John McCain's Political Views
John McCain's Political Views
During his campaign for President in 2008, the media (both the mainstream press and the partisan bloggers and commentators) have paid an inordinate amount of attention to Senator John McCain's personality. Ask most Americans about the Senator and they'll know that he lost to President Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election, was a P.O.W. in Vietnam, and currently serves in the U.S. Senate representing the state of Arizona. Those who follow politics more closely will probably be able to tell you that he has a reputation of being a political "maverick," someone who is willing to go against the Republican party line. But what does John McCain actually believe politically? What are his actual stances on issues important to most American voters? This hub will try to provide and unbiased look at what McCain's political beliefs truly are.
The War in Iraq: John McCain was a strong supporter of the decision to go to War in Iraq and the continued presence of American troops in that country. Though he criticized the Bush administration for making strategic mistakes and called for the Pentagon to make "significant policy changes" in their handling of the war, he consistently expressed the belief that America did the right thing in invading Iraq, and that we need to keep troops in that country "as long as it takes to win."
Foreign Policy/War on terror: McCain generally agreed with the foreign policy strategy of the Bush and subsequently the Obama administrations, including their refusal to negotiate with the Iranian government and their emphasis of military force over multilateral diplomatic solutions to conflicts. The one notable exception to this agreement has been over the issue of torture, as in the lead up to the 2008 presidential elections, McCain said he would close Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of torture by American intelligence services. McCain has also described the controversial tactic of waterboarding as "torture," though he voted against HR 2082, a bill that would have banned its use.
Health Care: During the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain expressed strong opposition to the idea of universal health care, instead wanting to provide greater access to health care through a $5,000 tax credit and encouraging greater competition among health care companies to lower costs. McCain continued this opposition after the 2008 election and strongly criticized the health care bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010.
Environmental Issues: Compared to many of his fellow Republicans, McCain has been somewhat of a moderate on environmental issues. Specifically, as a Senator, McCain co-sponsored a bill to implement a cap and trade system to limit carbon emissions in 2003. He also voted against allowing oil companies to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and expressed some past support for a carbon trading system to help combat global warming. In recent years McCain has been somewhat less moderate in his environmental views, criticizing the Obama administration's decision to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline in 2011 and backing off his previous support of cap and trade.
Abortion: Though he has made conflicting statements about the issue in the past, McCain unequivocally said that he believes Roe vs. Wade "should be overturned" in 2007.
Immigration: While running for President, McCain was a moderate on immigration, supporting greater use of the H-1 visa programs and providing greater and easier paths to citizenship to better control the immigration process. However, in recent months he has come out as a strong supporter of Arizona's strict immigration controls which allow for police to require suspected illegal aliens to show proof of citizenship.
Gay Rights: McCain was a strong opponent of President Obama's decision to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, telling an audience "today is a sad, sad day" in 2011 after Obama had ended the military's don't ask, don't tell policy. McCain did vote against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, calling it an issue "for the states to decide."
Gun Control: McCain received a C+ rating from the NRA, indicating a moderate to conservative stance on most gun control issues. McCain voted against continuing the ban on assault weapons but has been sharply criticized by some second amendment interest groups for some of his other votes on restricting weapons.
Summary: McCain is a traditional right-wing conservative on economic and foreign policy issues, though he does take a moderate stance on certain issues: most notably on the environment and immigration.
Please let me know if you have any issues with the factual content of this hub, I'll be happy to change anything if it proves to be incorrect
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