The McCain-Kennedy immigration bill is to the Arizona senator a
Harriet Miers nomination and a ports deal rolled into one and cubed. That it follows McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14 only nails down the undeniable truth of the proposition that John McCain will never submit his political self-interest to the collective interest of the GOP. As with the Gang of 14, Senator McCain has dragged Ohio’s DeWine and South Carolina’s Graham with him, leaving me very discouraged about the ability to rally people to DeWine’s cause in the fall.
As I discuss at length in the new book, GOP voters value party loyalty and always have. Forcing a jam down through Judiciary with the help of his smitten colleagues and Democratic votes deals the party an enormous blow, and threatens not only DeWine but all the other shakey Senate seats as well as the potential pick-ups in New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska
That’s not party loyalty. That’s party self-loathing.
The GOP has to run in November on its strongest card which is the reliability of the president and the party he leads in the GWOT. The ports deal dented that earned reputation, but not badly, and not for long.
Blowing off border security –a real fence, not a “virtual” one, serious ID reform and various other steps– in order to court national approval from the center-left does more than endanger McCain’s presidential ambitions though.
It endangers future SCOTUS nominees and even the war.
Senator McCain likes to remind audiences that he’s 100% behind the president on the war.
But that’s not possible when ambition overwhelms the party’s best political interests. Lose the Senate and you almost certainly will end up losing the war. Lose the House and the Senate and that loss is certain.