John McCain was interviewed on KFYI radio in Phoenix today (Tuesday Feb 16, 8 am hour). Beyond sounding, oddly, like a lobbyist for the nuclear industry, he made several comments that should be very interesting to American Thinker readers, conservatives or Republicans. (A good drinking game would be to listen to the interview and take a drink every time you hear the word "nuclear." The interviewer, by the way, never brought up the subject.)
A small part of his interview concerned my article on him and his challenger, J.D. Hayworth. McCain said he never heard of American Thinker. When confronted with his American Conservative Union and National Journal scores, he simply dismissed them as confusing and irrelevant and referred to his record on earmarks, etc. He said we should look up other ratings, such as his National Taxpayers' Union scores, for example. I looked up the NTU's scores. McCain had no NTU scores for either 2007 or 2008. His previous scores (with rank, of 100 senators) were as follows:
2006: 88% (6)
2005: 78% (11)
2004: 77% (14)
2003: 72% (33)
2002: 64% (23)
2001: 66% (46)
Note that 2001, when he ranked only 46th best, tax-wise, was the year President Bush was trying to get tax rate cuts.
Hayworth's scores were as follows, where I also give the ranking as a percentile, since there are 435 members of the house (rather than the 100 members of the Senate):
2006: 72% (39, top 9%)
2005: 69% (31, 7%)
2004: 75% (40, 9%)
2003: 64% (74, 17%)
2002: 61% (49, 11%)
2001: 72% (34, 8%)
If McCain wants to compare only their 2006 scores, he edges out Hayworth by a smidgeon: his top 6% of the Senate versus Hayworth's top 9% of the House. But in any other year, Hayworth did better in rankings. In 2001, the year that Bush's tax cuts were voted on, Hayworth was in the top 8% of the House while McCain was treading water at 46% -- pretty bad for a Senate that had only 49 Republicans in it.
In short, NTU scores tell pretty much the same story that the ACU and NJ scores did: Hayworth is more conservative than McCain.
Regarding TARP, McCain supported his TARP vote, but said the way the money was actually used was a "disgrace." I guess a member of Congress with 27 years experience would never guess such a thing might happen, that you could hand over a $700 billion slush fund to the Treasury Secretary and it would be spent badly.
But here is the big news. At one point in the interview McCain made a blatantly false statement. They were talking climate change. (Refer to time 5:00 on the recorded interview.)
Interviewer (Barry Young): "If we knew then what we know today about these [climate change] scientists and this fraud, would you still be in favor of capping carbon emissions at the 2000 level?"
McCain: "I've never, never favored it at a certain level."
"The bill would cap the 2010 aggregate emissions level for the covered sectors at the 2000 level."
The actual text of the proposed legislation is available from the Library of Congress. In more legalistic language, it states in Section 331:
"(a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator shall promulgate regulations to establish tradeable allowances, denominated in units of carbon dioxide equivalents, for calendar years beginning after 2009, equal to--
(1) 5896 million metric tons, measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalents, reduced by
(2) the amount of emissions of greenhouse gases in calendar year 2000 from non-covered entities."
In fact, that "certain level" that McCain "never, never favored" was exactly 5896 million metric tons. He not only favored it; he sponsored it.
In short, when John McCain said, "I've never, never favored it at a certain level," he
- either forgot legislation he sponsored only five years ago,
- did not know what was in that legislation,
- was being Clintonesque because the cap only covered 85% of the market,
- or was lying.
One last thing McCain said that was interesting to me regarded Campaign Finance Reform. He said he regretted that the Supreme Court overturned McCain-Feingold because he knew of examples of corruption.
"I saw corruption in Washington... I saw people, soft money, chairmen of committees call up unions and business people and say, ‘I need a six-figure check. Your legislation is up before my committee tomorrow.'"
That example is rather mind-blowing, in my opinion. First, it was not a case of a lobbyist pressuring a poor legislator trying to do the people's business. It was the opposite: a legislator extorting a business or union. Secondly, if McCain "saw" this, as he said, was he not a witness to a crime?
But instead of reporting a crime, he sponsored legislation that would violate free speech, that would make it illegal for honest citizens to get together to pay for billboards, newspaper ads or TV ads that might favor one candidate over another before an election.
McCain's interview, if analyzed with any curiosity or criticality, was nothing that should make an Arizonan Republican vote for him.
Hat tip: Russell Cook