New piece in Philly Inquirer: McCain a Bush clone? These numbers dispute that
Does John McCain represent a third Bush term? The Obama campaign claims the two are almost indistinguishable. It was the mantra during the Democratic convention, and it is the theme of new ads Barack Obama is running. The ads claim that McCain is "no maverick when he votes with Bush 90 percent of the time."
This week Obama has begun a constant refrain that there is "not a dime worth of difference" between Bush's and McCain's views. It is a consistent theme of Democratic pundits on talk shows.
Is this the same McCain who drove Republicans nuts on campaign finance, the environment, taxes, torture, immigration and more? Where has McCain not crossed swords with his own party?
As it's being used, the 90 percent figure, from Congressional Quarterly, is nonsensical. As Washington Post congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman explained, "The vast majority of those votes are procedural, and virtually every member of Congress votes with his or her leadership on procedural motions."
Obama might want to be a little careful with these attacks, as the same measure has him voting with Democrats 97 percent of the time.
Fortunately, a number of organizations on the left and right provide useful evaluations on how congressmen and senators vote each year. These conservative and liberal groups pick the votes they care about most and figure out how often lawmakers match up with their positions. . . .
Brit Hume's Special Report lead with a story on my piece during his "Political Grapevine" segment.
My piece made it to the top section of Google News today (see highlighted line in blue).
The piece was the most emailed article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday.
It was the second most viewed article in the newspaper and the most viewed in the opinion section.