This is impressive, and a phenomenon I watched in the 2000 Republican primaries – people see a very likable John McCain and ascribe their own positions to him… which he tacitly encourages, I’m sure, by not talking about certain hot-button issues very much. Good on him for not holding 100% to any one orthodoxy, but I wonder how some of these positions will play out in the general, once more ads start flying around.
On abortion, a number of people believe that Sen. McCain supports abortion rights. He doesn’t. At a town-hall meeting in March, he vowed: “I will continue my commitment to rights of the unborn so we can give every soul the chance to exist on this Earth.”
Yet nearly one in four women who support abortion rights and also support Sen. McCain believe that he shares their views, according to a Planned Parenthood Action Fund survey of women in 16 battleground states.
Planned Parenthood, which supports abortion rights, also found that about half of these supporters weren’t sure about Sen. McCains position. Just under 20% knew his stand on abortion but supported him anyway.
In fact, with the exception of fetal-tissue and stem-cell research, he has a long and consistent voting record opposing abortion. He supports sex-education programs that promote abstinence until marriage without any mention of contraception. ** On gay rights, he opposes same-sex marriage and voted against employment nondiscrimination legislation. He supports the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military and opposes expanding the federal hate-crimes law to include sexual orientation.** But he also opposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, saying it violates states’ rights.
On gun rights, he opposed the assault-weapons ban and mandatory waiting periods. But he co-sponsored legislation requiring background checks at gun shows. The National Rifle Association was bitterly opposed to limits set in the campaign-finance legislation Sen. McCain spearheaded.