McCain’s No Maverick Next To Unpredictable Palin

Our guest blogger is James Kvaal, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Gov. Sarah Palin is a strong conservative, but she has an unpredictable streak, sometimes raising taxes or taking on business interests. Calling her a “mother, moose hunter, maverick,” the McCain campaign is trying to use Palin’s record to paint John McCain as a maverick too. But by drawing attention to McCain’s party-line platform, the comparison could backfire.

As mayor, Palin cut property taxes but also raised sales taxes to finance a new recreation center. John McCain once entertained higher tobacco and Social Security taxes, but now promises not to support any tax increases, no matter what.

When she became governor, Palin championed a new windfall profits tax on oil companies, collecting $6 billion last year. She also gave each Alaskan $1200 to help pay for higher energy costs. McCain opposes a bipartisan energy package because it repeals tax subsidies for oil companies and he also opposes a windfall profit tax to fund relief for families.

Palin took on the big oil companies that dominate Alaska’s economy. She rejected her predecessor’s plan for a natural gas pipeline, saying it was too generous to the big oil companies. McCain missed a vote to renegotiate sweetheart oil leases.

Palin has also vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, including controversial cuts for programs helping teenage mothers. McCain not only claims to be able to eliminate $100 billion in wasteful earmarks, a figure many times higher than the actual amount of earmarks, but on the campaign trail has said he supports particular uses of earmarked money.

John McCain once stood up to industry lobbyists on issues like the patient’s bill of rights, treatment of airline passengers and the sale of the broadcast spectrum. But nowadays he campaigns on corporate tax cuts, the oil industry’s agenda, and the deregulation of health insurance. Whether or not Palin is a maverick, McCain is promising to run his administration like he’s run his campaign: as an orthodox Republican.

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