CQPolitics.com launched a strike of their own against the convention week attacks that the Democrats are launching against John McCain, in an attempt to tie him to President Bush now and to portray him as being a "Bush III" for the future. Titled A Reminder About McCain and the Use of CQ's Vote Studies and written by David Nather, it's basically a push-back against the Democratic Party for using Congressional Quarterly statistics in a way that is misleading, at best.
It looks like we'll be hearing an awful lot this week about how John McCain voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time last year. So it's time for a refresher course on what that statistic - which comes from CQ's annual vote studies - really means.
...As it turns out, though, last year is about the worst possible example the Democrats could use to make their point. Yes, technically, McCain did vote with Bush 95 percent of the time last year - when he showed up. But he only made 44 percent of those votes.
That's such a low percentage that CQ didn't even list McCain in the rankings of the senators who sided most often with Bush. (We only list senators who showed up for at least 50 percent of the votes.)
And because McCain was gone so much, most of the votes he cast were focused on just two issues: Iraq and immigration. Iraq is a legitimate subject for Democrats, since Bush and McCain both fought their efforts to end the war. But on immigration, Bush, McCain and the Democrats were on the same side.
Nather goes on to state that there are plenty of other years that the Democrats can use to point out how much of the time that McCain voted with Bush, but last year is just a terrible example to use since it can be so easily, and quickly, dismissed.
What Nather doesn't say is that the other years show a much lower percentage of Bush=McCain votes. I seem to recall that during President Bush's first term, the percentage was in the high 70s to low 80s. It didn't creep up until John McCain decided to run again for President - which presents its own set of problems for the candidate, mainly within the Republican Party. But the Democrats are desperate to use that 95% figure to support their meme, so the actual facts don't count.
As I've reminded people over and over again - John McCain made his name in national Presidential politics since 2000 as the anti-Bush Republican. To my regret, the Senator carried his personal crusade even further to also become the anti-conservative Republican of the 21st century. As a result, the Democrats have their work cut out for them trying to portray him as Bush's compadre to the present day GOP in any shape, manner or form. The liberal press coined the term "maverick" as descriptive of McCain for a reason, you know!