First, Obama isn’t pursuing immigration reform. It’s pursuing him. The president spent his first year in office running from the issue. He dedicated just 37 words in his State of the Union address to immigration. It wasn’t until tens of thousands of people marched on Washington last weekend that Obama got up the nerve to climb out from underneath his desk. Even now, Obama won’t say what principles should guide an overhaul of immigration laws. All he will say is that he supports the legislative framework set out by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who will soon introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill around which the next immigration debate will be centered. As proactive as Obama has been in other matters, when it comes to immigration, he is strictly reacting to events going on around him.
Second, despite the hype and the demagoguery, immigration reform is as much a conservative idea as it is a liberal one…
I asked McCain if there was any truth to a story I’d heard that Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who also ran for the Republican nomination, taunted him during the primaries by implying that McCain was too simpatico to Latinos.
“Yeah,” McCain told me, “we were in a restaurant, and he just sent over a plate of nachos. What do you say to something like that? I just said, ‘Thanks very much.’”
When I asked him what he thought motivated Tancredo and his culture crusade, he didn’t mince words.
“Throughout our history,” McCain said, “we have had people who stoked nativist instincts.”