost 9 out of every 10 votes.
In conclusion, McCain’s record is complex, but in some ways he is well in sync with his party. He is a social conservative who voted against what critics call partial birth abortion and opposes Roe v. Wade. He voted with his party 81 percent of the time last year. John McCain’s supporters hope the New Hampshire primary will give him enough credibility with independent voters and fellow Republicans who do not support the “coronation of George” in 2000 to help make up for his inability to match his opponent’s fund-raising skill.
SENATE VOTES 212-298, 393-493, reported by Congressional Quarterly, Washington D.C. September 2, thru October 14, 1995, 2680-3162.
Abramson, Jill and Mitchell, Alison. “Senate Inquiry in Keating Case Tested McCain.” New York Times 21 Nov. 99.
McCain 2000, Inc. Alexandria VA. “John McCain for President Official Site”
http://www.mccain2000.com/ 26 Nov. 99.
Staff Reports, White House 2000 / Republicans “John McCain.” New York Times 22 Nov. 1999.