John McCain, on the immigration bill he is co-sponsoring with Ted Kennedy, which rejects the House bill’s emphasis on border security, including fencing of the sort that worked in San Diego:
“We are eager, once the Senate passes this bill, to sit down and talk with them, but there are certain fundamental principles which we simply cannot compromise on,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cosponsored the bill that passed the Judiciary Committee largely intact last night. “It has to be a comprehensive approach. As we all know, just building walls and hiring more border patrols are not the answers to our immigration problem.”
The House bill reflected the number one priority of the party and the nation, which is security. The continuing refusal of many to acknowledge that the borders present a national security threat of the first order is why the immigration issue generally remains such a political nightmare for both parties.
In 2002 the Democrats obstructed the bill establishing the Homeland Security Department over demands from government unions on how the department would be organized.
Voters saw that as a dangerous inversion of priorities and punished the Dems at the polls.
Now some Senate Republicans have joined with Senate Dems to invert priorities again. The only sensible approach is to put the priority on the security issue and demand all other related issues take a back seat.
If the Senate passes an immigration bill that does not include fencing, the message will go out that the GOP is not serious about security. The voters already know this to be true about the Democrats, but McCain’s rhetoric threatens to strip the Republicans of their earned reputation for taking the threats to the nation seriously.
WaPo lefty Eugene Robinson understands what Senator McCain is up to, as the columnist turns from slamming the president’s proposal to an endorsement of the McCain-Kennedy bill:
Much better is the proposal by Sens. John McCain and Edward Kennedy that would declare what amounts to an amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
John McCain is, once again, seeking the approval of the Beltway elite at the expense of his party’s interests.