Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Senate Weakens Led By Sen. John McCain

The House recently passed a immigration bill recognizing that protecting the nation's borders is a serious matter of national security. It included strong provisions for protecting our borders, including the use of a fence along the Mexican border, like the one that has been very successful in San Diego.

However, the Senate Judiciary Committee stripped the bill of its strength before pushing it through to the Senate:
A key Senate panel broke with the House's get-tough approach to illegal immigration yesterday and sent to the floor a broad revision of the nation's immigration laws that would provide lawful employment to millions of undocumented workers while offering work visas to hundreds of thousands of new immigrants every year.

With bipartisan support, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to 6 to side with President Bush's general approach to an immigration issue that is dividing the country, fracturing the Republican Party and ripening into one of the biggest political debates of this election year. Conservatives have loudly demanded that the government tighten control of U.S. borders and begin deporting illegal immigrants. But in recent weeks, the immigrant community has risen up in protest, marching by the hundreds of thousands to denounce what they see as draconian measures under consideration in Washington.

This is a stance that shows no concern for national security, and does not take the issue seriously. By abandoning the key provisions that made the House bill a strong statement in support of a serious national security policy, the Senate version of the bill is weak and apathetic.

Here's what Sen. John McCain had to say about the Senate version of the bill, that he is co-backing with Sen. Teddy Kennedy:
"We are eager, once the Senate passes this bill, to sit down and talk with them, but there are certain fundamental principles which we simply cannot compromise on," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cosponsored the bill that passed the Judiciary Committee largely intact last night. "It has to be a comprehensive approach. As we all know, just building walls and hiring more border patrols are not the answers to our immigration problem."

Just as Sen. McCain has been wrong on all of the crucial issues of this past year, from the Gang of 14 crumble to legislative efforts with Sen. Feingold, he is wrong again now. John McCain is not a party man. He hasn't been for some time, and his record confirms this.

In every moment of crisis when the GOP needs him to step up and represent the party, he has backed off and pursued a compromise across the aisle. Every move he makes is calculated with his political future in mind. I guess he figures that if you step lightly enough you won't step on anybody's toes, and then everyone will like you. That way when the elections roll around you can sell yourself as a centrist who appeals to everyone.

But the truth is that the GOP base sees through these efforts, and will treat McCain accordingly.

It's time that the Senate Republicans step up to the plate and end a potential political disaster by joining the House in a strong stance on immigration that shows a concern for the nation's national security. But don't expect this effort to be led by Sen. McCain. He's always thinking about his own future above what's best for the party, and what's best for the country.