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Third Term

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Elisabeth Bumiller has a fairly bland run down of the similarities and differences between McCain and Bush but she gets to the right place when she concludes that -- well he's the same as Bush:

A look at Mr. McCain's 25-year record in the House and Senate, his 2008
campaign positions and his major speeches over the last three months
indicates that on big-ticket issues -- the economy, support for
continuing the Iraq war, health care -- his stances are indeed similar to Mr. Bush's brand
of conservatism. Mr. McCain's positions are nearly identical to the
president's on abortion and the types of judges he says he would
appoint to the courts.

Right -- so on economic issues, the biggest foreign policy issue, the biggest domestic policy issue, and on social issues -- McCain is clearly in line with George Bush. Yet Bumiller is still giving John McCain way way too much credit:

On diplomacy, Mr. McCain has regularly distanced himself from the go-it-alone unilateralism of the Bush administration...In the same vein, Mr.
McCain has significantly broken with Mr. Bush on nuclear security
policy. Unlike the president, he supports a legally binding accord
between the United States and Russia on limiting nuclear weapons, the
elimination of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, a strengthening of
the Non-Proliferation Treaty, increased financing for the International Atomic Energy Agency and nuclear talks with China.

This is a case where a reporter is simply regurgitating campaign rhetoric without thinking. Can someone please explain to me how John McCain plans to kick Russia out of the G-8, move forward on national missile defense, and still plans on establishing good trusting relations with Russia on nonproliferation that will lead to a mutual reduction in both of our nuclear arsenals. THESE ARE CONTRADICTORY VIEWS and together these views represent a completely incoherent foreign policy vision.

Additionally, how McCain can be called more favorable toward "diplomacy" than George Bush when he is not in favor of diplomatic talks with Iran or Cuba, adopts a more hardline approach toward North Korea, is in favor of kicking Russia out of the G-8, repeatedly belittled our European allies in the run-up to the war in Iraq and has hardly been an advocate of the UN. That is certainly not the record of someone who believes in diplomacy.

All of this being said -- Bumiller manages to miss the biggest reason why McCain will be a continuation  of George Bush -- McCain adamantly adheres to the neoconservative vision of foreign policy. In fact as the Economist noted in 2002, John McCain had George Bush's foreign policy before George Bush. This is not just some campaign line -- it happens to be the truth.