Yesterday, ThinkProgress talked to right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham, who was spending time in the Huffington Post Oasis in the Big Tent at the Democratic National Convention. Ingraham told us that she sees virtually no similarities between the policy positions of President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and that it is pointless for progressives to argue as much. From our interview:
He’s pretty much been different from President Bush on every issue other than on the war, and even on the war, he was very critical of how it was being handled. So I’m not sure, if I were a Democrat, I wouldn’t focus on the Bush angle. I mean, Bush will be gone in four months.
The similarities between the two men is uncomfortable for conservatives because it’s something the majority of the public recognizes. A recent Gallup poll found that 68 percent of Americans are either concerned that McCain would pursue policies similar to those of Bush.
Time after time, McCain has refused to show how his presidency would be anything but a third Bush term. In 2008, McCain voted with Bush 100 percent of the time, according to a May CQ analysis; in 2007, he voted with the President 95 percent of the time.
Even on the issue of climate change — which conservatives like to point to as a main difference between Bush and McCain — there are increasing indications that McCain plans no changes. Although McCain has said that he believes global warming is real, the Washington Times recently reported that McCain plans to “run on the final version” of the Republican party’s election platform, which is “loaded with caveats about the uncertainty of science and the need to ‘resist no-growth radicalism’ in taking on climate change.”
On Iraq — which Ingraham said McCain was “very critical of how it was being handled” — McCain was actually in lock-step with the Bush administration’s stay-the-course policies from day one.
Also during the interview, Ingraham hinted that right-wing talk radio will stage a rebellion if McCain chooses a pro-choice vice president, such as Joe Lieberman:
Talk radio exists because there’s a very big constituency for it. A lot of conservatives, and other people too, by the way. … I think that John McCain is going to see, that if you look at every successful Republican nominee over the last 28 years — pretty much had a pro-life ticket. Why infuriate a very important part of the base? For what? It’s not like liberals are going to vote for you because you put Joe Lieberman on the ticket.
Rush Limbaugh recently compared McCain choosing a pro-choice VP to “committing suicide.”