Randall Hoven at The American Thinker examines the McCain record inlight of the widely touted 82 career American Conservative Union rating for the Senator. What is particularly interesting to me is that I was thinking about the same issue myself over the weekend. In short, an 82 rating is not all that good - solid conservatives are usually in the 90s.
"It puts Senator McCain in 39th place among senators serving in 2006, the latest year for which the ACU has its ratings posted online. For that most recent year in particular, McCain scored only 65, putting him in 47th place for that year. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), for example, scored 64 and 75, respectively, in 2006."
Any Republican comparable to Ben Nelson is pushing the envelope for liberalism. McCain has gotten far more libeal the longer he has served in the Senate - his pre 1998 rating is 88, while it is a 74 since that point.
Hoven analyzes each vote where McCain differed from the ACU position from 1998 through 2006 (48 votes), and finds that many of these votes (16, or 1/3) were quite close - the swing of even a pair of senators might have altered their outcome. The major issues of disagreement were taxes (15 votes alone), the environment (5), campaign finance reform (10) and lately immigration (3, all from 2006).
In ranking all the Senate Republicans since 1998, McCain score rates him on the far left wing of the party, with only four Northeastern Republican Senators with lower scores (Chaffee, Collins, Snowe, and Spector). Obviously, McCain is from reliably conservative Arizona, and his peer from that state, John Kyl, has a lifetime rating of 96.9, so one has to wonder who he is actually representing - himself? It obviously isn't his constituents.
Hoven repeats a line regarding McCain that is quite telling - "As someone remarked, McCain is like a baseball player who gets all his hits after two outs and no one on base, and all his outs with men in scoring position."