McCain would not change his vote against the Bush tax cuts if he did it all over again: (h/t Patrick Ruffini)
you don’t mind, I want to ask you a domestic policy question, a
straight talk question, if you will. In retrospect, was it a mistake
for you to vote against the Bush tax cuts?
No, because I had significant tax cuts, and there was restraint of
spending included in my proposal. I saw no restraint in spending. We
presided over the greatest increase in the size of government since the
Great Society. Spending went completely out of control. It’s still out
of control. Wasteful earmark spending is a disgrace, and it caused us
to alienate our Republican base.
Yes, we understand you wanted a decrease in spending but there is no way to justify denying tax cuts which helped our economy through some very troubling times (9/11) just because you didn’t get your way.
The degree to which McCain has abandoned contemporary conservatism
is reflected in the legislative program he has championed since Bush
took office. Most notably, of course, he shepherded campaign finance
reform–an effort that put him in close cooperation with Democrats in
Congress. McCain also collaborated with liberal Democrats John Edwards
and Ted Kennedy on a patients’ bill of rights; with Charles Schumer on
more widespread sale of generic prescription drugs; with Ernest
Hollings to put federal employees in charge of airport security–all of
which set him against fierce business lobbying. And he teamed up with
Evan Bayh to promote AmeriCorps, an effort Bush later co-opted with his
own smaller AmeriCorps boost.
But perhaps most amazing has been McCain’s willingness to take
stands even many Democrats are afraid of. He voted against Bush’s tax
cut, the centerpiece of the new president’s agenda. Along with John
Kerry, he sponsored legislation to raise automobile emissions
standards, and he paired with Joe Lieberman to try to force Bush to
reduce greenhouse gases in compliance with the Kyoto accord. Also with
Lieberman, McCain has proposed forcing people who buy firearms at
gun shows to undergo background checks–closing the “gun-show
loophole”–even as most Democrats shy away from any form of gun control.
He has infuriated the gambling industry by proposing to ban wagering on
college sports. And along with Carl Levin, he has co-sponsored a bill
to force companies that deduct executive stock options from their taxes
to disclose the cost on their financial statements–another effort few
Democrats have been willing to join.