According to the February 14 issue of Time, Senator McCain’s “environmental record would make Teddy Roosevelt cringe,” voting against toxic-waste cleanups, supporting subsidies for mining on public lands — “in 1998 the League of Conservation Voters gave him a zero rating.”

Zero is not good.

Time quotes Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, author of The Buying of the President 2000: “The portrait McCain likes is the one of the plain-talking crusader who’s bucking the system. The one many others see is that of a politician who rarely breaks ranks with the special interests that finance his campaign.”

I don’t know whether that’s a fair assessment — it would hardly make him unique among Senators if it is — but anyone who thinks McCain is really a closet liberal should know that in addition to his zero environmental rating, he voted against the Brady bill and the assault weapons ban and opposes licensing handguns . . . “has repeatedly voted against minimum-wage increases and equal pay for women,” according to Time . . . and took the anti-choice position 82 times out of 86 votes in the Senate.

If YOU believe assault weapons should be widely available . . . if YOU would put mining interests above environmental interests . . . if YOU think it was a mistake to hike the minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.15, giving workers an undeserved boost (or was the argument that we just couldn’t afford it, it would cripple the economy?) . . . then John’s your man. But please don’t call him a closet Democrat. Gary Bauer, in endorsing him, didn’t fall for that, and neither should anyone else.

The Senator is a fine man in many ways, but as he says over and over again, he is a conservative Republican. He would very likely work with Trent Lott to confirm four new conservative justices to the Supreme Court, giving us not only a conservative Republican in the White House for four years, but a conservative Court for the next 25 or so.


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