McCain: I want to name America's new immigration reform law after Ted Kennedy

A bon mot from his speech last night to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, preserved for posterity on Twitter by Benny Johnson of BuzzFeed. It’s a testament to Maverick’s eagerness to pander to his audience that he’d say something like this, knowing that House Republicans are already nervous about how amnesty will be received by conservative voters. In fact, a right-wing friend mine of who works in politics saw Johnson’s tweet and assumed McCain must have been joking. Surely, with immigration reform already imperiled by righty opposition, a GOPer already loathed by tea partiers wouldn’t offer up the effort as a prayer to Teddy’s memory. Would he?

The “Ted Kennedy Immigration Reform Act of 2014” has a nice, turnout-producing ring to it, don’t you think?

He was most definitely serious, says Johnson, although I could have told you that even without having been there. After all, for whatever strange reason, McCain has felt compelled to praise Kennedy before when trying to sell the Gang of Eight bill. January 28, 2013:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hailed the late Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy on Monday as a bipartisan group of senators laid out new principles for comprehensive immigration reform — perhaps handing opponents a weapon.

Kennedy and McCain led the effort for broad-based immigration reform that failed nearly six years ago, and McCain said this new push was nearly the same.

“If we do succeed, and I think we will, it will be a testimonial to Ted Kennedy’s effort years ago that laid the groundwork for this agreement,” McCain said. “You will find that this agreement has very little difference from that of the legislation that was led by Sen. Kennedy some years go.”

He was right about that last part, at least. I guess McCain thought at the time it was his job to reassure the left that the dastardly Republicans who were part of the Gang of Eight wouldn’t try to gut the bill’s legalization provisions, but Chuck Schumer’s membership in the group would have been reassurance enough for them. Besides, from the very beginning it’s been clear that Democrats, not Republicans, would provide most of the support in Congress for the bill. Either McCain totally misjudged which voting bloc needed pandering to or he’s so contemptuous of conservatives that he found it more important to taunt them with a Kennedy reference than to try to win them over by deep-sixing rhetoric like that. Imagine: This is the guy whose political acumen we were trusting to stop the Hopenchange juggernaut in its tracks in 2008.

Well, no harm done. Obama’s going to solve Congress’s problem for them sooner or later. Probably sooner.