How Fair Is the 'Third Term' Jab?

McCain offers some differences, but largely agrees with Bush
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2008 9:06 AM CDT
John McCain left, shakes hands with President Bush before the president boarded Air Force One Tuesday, May 27, 2008, in Phoenix.    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – With President Bush posting record disapproval ratings, Democrats have gleefully dubbed a John McCain presidency a "third Bush term." The claim is at least partially justified, reports the New York Times in an analysis of the "McBush" charge—McCain agrees with Bush on taxation, health care, the war, abortion, and judicial appointments. But they diverge on questions of the environment, diplomacy, and nuclear proliferation—which the McCain campaign is playing up.

While it remains unfair to paint McCain as a doctrinaire conservative, he has lost his reputation as a maverick over the years. His biggest shifts have been on economic policy: he now supports the huge Bush tax cuts he once ridiculed. But a McCain presidency would introduce departures; for instance, the candidate has vowed to impose mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.