Thursday, June 10, 2010

McCain’s Last Battle

Great article from W. James Antle of the American Spectator and the American Conservative. Some excerpts -

The maverick tries to remake himself as a conservative.

It will be a tough sell. McCain has for decades been mass immigration’s main man in the Senate. A pal of professional open-borders agitators like Juan Hernandez, he spent most of George W. Bush’s presidency as the leading Republican supporter of amnesty under the guise of “comprehensive immigration reform.” McCain championed such legislation alongside the late liberal Ted Kennedy, carrying water for the immigration lawyers who helped write it.

McCain’s amnesty advocacy nearly derailed his 2008 presidential campaign, before the last iteration of McCain-Kennedy was voted down and he began to embrace the enforcement-first position preferred by most Republican primary voters. But one man stands ready to remind Arizonans of McCain’s past record: former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, an alumnus of the Republican class of ’94 who today challenges McCain for the GOP Senate nomination.

A conservative radio talk-show host and former sportscaster, Hayworth is not afraid to raise his booming voice against McCain’s immigration gymnastics. U.S. News and World Report quotes Hayworth calling McCain’s commercial “just hilarious.” The primary challenger says he will launch a website called “The Danged Truth” contrasting the new Minuteman McCain with the four-term senator’s previous positions.

Hayworth isn’t the only Republican looking askance at McCain’s immigration makeover. MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough laughed out loud after playing McCain’s “danged fence” ad on his show. “Brought to you by the guy who brought you Kennedy-McCain,” he said. Congressman John Shadegg, an Arizona Republican, was also obviously amused but said politely, “It seems like some politicians have changed ground on this issue.”

J.D. Hayworth hasn’t changed. Before he was unseated in the Democratic tsunami of 2006, Hayworth was viewed as one of Congress’ leading immigration hawks. He even published the book Whatever It Takes: Border Security, Illegal Immigration, and the War on Terror. In fact, his defeat was often cited by amnesty supporters as a data point against the popularity of immigration enforcement. Hayworth—who describes himself as the “consistent conservative” in the race—is positioned as one of this year’s conservative insurgents running against a candidate favored by the Republican establishment.

One of those AWOL federal officials was, of course, Senator McCain himself. The man who now wants to complete the “danged fence” once told Vanity Fair that he would reluctantly “build the goddamn fence if they [voters] want it.” Who knows what conversion may lie ahead if McCain is safely re-elected to a six-year Senate term?

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