“Senator Kennedy and I tried very hard to get immigration reform, a comprehensive plan, through the Congress of the United States,” he said. “It is a federal responsibility and because of our failure as a federal obligation, we’re seeing all these various conflicts and problems throughout our nation as different towns, cities, counties, whatever they are, implement different policies and different programs which makes things even worse and even more confusing.”Ace, DrewM, and Ed Morrissey have all given their takes, and everyone's favorite Nickelback-listening, WWF-watching 'tard has even gone so far as to state that he will not be supporting McCain in the fall on this basis. I think worry about these comments is premature. I agree with Jim Geraghty:
He added: “I believe we have to secure our borders, and I think most Americans agree with that, because it’s a matter of national security. But we must enact comprehensive immigration reform. We must make it a top agenda item if we don’t do it before, and we probably won’t, a little straight talk, as of January 2009.”
Team McCain tells me the senator's comments were poorly worded. There's been no discussion within the campaign of altering their stance on illegal immigration, and as far as everyone on the campaign is concerned, the policy is still, 'secure the border first.'I think that if McCain meant these comments the way bloggers are taking them, he is profoundly stupid. He likes to agitate conservatives, but I doubt he thinks agitating conservatives is worth losing the election.
I said, "so, this change away from border-security-first wouldn't happen, unless John McCain and his top advisers had gotten together, studied it in great detail, weighed all the advantages and disadvantages, and came to the carefully-considered conclusion that they're really not interested in winning the election?" The strategist laughed and agreed.
This would be like Sen. Obama saying "You know what we need on the table as of January 2009? We need to start a massive government program to cure AIDS. After all, the government started it, so they need to stop it." (Or, noting agreement iwth any number of crazy Hate-monger Wright sayings.) Sure, McCain may believe it and he may even try to resurrect amnesty, but he's not going to start beating that drum until he wins the general election.