Who’s Who Among Presidential Candidates: John McCain

Who’s Who Among Presidential Candidates is a series of distillations of individual candidates’ views on 24 topics loosely grouped into four categories, as presented on non-partisan website On The Issues.

John McCain

John McCain is the senior Senator from Arizona (1987-present). Prior that that, he served as the US Congressional representative from Arizona’s first district (covering the northern, eastern, and southern parts of the state, including Flagstaff) from 1983-1987. He retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1981 after serving for 23 years as a naval aviator, including a combat tour in Vietnam and more than five years as a POW.


Foreign Policy – Believes the president must always abide by signed treaties.


Homeland Security – Voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Supports human intelligence (spies) as a means of finding/capturing Bin Laden.  Opposes all forms of torture, including waterboarding.

War and Peace – Opposes withdrawal of troops from Iraq, supports the surge. Number of casualties is the issue, not duration of conflict.

Free Trade – Supports global free trade.

Immigration – Supports securing borders and enforcing immigration laws. Supports deportation of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.

Energy and Oil – Voted to ban drilling in the ANWR. Supports nuclear power, alternative fuels, and emission controls.  Acknowledges reality of climate change.


Gun Control – Supports the Second Amendment (right to keep and bear arms). Opposes prosecution of gun manufacturers for crimes committed using guns.

Crime – Supports the death penalty. Concerned about arbitrary use of judicial power.

Drugs – Supports extradition of drug dealers from Mexico to US. Supports federally supported drug education and treatment programs.

Civil Rights – Supports Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Voted against Marriage Protection Amendment in 2006, but voted for DOMA in 1996.

Jobs – Voted to increase minimum wage to $7.25 in 2007. Believes unions are monopolies; should not force membership.

Environment – Believes economic and environmental interests are not mutually exclusive. Supports tougher emissions regulations.


Budget and Economy – Supports restricted spending and veto power to avoid/combat recession.

Government Reform – Supports McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. Supports eliminating earmarks and wasteful subsidies.  Supports reform of federal procurement programs.

Tax Reform – Voted against Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, but voted to make them permanent in 2006.  Supports eliminating the AMT and cutting corporate tax rates.

Social Security – Supports personal savings accounts.

Welfare and Poverty – Supports increased funding for child care and housing assistance for low-income families.

Technology – Supports banning Internet taxes and new cell phone taxes.


Education – Supports voucher programs and charter schools. Believes in evolution, but school districts should decide whether to teach creationism.

Health Care – Opposes a mandated universal system, mandated coverage. Supports tax-free medical savings accounts and tax credits.

Abortion – Pro-life, but supports exceptions for rape and incest. Supports federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Families and Children – Supports flex-time and unpaid family leave.

Corporations – Supports reducing the corporate tax rate to keep jobs in US, but voted against repealing the tax subsidy for corporations that move jobs overseas.

Principles and Values – Liberty comes from God.


Based on how his views align with the VoteMatch quiz topics, John McCain is classified as a Populist-Leaning Conservative. His positions on social issues favor government intervention, and on economic matters, he generally opposes government intervention.

John McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee. However, he’s considered to be a "maverick" as his views are not in complete alignment with the Republican platform, particularly the Religious Right. It’s possible that Republican voter turnout may suffer due to these differences.

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