John McCain, No Environmentalist

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In New Jersey today, John McCain called himself a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican” and said, “I’m proud of my environmental record.” This is a line — a myth, really — that McCain is sure to push in the general election.

True, John McCain does talk about the environment more than other Republicans. But that doesn’t make him an environmentalist, and his environmental record is nowhere close to the Democrats in the race. Take it from those who know best.

In 2007, the League of Conservation Voters rated McCain a zero on the environment because he skipped every vote the organization graded. (Vote-skipping is a serious problem for Johnny Mac.) At the time, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said:

“We were appalled two weeks ago when John McCain was the only Senator who chose to skip a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America-dooming the measure to fail by just a single vote. As it turns out, this was merely the most recent example of a clear pattern of missing the most important votes on energy and the environment–as his abysmal LCV score clearly demonstrates….

“[John McCain has] a lifetime pattern of voting with polluters and special interests instead of consumers and the planet when it comes time to stand up and be counted. Or perhaps worse yet: a consistent refusal to stand up and be counted at all.”

The President of the League of the Conservation Voters, Gene Karpinski, adds, “To his credit, McCain has made global warming a priority… [but] throughout his time in Congress, McCain’s voted pro-environment only one out of four times.”

Clinton and Obama also suffered due to vote-skipping in 2007, with LCV scores of 73 and 67 respectively. But the lifetime scores of the three candidates tell the true story. Hillary Clinton’s lifetime score is 87 percent. Obama’s is 86 percent. John McCain’s is 24 percent.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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