Wednesday, January 23, 2008

John McCain's Truth

Michael Medved has an essential essay over at Towhall, "Six Big Lies About John McCain."

It's a comprehensive piece, but particularly good is Medved's response to conservative attacks on McCain's immigration record:

Alone among Presidential candidates, McCain has shown the courage to stand up against such simplistic sloganeering. No President will ever succeed in driving out all 12 million illegals – the greatest forced migration in all human history. Illegals represent more than 5% of America’s work force and the cost of firing and, ultimately, deporting for forcing out every one of those people would cripple the economy far worse than any recession. The immigration bills McCain supported (along with President Bush and the Senate Republican leadership of Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott and John Kyl) never granted “amnesty” or automatic citizenship for undocumented aliens. Instead, McCain’s idea of immigration reform always emphasized “earned legalization” and assimilation– not automatic privileges – in an effort to separate the immigrants who wanted to begin playing by the rules and to enter the American mainstream, from those who continued to defy those rules and have no long-term stake in the country. It’s not amnesty to charge $6,000 in fines and payment of back taxes, to require background checks and mastery of English, and to demand registry with the government and acknowledgment of wrong-doing before an immigrant received legal status. Before an illegal could become a citizen, the process required at least nine years (and in most cases fourteen) of cooperation, commitment and patience. Moreover, two crucial elements of last year’s immigration bill received almost no attention: under the bill any immigrant who attempted to enter America illegally after the passage of immigration reform would be apprehended, identified, finger-printed and biometrically recorded, and forever banned from receiving legal status to work or live in the United States. Second, the unfinished (and ultimately unsuccessful) compromise bill included a “trigger provision”: no illegal immigrant would receive legal status until after Congress certified that the border had been effectively secured. McCain emphasizes this provision in his current proposals: insisting we secure the border first, before we make arrangements for future guest workers and give a chance to some (but by no means all) current illegal residents to earn legal status in the U.S.
Medved's defense of McCain - on immigration or any of the other five issue-areas under discussion - won't satisfy the Arizona Republican's detractors, many of whom are intent to destroy his campaign.

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