Posted by: Jeff | April 28, 2010

Two McCains

If it doesn’t seem long ago that Sen. John McCain was a maverick fighting for comprehensive federal immigration reform, well, it wasn’t.  Now he is not only not a maverick, but he also embraces Arizona’s new reactionary right-wing legislation that polarizes the cause of immigration reform, making it potentially more difficult to achieve.

McCain this week on the Bill O’Reilly show:

O’REILLY: Now, next week, the governor is going to sign, we believe, a very stringent state law that gives the police in Arizona very, very broad authority to question people. And a lot of people say it’s going to be racial profiling. You’re going to look for Hispanics, question them, to see if they’re here legally or not. And it’s just not fair. And you say why?MCCAIN: I say that the federal responsibilities have not been fulfilled. Therefore, the states are acting — the state of Arizona is acting and doing what they feel they need to do in light of the fact that the federal government is not fulfilling its fundamental responsibility to secure our borders. Our borders must be secure.

O’REILLY: But what about the racial profiling? You know that’s going to happen has to happen.

MCCAIN: I hope — I would be very sorry that if some of that happens. And I regret it, but I also regret the — really, it’s not just the murder of Robert Krantz.  It’s the people whose homes and property are being violated. It’s the drive-by that — the drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway. Look, our border is not secured. Our citizens are not safe.

Clearly, the first part of McCain’s response is correct – the federal government has not done anything on immigration reform.  And the problem lies with Congress – both Presidents Clinton and Bush were on board for comprehensive reform.  In fact, to his great credit, President George W. Bush in 2007 urged the Senate to consider cloture yet again after three previous filibustered attempts.  And once again, the cloture vote failed (46-53).  Who voted against cloture?  Well, just take a look.

It’s a strange shift then.  The McCain of 2007 led a charge for reform that was blocked largely by his Republican colleagues.  Now a Democrat is in the White House and emotions are escalating in Arizona, and McCain has run to a right-wing that bemoans a lack of change.  Huh?

Well, there is another McCain that seems to see the issue a bit more clearly.  John McCain’s daughter Meghan is no stranger to controversy – she’s drifted toward the political middle on issues before, and is a lightning rod for disdain among a far-right-trending conservative base.

She has a new editorial up at The Daily Beast:

Let me say upfront that I do not support the bill that was signed by Governor Jan Brewer. I believe it gives the state police a license to discriminate, and also, in many ways, violates the civil rights of Arizona residents. Simply put, I think it is a bad law that is missing the bigger picture of what is really going on with illegal immigration. The concept that a law-enforcement official can stop an individual when “reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an alien, who is unlawfully present in the United States” is essentially a license to pull someone over for being Hispanic.


Thus far, I think that both Arizona legislation and the national media have done a poor job articulating the real problems with illegal immigration in Arizona. And like all things in this country, partisan politics is getting in the way of actually solving the problem in an effective manner. I emailed a good friend of mine who lives in Arizona and also works in politics to ask him what he thought of the law and he answered: “Arizona is ground zero for the wingnuts. There’s a problem with illegal immigration and no one wants to do anything constructive about it so you get crap like this.”

Indeed.  Here’s hoping that this aberration can be struck down so that we can engage in a serious debate about the monumental problems posed by insecure borders and illegal immigration.



  1. […] through hard work on Arizona’s ranches and farms is counter-productive, and just serves to embitter Hispanic constituents against the American political […]

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