John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has scored a stunning zero out of 100 on the latest League of Conservation Voters Scorecard, which rates elected officials on their votes in the most recent Congress.
McCain skipped every one of the 15 votes that the League of Conservation Voters deemed critical measures for the environment, including votes where the Arizona Senator's yea would have meant passage by a single-vote margin.
McCain has won support from many environmentalists, including Republicans for Environmental Protection, because he has championed action to combat global warming since 2003 and was the only serious presidential candidate to take such a strong position on the defining environmental issue of our time. He's bucked Republican lines on other hot-button issues, too, like drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and building roads through national wilderness areas. But his absenteeism on important votes this session calls into question his reputation as a maverick who might buck the party line on some energy and environmental issues.
"Out of 535 Members of Congress, John McCain is the only one who chose to miss every single key environmental vote scored by the League of Conservation Voters last year. When it came time to stand up and vote for the environment, John McCain was nowhere to be found," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Every other Member who received a zero from LCV last year at least had the temerity to show up and vote against the environment and clean energy time after time. And unlike John McCain, I doubt any of them would claim to be environmental leaders or champions on global warming."
His defenders say the hard climb to the Republican nomination has kept him from the Senate floor, but that the end result is worth that sacrifice, given that he's shown more leadership on environmental issues than his competitors.
The Democrats running for president scored better. But absenteeism, primarily, kept them from scoring above about a C.
Sen. Hillary Clinton scored a 73%, having lost points for missing four votes.
Sen. Barack Obama scored a 67%, having lost points for missing four votes, and for voting against a failed measure to establish a Water Resources Commission that would have prioritized water resources projects in the United States. Clinton voted for the measure.
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