The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller does the voting public a great service today by taking a shot at evaluating the similarities and differences between President Bush and John McCain on the major issues of the day. Her conclusions:
They Mostly Agree On: Abortion and Judges, Education, Diplomacy with Iran and Syria, Immigration, Iraq (though he was a longtime critic of the war policy), Guantanamo Detainees (though McCain would close Guantanamo and transfer prisoners to the U.S.), Health Care, Medicare, Social Security, Same-Sex Marriage (though McCain does not currently support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage), Taxes, Trade, and Wiretapping/Executive Power (though, I would add, McCain opposes the use of “signing statements”).
They Mostly Disagree On: Climate Change, Energy and Oil Policy (McCain is more critical of oil company profits and against drilling in ANWR), Federal Spending, Interrogation Tactics (see here), and Arms Control (McCain wants new arms control talks with Russia, nuclear talks with China, and elimination of tactical nukes in Europe).
Obviously, these are somewhat clumsy categories, with lots of nuance that does not fit in a chart or a single story. But you can clip it and save it, and refer to it every time you hear McCain claim he is change or Obama claim that McCain is nothing more than third term for Bush.
UPDATE: Though McCain has criticized oil company profits as excessive, and called for investigations of possible price manipulation, he is coming out strongly against an oil company profits tax. This is from the text of a speech McCain will deliver later today in Houston:
[Obama] wants a windfall profits tax on oil, to go along with the new taxes he also plans for coal and natural gas. If the plan sounds familiar, it’s because that was President Jimmy Carter’s big idea too – and a lot of good it did us. Now as then, all a windfall profits tax will accomplish is to increase our dependence on foreign oil, and hinder exactly the kind of domestic exploration and production we need. I’m all for recycling – but it’s better applied to paper and plastic than to the failed policies of the 1970’s.