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Zer Netmouse
March 28th, 2008
09:15 am

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Blog against torture day

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From:cos
Date:March 28th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
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Since all of the remaining Presidential contenders are strongly against torture

If McCain really were as strongly against torture as his public image, it would've ended already. He was a key part of a Senate uprising that almost forced its way on the Bush administration in the last Senate, but then Bush won him over and he caved in on a compromise that preserved his ability to say he voted against torture while preserving Bush's authority to ignore it. Weak and unprincipled. Recently, he gave up even the ability to clearly say he voted against torture, when the US Senate passed a strong bill clearly limiting the CIA to the interrogation techniques approved for the army, and McCain voted against it. That bill would have prohibited waterboarding and other forms of torture the CIA is currently allowed to use, except that Bush vetoed it anyway so it didn't become law.

Don't trust McCain on this. Ever since he converted to Bushism in 2004 he's been completely unprincipled and unreliable. The McCain of 2000 lives on in the public mind, but that McCain is gone.
From:nicegeek
Date:March 28th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
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Ever since he converted to Bushism in 2004 he's been completely unprincipled and unreliable.

I think that assertion is painting with too broad a brush. For one thing, it suggests that one should only consider the last four years of a 25-year congressional career. It would, however, be very interesting (though I haven't the time) to examine the voting records of the three candidates to see how often each had voted against the majority of their own party. I'd be willing to bet that McCain has stood up to the Republicans on more issues than either Clinton or Obama have dared oppose the Democrats on. Climate change, campaign-finance reform, torture, judicial filibusters, stem-cell research, immigration, and affirmative action, to name a few.

I'd agree that he's sometimes compromised on issues where I wish he wouldn't have, but that's a long way from becoming "completely unprincipled and unreliable". Sometimes, being willing to compromise is the only way to get something done in politics.
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From:cos
Date:March 28th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
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I don't think either of those metrics is really meaningful. Mere voting doesn't tell you a whole lot unless you know the context: what the bill meant, what amendments were and weren't offerred, what other options were being discussed, who tried to organize what with other Senators, etc. Voting with or apart from the majority of one's party is even trickier. In both cases, it depends heavily on who's in the majority, since the party that controls the chamber can decide what legislation goes to a vote in what order, and can arrange that to either drive wedges in the minority party's voting (if they want to make something "bipartisan" or overcome a filibuster threat) or to unify the other party, if they want a strict party line vote on something. There's also, of course, the substance of the legislation: in general, I support most of the legislation that a majority of Democrats have supported in the past several Congresses and therefore I want to see a Senator who voted for those pieces of legislation most of the time (so I would prefer a Democrat who voted with his/her party more often).

As for McCain, no, I've followed him closely for years and the brush I paint him with is entirely fair. I used to respect him a lot (though I mostly didn't agree with him on policy) and was extremely disappointed when he made his big choice in 2004 to make peace with Bush and actively campaign all-out for him. That also entailed a bunch of other things, like dropping his opposition to the Christian right, something I used to respect him for. And, yes, it entailed dropping his opposition to torture, too, which is unconscionable. He did it all for the Iraq war. To him, supporting the continuation of the occupation of Iraq was such a high priority that it was worth compromising most of his principles and repudiating much of what he stood for in the past. He is a sad, sad man, and contemptible, despite his occasional flashes of good.
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From:cos
Date:March 28th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
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In the 110th Congress, Obama has voted with the majority of Democrats 96.7%, Clinton 97.2%.
McCain has voted with the majority of Republicans 88.3%. Though, you know, some bills get voted on 30+ times while others only get voted on a couple of times, so the percentages don't mean as much as knowing which votes those were. Still, voting with the 100th Congress Republicans 88.3% of the time sounds pretty awful to me (though not as bad as voting with them more often), considering the things they've been voting for/against :)
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