Off the Cuff By Chris A. Porter firstname.lastname@example.org WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Spotlight on '08 Presidential Candidates - Part 6: John McCain
NOTE: This is Part 6 of a multi-part series of blogs spotlighting the candidates for President of the United States that I will be posting throughout the year up to the elections.
John McCain is a Republican Party candidate running for the 2008 Presidency. He is a former naval fighter pilot who flew carrier attack aircraft. During the Vietnam War in 1967, McCain's aircraft was shot down. Badly wounded, he was captured and remained a P.O.W. in a Hanoi prison for over five years until his release in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords.
After retiring from the Navy in 1981, McCain moved to Arizona and began his political career a year later by being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 1st congressional district. After two terms, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, where he continues to serve today. He ran for President in 2000, but dropped out after closely contested defeats by George W. Bush in early primaries. As of January 2008, he is a leading Republican candidate in some key state primaries. McCain has a reputation for being a "maverick" for his willingness to oppose certain Republican issues.
John McCain's platform is based upon some of the following key issues:
Tax Cuts - McCain wants to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) cutting taxes for middle class families. He thinks the Bush income and investment tax cuts should be made permanent so entrepreneurs can maintain jobs and prosperity, that a 3/5 majority vote in Congress should be mandatory for tax increases, internet/cell phone taxes should be banned and premiums for Medicare should be lowered.
He wants to enforce transparency and fiscal responsibility in Washington to eliminate wasteful spending, such as earmarks and pork-riddled bills. He believes overhauling entitlement programs like social security & Medicare, lowering trade barriers, reforming health care to harness competition and implementing a national energy strategy will make the aforementioned tax cuts more feasible.
Victory in Iraq - Senator McCain wants to have the support of the American people regarding our current conflict in Iraq. He believes we need to increase troop deployment to clear and hold insurgent riddled areas, bring in political and economic reconstruction to stabilize the area and put pressure on Syria and Iran to eradicate insurgency and foreign terrorism.
Health Care - He promotes the idea of bringing health care to all citizens by reforming federal policy, reforming programs like Medicare, allowing insurance companies to compete in worldwide markets, giving veterans and families more control over health care options and dedicating federal research to focus on curing chronic diseases.
Dignity & Sanctity of Life - John McCain seems vehemently pro-life, and feels Roe V. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned so states can decide upon ending abortion. As President, he supports nominating judges who will help provide such verdicts.
He defines the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. He believes that the basic responsibilities for preserving and strengthening family issues should be governed at the state level.
McCain opposes intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. He does see great hope in this type of research in aiding cures for deadly diseases, but does not advocate the use of any embryotic stem cells to do so. However, he supports funding for amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research.
He is a leader in pushing legislation to restrict access to sexually explicit material on the internet in federally subsidized schools and libraries. McCain also wants to introduce tougher legislation requiring convicted sex offenders to register all online acccounts with a national database in order to better investigate and enforce punishment upon predators and sex crimes against children.
Veterans - As a veteran, Senator McCain staunchly supports our active military personnel and wants to provide them better services like increasing pay scales for full-time and reservist servicemen/women currently deployed in the Middle East. He wants to improve health care for active and retired veterans through funding, expanding and addressing special needs.
He has voted consistently to increase funding for veterans' benefits, believes in repealing the ban for veterans suffering permanent injuries to receive both disability and retirement pay at the same time and urges bills to better help veterans transition back into civilian life. He also backs bankrupcy reforms to help any active duty personnel that has incurred debt, and better benefit plans for surviving widows or widowers of retired veterans.
Border Security - As President, John McCain promises America's borders will be secure. Here are a few of his ideas to try and make this a reality:
He sees value in building stong allies in Mexico and Latin America to counteract authoritarian power over democracy, seek freedom, as well as strong and abundant economies for their citizens.
He recognizes the importance of pro-growth policies so American businesses can be competitive.
He believes we should implement a flexible labor market in this country to provide skilled Americans and immigrants with job opportunities. Through our education system, younger people should be ensured the skills, retraining and assistance necessary to pursue said opportunities.
He thinks America should always be seen as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all who aspire to come here. Assimilation is key to our immigrant population, and respecting our values, history, civics as well as learning English is an important step for said immigrants to acheive this.
He advocates restoring American trust back into it's government by reforming our immigration system, border security and eliminating pork barrel spending.
Environment - Senator McCain is dedicated to being a steward of America's natural resources. As a leader on the issue of global warming, he has offered new approaches to limiting carbon emissions by utilizing nuclear energy, reducing our reliance on foreign oil and inspiring other nations to adopt these methods by example.
Second Amendment - He is an avid supporter of our Constitutional second amendment and believes that the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a sacred duty to protect.
McCain's Congressional voting record - Partial list. More here.
No Child Left Behind
Patients' Bill of Rights bill
Military Abortion Amendment
Homeland Security Act of 2002
Prohibit Partial-Birth Abortion bill
Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act
Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003
Energy Omnibus bill
Firearms Manufacturers Protection bill
Unborn Victims of Violence Act 2004
Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization-Conference Rpt.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling Amendment
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Amendment
Congressional Pay Raise Amendment (2005)
Enhance AMBER Alert bill
Detainees at Guantanamo Bay Amendment
Federal Marriage Amendment
Iraq Progress Reports Amendment
Special Committee on Contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq
Removal of ANWR Provision from HR 2863
Reporting Matters in Iraq Amendment
National Defense Funding Amendment
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
Energy Act of 2007
Barring Immigrants with Certain Criminal Histories
Alternative Energy Subsidies
Off the Cuff - My Take:
I've always had a soft spot for Senator McCain. He seems a likable, charismatic, stand-up politician that once spoke his mind no matter if his own party constituents agreed or not. I feel he has been a decent spokesperson for our state. I appreciate his involvement in political bipartisan collaborations as well as his military experience.
I give him kudos for his pro-gun stance, and I can get behind his ideas for cutting taxes as well as increasing transparency to a government that currently seems bound in secrecy. His legislation for helping veterans and ideas for cutting back our carbon footprint are admirable as well - if not a bit lofty, and lacking in detail.
He holds relatively Republican ideals, such as being pro-life and pro-war, and seems surprisingly soft on illegal immigration. Some of his 'ideas' almost border on amnesty - which is something i'm totally against. I'm not too crazy about his intention to appoint judges to overturn Row V Wade either.
Would I vote for him?
Undecided. At one time, I *really* wanted to vote for our fair Senator - I really did. In 2000, he was my shoe-in candidate - I was ready to cross over and vote Republican had he been made the nominee. But, a lot happened since then to rattle my confidence. He's gotten older, and I can't help feeling this has softened his personal ideals as well as stances on certain topics.
McCain's constant backing of President Bush, after being shamelessly dragged through the mud by his camp in the 2000 campaign, threw me for a loop. It has really made me wonder where McCain's loyaties really lie. Has the "maverick" let his politics cloud his personal convictions? I suppose time will tell if he becomes our next President.
It's still too early to call it (though candidates are dropping like flies this week), I haven't totally ruled out Senator McCain just yet. If Hillary receives the Dem nomination, I might have to look in either his direction, or perhaps a third-party candidate.
FOLLOWUP EDIT 1:John McCain accepted his party's nomination in February, becoming the 2008 Republican candidate for President of the United States.
FOLLOWUP EDIT 2:John McCain was defeated on election day (11-4-08) by President-elect Barack Obama.