McCain's tin ear.

A mostly political Weblog.
July 7 2008 5:01 AM

McCain's Tin Ear

Happy Fourth of July ... from Mexico!

(Continued from Page 6)

P.S:  A friend emails: "Obama's KATRINA. A little dramatic?"  Maybe. Obama's record on "affordable housing," as described in the Globe story, isn't a case of gross ineptitude in a catastrophic regional emergency. It's not even a symbol of endemic governmental dysfunction. (Although: Is there a bigger Petri dish for corrupt incompetence than the "public-private partnership"? Think cable TV franchises.) But the Globe account does seem to capture what's most likely to be wrong with an Obama administration.  After all, Obama's career has been unusually limited for a presidential contender. Housing and "community development" has been a big part of it. If the result has been a disaster in which Obama's friends made lots of money while his poor constituents lived in dangerous squalor, that seems like a big warning sign, no? At least an expectations-lowerer! George W. Bush, in contrast, hadn't dedicated a large chunk of his life to FEMA. ... P.S.: Plus Valerie Jarrett, one of the people who comes off poorly in the article, remains a  central Obama advisor. It's as if Brownie had Karen Hughes' job. ...   3:16 A.M. link

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Bring Back Bode: Why not bring back Ken Bode to host Meet the Press? His Washington Week in Review was just getting really good when he was fired to make room for the anodyne Gwen Ifill. ... Bode's about as far away in style from Keith Olbermann as you can get, something that seems to be important to MTPers who see their show as a holdout against creeping cable culture. ... 2:43 A.M.

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Where's the "First"? McCain appears before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, as reported in Politico:

McCain, speaking first, promised the approximately 700 attendees that resurrecting the bipartisan immigration bill he helped shape last year would be at the forefront of his agenda as president.

"It would be my top priority yesterday, today and tomorrow," McCain said in response to a question about whether he would pursue a comprehensive approach beyond his campaign promise to secure the border in his first 100 days in office.

Seeking to win some points for his initial support for a comprehensive immigration bill, McCain noted that his position "wasn't very popular ... with some in my party."

And, in remarks that could inflame those Republican border hawks, the Arizona senator made clear he would not just seek to secure the border first, as he promised in the primary.

"We have to secure our borders — that's the message," McCain said. "But we also must proceed with a temporary worker program that is verifiable and truly temporary."

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1) It looks as if the folks at The Corner are no longer in denial on whether McCain's "I got the message" talk during the primaries was a sincere shift to to a tougher stand on immigration.  It wasn't.

2)  Note that in the above remarks, and the  remarks highlighted by McCain campaign bloggerr Michael Goldfarb, the candidate says "we have to secure our borders" rather than "we have to secure our borders first."[E.A.] The missing "first" matters. With it, McCain's position sounds like Lou Dobbs'. Without it, McCain's position threaten to shade into full immediate support of semi-amnesty, with the inconsequential notation that of course reform wouldn't pass unless the public is convinced the borders are sufficiently "secure."  Comprehensivists have always claimed their legislation would secure the borders, remember. It's the "first" that made the difference for McCain, or seemed to.    

3) Is there any convincing evidence that actual Latino voters care as much about illegal immigrant legalization as Latino elected offiicials (or the journalists who cover them)?

4) Won't McCain's expedient abandonment of his expedient primary position produce loud conservative protests at the GOP convention? Does McCain worry about this--on the theory that discordant conventions make for losing presidential campaigns? Or does he welcome it, on the grounds that a noisy fight with his right wing would effectively distinguish him from his unpopular party (even though McCain's side in this fight would also be President Bush's)? ... 

Update: Mark Krikorian argues Obama is goading McCain into emphasizing "in increasingly strident terms his commitment to legalizing all the illegal aliens," which further inflames anti-legalization Republicans. McCain seems to be taking the bait, which would seem to make sense only if he hopes to win over, not just swing Latinos but also swing centrists of all ethnicities who've become allergic to the GOP. But is immigration the issue on which Mike Murphy's "white females and ticket-splitting independents" crave a break from Republican dogma? Aren't they equally uneasy about rushing to a Grand Comprehensivist Solution?  You'd think there would be more promising Souljah-esque, anti-base battlefields for McCain: Congressional corruption, excessive deregulation, stem cells and even abortion, no? ... 2:27 A.M. link

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