Sunday, September 07, 2008

McCain vs. Obama: Vive la Difference?

It has been suggested to me more than once that there is not alot of real difference between John McCain and Barack Obama. If you think of McCain's liberal leanings, this is easily conceivable, but it occurred to me that the real telling would be in doing a direct comparison of their voting records while in the Senate. Man, talk about some serious, time consuming research! Fortunately, thanks to the Internet, someone else thought if it before me and already did the hard task of chasing down the data and presenting it. I believe the person credited with the research (bottom of article) may be an Obama supporter, but his presentation was pretty balanced.

These are organized issue by issue, and in no particular importance:


  • 2007 Immigration Act - McCain and Obama both voted for it (right before it failed).
    A bill prohibiting illegal aliens convicted of aggravated felonies, domestic violence, stalking, violation of protection orders, crimes against children, or crimes relating to illegal purchase or sale of firearms, from gaining legal status - McCain and Obama both voted against it.

  • Obama sponsored a bill that would raise the level of family sponsored immigrants from 226,000 to 567,000 - McCain voted against this.

  • The following one is just confusing. I guess I don't understand politics:

    Amendment that declared English to be the common language of the U.S. - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"
    Amendment making English the national language of the U.S. - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"
    Amendment making English the unifying language - McCain and Obama voted "Yes"

  • Triple-layered fencing along the Southern U.S. border - Both voted "Yes"
  • Double-layered fencing - both voted "No".

    The Constitution

  • Amendment against flag desecration - McCain: "Yes", Obama (and Hillary): "No"

  • Resolution criticizing for bashing General Petraeus - McCain: "Yes", Obama: did not vote (interesting)

  • Senate pay raises - Both "No" (only 6 voted "Yes")

  • Amendment opposing criticism of the U.S. military - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

  • Bill granting Habeas Corpus rights to U.S. detainees - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

  • Same sex marriage amendment - both voted against this.


  • Allow an amendment vote to increase government financial aid to Katrina victims by providing food, bankruptcy relief and tax help - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

  • Congressional commission to study what went wrong with Katrina - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"


  • Congressional committee to study how contracts were to be handed out in Iraq and Afghanistan - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

  • Additional $50 billion to fund Iraq - both voted "Yes"


  • Alito & Roberts - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"

  • Gonzalez - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"

  • Condoleeza Rice - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"


  • Bill limiting farm subsidies for married couples to $250,000 - cosponsored by McCain and Obama

  • Economic stimulus - McCain: "Yes", Obama: did not vote

  • Sunset of the estate tax - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"

  • Increase debt limit to 8.97 trillion dollars - both voted against this

  • Extend pay as you go until 2011 - both voted "Yes"

  • Temporary crude oil profits tax - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"


  • Ethics bill - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes" (although he wasn't a cosponsor of the bill he touts it as his most important achievements)


  • Drilling in ANWR - both voted "No"

  • Carbon and mercury limits - both voted "Yes"


  • Pell Grant increase - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"


  • $500 million to help vets deal with PSTD and substance abuse - McCain: "No", Obama: "Yes"

    Free Trade

  • CAFTA - McCain: "Yes", Obama: "No"
  • Free Trade agreement with Oman: both voted in support

    Stem Cells

  • Embryonic stem cell research - both voted "Yes"


They seem to agree on immigration, gay marriage, stem cells, and the environment, while differing on Supreme Court justices, taxes, Iraq, trade, and ethics.

As a strong proponent of Pro Life, I find McCain's soft stance on embryonic stem cell research particularly disconcerting, and I find it ironic that those who would consider McCain the "lesser of 2 evils" would do so partly based on Obama's very liberal stance on abortion. If respect for life is what moves you to be against abortion, there can be no reason for you to simultaneously support embryonic stem cell research. I suppose you could argue that their difference on appointing Supreme Court justices makes the Pro Life argument a mute point.

Add to that his voting record on protecting the institution of marriage and a historical soft stance on immigration, and I develop serious reservations about putting McCain at the helm even at the off chance it would usher in a Palin administration in 4 years. Add to my distaste that he is a certifiable "Global Warming Believer". The question to me is: can we afford 4 years of McCain, and more importantly, can I live with myself every day knowing I pulled the lever for him?

This coming from a Californian who is still regretful of putting the "Governator" in office; what an absolute disaster he has turned out to be.

Hat tip: Joe Rivett at

1 comment:

Mr. Grey Ghost said...

Actually McCain has gone on record saying that he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. However I do believe that he supports state rights in the manner.