Obviously we’re into hair-splitting territory here with our new national leader. The immigration bill that died in the Senate a few months back resembled the similar bill that died in the Senate last year in that neither bore the name “amnesty” in their titles or anywhere else. But they were also similar in that they were both in fact amnesties for illegal aliens. No less a figure than Ed Meese, who was President Reagan’s attorney general during the 1986 amnesty, considered the 2006 bill amnesty, and McCain supported that bill. It didn’t have “amnesty” in the title but it did have McCain’s name on it. Meese also said that the 1986 amnesty was a mistake, and that the 2006 amnesty would also have been a mistake.
So I guess it depends on what you mean by “amnesty.” Actually, no, it doesn’t, because McCain did support “amnesty” as amnesty in 2003.
Everybody who cares about the issue knows where McCain has been on it, and they know that what he supported was an amnesty and that he supported it consistently. McCain had a better answer to immigration questions a few weeks back when he said that he’d learned his lesson and would support border security before attempting another “comprehensive immigration reform,” i.e. amnesty. The Straight Talker should’ve just stuck with that. It had the virtue of at least not being laughably easy to disprove.