The McCain Pander Ramps Up
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 08:58:19 AM EDT
While Mitt Romney might be getting all of the negative press for his botched pander attempt (this cover from today's Boston Herald is particularly brutal), the former Massachusetts governor is far from the only Republican in the field for 2008 whose blatant pandering has garnered notice in recent days. Take, for instance, Adam Nagourney's latest in The New York Times.
As he left Iowa, Mr. McCain said he was reconsidering his views on how the immigration law might be changed. He said he was open to legislation that would require people who came to the United States illegally to return home before applying for citizenship, a measure proposed by Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana. Mr. McCain has previously favored legislation that would allow most illegal immigrants to become citizens without leaving the country.
Mr. McCain, for example, appeared to distance himself from Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat with whom he formed an alliance last year on an immigration bill that stalled in Congress.
"What I've tried to point out is we couldn't pass the legislation," Mr. McCain said. "So we have to change the legislation so it can pass. And I've been working with Senator Kennedy, but we've also been working with additional senators, additional House members."
Mr. McCain focused instead on the proposal by Mr. Pence, a conservative. "Pence has this touchback proposal," Mr. McCain said at a news conference. "I said hey, let's consider that if that's a way we can get some stuff."
One might argue that this is an example of how politics should work: A candidate listening to actual voters on the stump and incorporating their concerns and beliefs into his own platform. After all, who needs expensive pollsters when you a candidate actually speaks with real voters, right?
But on the flip side of this coin, it becomes clear that not one of the three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination who are currently in the race has been able to refrain from pandering to ultra-conservatives in the worst kind of way, that not one has been willing to stick with his core beliefs even if they do not correspond with those of the far right. Romney's flip-floppery might be the most obvious and comical, but McCain has been no less of a blatant political opportunist and cynic. And with every one of these new tacks -- including leaving the cause of meaningful immigration reform in favor of bashing Hispanics -- McCain has proven himself to not be a man of integrity or genuineness but instead just another calculating politician willing to sell out his beliefs in the hopes of winning an election.