Yes, yes, we all know that John McCain’s lifetime American Conservative Union (ACU) rating is 82.3% (since he never fails to remind us whenever his conservative credentials are called into question). However, did you know that his average rating for the years 1998-2006 is 74%? And did you know that this rating makes him one of the most LIBERAL Republicans in Congress? As Randall Hoven at The American Thinker notes, this would make sense for a Republican Congressman in a northeastern liberal state, but John McCain is representing a mostly Conservative State of Arizona. Did you know that the lifetime rating of Arizona’s other Senator, John Kyl, is 96.9? And half of the other Arizona Congressmen have ratings of 94.7 or higher?
John McCain a Conservative? I think not.
First, a rating of 82.3 is not really that high. It puts Senator McCain in 39th place among senators serving in 2006, the latest year for which the ACU has its ratings posted online. For that most recent year in particular, McCain scored only 65, putting him in 47th place for that year. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), for example, scored 64 and 75, respectively, in 2006.
Generally, McCain has voted less conservatively in more recent years. His average for 1990-97 was 88, but was only 74 for 1998-2006.
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So where did McCain differ from the ACU? The big areas were taxes, campaign finance reform, the environment and, most recently, immigration. There was also a smattering of support for trial lawyers; federal intervention in health, education, safety or voting issues; internationalism; and some social issues. He was more consistently conservative on spending and defense issues.
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Another piece of information from the list above is that many of the votes were close. In one third of these votes, a swing of only two senators would have changed the outcome. In over two thirds, a swing of ten senators would have changed the outcome. As someone remarked, McCain is like a baseball player who gets all his hits after two outs and no one on base, and all his outs with men in scoring position.
As might be expected, ACU ratings essentially reflect party affiliation. At the halfway point, ranking 50th, we have Richard Shelby (R-AL, formerly D-AL) with a lifetime score of 74.2. But Robert Byrd (D-WV) ranks just slightly lower at 58th, with a score of only 29.6. By the time you get to 66th place, all scores are below 20.
What this means is that McCain’s ACU ratings since 1998 put him on the liberal side among Republicans. The few Republicans consistently more liberal than McCain would be Chafee (formerly R-RI), Collins (R-ME), Snowe (R-ME) and Specter (R-PA). One could expect senators from northeastern states to be more liberal since their constituencies demand it, but McCain represents the fairly conservative state of Arizona. (Arizona’s other senator, Kyl, has a lifetime rating of 96.9, and half the representatives from there have ratings of 94.7 or higher.)
How much more liberal would McCain vote if his constituency put even the slightest pressure on him in that direction? [ … ]
So, in summation, what do we have from the current John McCain. No, not the Vietnam war hero John McCain of 30 years ago. Not the “lifetime 82.3% ACU rating” John McCain. No, I’m talking about the John McCain of the last 10 years. That John McCain has
(1) led legislation to take away our free speech
(2) voted against tax cuts
(3) led legislation that would start the biggest government programs in history: global warming legislation and Amnesty for illegal immigration.
So here we have a Congressman who is against free speech, against tax cuts and in favor of growing government in HUGE ways.
Sorry, that is NOT a man who is a Conservative. You can take your “straight talk” and shove it, Senator.