It begins: McCain breaks with GOP on birthright citizenship amendment

The primary’s 10 days away, he’s sitting on a 20-point lead and outspending Hayworth three to one, and he should win the general comfortably. He’s finally out of danger, in other words.

Which means, for the first time in a long time … it’s Maverick time.

McCain told The Associated Press that, despite a statement he made last week that was widely interpreted as meaning he supported hearings on the 14th Amendment, he remains unconvinced that a change in the Constitution is needed. Instead, he argued that fully securing the border would help to solve the problem.

“When I was asked … I said ‘Look, if senators want to have hearings then senators have hearings, that’s how the Senate works, but I’m not requesting hearings,'” McCain said in an interview Thursday. “I’m devoting all my efforts to getting the borders secure, and if you get the border secure than the difficulties and challenges with this issue of people coming across our border illegally to have children is dramatically reduced.”…

When asked directly if would support such an amendment, McCain said: “No. I mean, first of all we’d have to have hearings, we’d have to find out what the argument would be, but I certainly don’t at this time.”

I wonder if Lindsey Graham will be doing any “clarifying” of his position too or if he’ll keep pushing in the interests of retaining a bargaining chip for the big amnesty push. In fairness to McCain, even enforcement advocates as stalwart as Mark Krikorian don’t regard birthright citizenship as a priority. It’s not citizenship for their kids that’s the chief incentive for illegals, it’s jobs, so if deterrence is the name of the game, punishing businesses for hiring “the undocumented” will put a bigger dent in the inflow of illegals than anything else. It’s better politics too, of course — tinkering with the Fourteenth Amendment makes for bad headlines no matter the context — and it’ll spare us any further lectures from Bush’s former aides about what terrible people we are. Exit question: Keep it going for bargaining chip purposes, a la Graham, or go the McCain route?