John Hawkins has delivered a reaction to John McCain’s apparent backtracking on border security yesterday that will undoubtedly reverberate around the blogosphere this weekend. Hawkins called McCain a “liar” and says that he will not vote for McCain in the fall. Both seem like overreactions to me, and John ignores some unpleasant reality.

First, I don’t read this statement as a huge surprise:

“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.”

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.”

McCain never pledged to give up comprehensive immigration reform. He pledged to secure the borders first, but even in the extensive quotes that John has in his post, he never promised to stop seeking a comprehensive solution for illegal immigration afterwards. Even in this sequence, he talks about border security first. I don’t see this as “breaking his security pledge”, as John puts it.

John and I have debated this before, and I know him to be an honest, impassioned, and effective advocate of strict enforcement policies, and opposed to any kind of normalization. If he chooses not to vote for McCain, he will make that choice with integrity and commitment. But not voting is a choice with consequences in a two-party system, and those consequences will impact a lot more than border security.

After November 5th, either Barack Obama or John McCain will be President. We can be politically correct and claim that Bob Barr or Ralph Nader could somehow overcome the combined weight of the Republican and Democratic parties, but realistically they can at best act as spoilers. Uncast potential votes for either candidate makes it more likely their opponent will win; conservatives who sit on their hands make it more likely that Obama will win the White House.

Does anyone believe that Barack Obama would be more committed to border security than John McCain? Not if they’ve paid attention. Obama is at best the same as McCain on immigration, and more likely to acquiesce to Democrats like Dick Durbin on another full-blown amnesty. Even if we consider that a wash, where else does Obama look better than McCain to conservatives?

  • Spending? No. Obama wants to eliminate the Bush tax cuts and increase federal spending by another $280 billion a year, with an eye towards nationalizing health care.
  • The war on terror and national security? Please! Obama wants to dismantle our nuclear deterrent, end work on missile defense, and do a full-scale retreat from Iraq just as the country has begun standing on its own for security.
  • Foreign policy? Only if conservatives have suddenly discovered a desire for direct meetings with sponsors of international terrorism like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Castro brothers, Bashar Assad, and Hugo Chavez. Even Obama’s own allies think this a bad idea.
  • Abortion? Obama voted to support partial-birth abortion.
  • Judges? Obama voted against the confirmation of John Roberts, putting him in the minority of Democrats.

The consequences of an Obama presidency go far beyond immigration. That is what voters need to keep in mind, especially given the likely Democratic victory in both chambers of Congress this fall. Immigration and border security are important issues, but they’re not the only ones, and stark differences exist between Barack Obama and John McCain. That’s what our vote should consider — all of the consequences of the election.

Jazz Shaw has more thoughts at TMV.

Update: A reminder of what an Obama presidency would bring, from Macranger and Rick Moran: