In last nights debate, Mitt Romney blasted John McCain for being too liberal. He cited the NY Times endorsement, McCain/Lieberman,McCain/Feingold, and McCain/Kennedy as examples. He also weighed in on the votes McCain made against the tax cuts in 2001/2003 citing that these votes were not the act of a conservative Republican. Do these really show McCain as a liberal or just a politician who knows how to get things done?
I say its the latter. The NY Times does not really have to endorse anyone on either side, however they always have and probably have endorsed Republicans in past primaries, although I am not a reader so I cannot say for sure.
As far as the legislative measures, I view them as a sign of a politician who disregards labels in the pursuit of building a coalition government whose purpose is to solve the major issues that face America daily. We praise these qualities in leaders around the world but disregard them in our own land. In Iraq we are calling for a coalition government where Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds work together to solve their differences and unite in Democracy. Why is this so different than working both sides of the aisle to solve immigration or finance reform?
In 2001/2003, McCain did vote against the tax cuts because additional spending projects were attached to the measures. How does one call themselves a fiscal conservative if they believe spending should not be checked when you cut income? The votes he made then are being reflected now with Pres. Bush’s announcement of cutting earmarks from every bill that crosses his desk.
McCain’s actions on earmarks also speak louder than his words. For 2008, so far, McCain has had 0 earmarks, while his Democratic rivals, and only other Senators running for President, have over 300 between them. He has voted against earmark projects in his home state consistently during his term in Congress.
Liberal/conservative labels don’t matter. At the end of the day what really matters is will the next President be able to build that coalition government that will keep America the foremost power in the world, both economically and militarily. John McCain is the only one with the paper trail to prove that he is concerned for America, not the party in power.