October 30th, 2008
04:10 PM ET

McCain can't catch a break

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/29/navarrette.immigration/art.navarrette.jpg caption="Ruben Navarrette says John McCain has been a positive force on the immigration issue."]
Ruben Navarrette
Nationally syndicated columnist

Thanks to the immigration issue, many Latinos think of Democrats as the good guys and Republicans as the bad guys. It's an attitude that spells trouble for John McCain.

But it isn't that simple, and this election proves it. McCain - a Republican - risked his political career to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, while Barack Obama - a Democrat - was late to the issue and made some bad choices once he stepped into the debate.

I understand the larger argument. As I have written on many occasions, when Republicans ran Congress, they bungled immigration reform by clinging to an enforcement-only strategy, declaring English the national language, and ignoring anti-Latino racism.

Then, after claiming they were only against "illegal" immigration, Republicans tried to limit the number of Latino immigrants who come legally by abandoning family reunification as a principle of U.S. immigration policy.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Immigration • John McCain • Raw Politics • Ruben Navarrette
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. GF, Los Angeles

    Obama knows that if he does pander to the Latinos with immigration – he too will anger the rest of the U.S. as McCain did with his amnesty proposals before he won the nomination. Why do you think McCain has had to back away from this issue? It will most certainly cost him the vote because there are not enough legal Latinos to vote for him.

    October 31, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  2. Mike, Lake Worth, FL.

    McCain can't catch a break? He made this bed, now he has to sleep in it.

    October 31, 2008 at 7:20 am |
  3. ralph

    McCain is one of the original Neo-Cons. I've added a letter to describe the outcome for the economy every time they Trickle Down disaster in our economy. Instead of Far-Right Republicans I've decided to call them Nero-Cons. The conservative way they say government spending is to blame is to over look that the real problem is tax cuts that redistribute the wealth and the debt. Give the rich tax cuts and it shows up as national debt because the revenue lost must be borrowed. This really is like Wimpy saying I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a tax cut today. I'm tired of a tax plan Named Trickle Down that has not produced the desired revenue or jobs. Every time Trickle down has been used economic disaster follows. The break McCain will get is the end of the Bush tax cuts which he has flipped on to get the Nero-Con vote but it looks like they will be gone either way.

    October 31, 2008 at 5:35 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    Sir, you maybe right, but frankly from McCain too little too late and QED is electioneering.
    You cannot talk as you rightly point out about immigration without corresponding rights somehow to the families of such immigrants.
    Then you get into issues dear to many hearts in America about immigrants that allow multiple marriages and mutiple relatives.
    Stick with the law as it is, illegal immigrants are just that, deport them and fine employers heavily who take on such people without green cards and or social security mumbers, problem is the numbers exceed the total unemployed in America.
    So fix the system first. Even for Part time employment, no green card, no social security number no Job or heavy, heavy fines to National American businesses who employ such persons.
    Then when illegal immigration reduces, deal with those who are already here.
    Keep it simple stupid, cut off their ability to earn more in the US than in Mexico or from elsewhere as step 1.

    October 31, 2008 at 5:00 am |
  5. Jesse

    SEN. Cain can’t protect America from any harm no more than SEN. Obama. I say this because many Americans feel SEN. McCain is a hero and I don’t doubt the love and dedication that he has for his country but having served in numerous conflicts in support of our nations interests I understand what a war hero is. Jessica Lynch was captured because she went the wrong way in a convoy; does that make her an American hero? As a former convoy commander I know she was captured because she failed to follow proper procedures. I am in no way trying to take away from SEN. McCains’ tenure as a POW but was his capture a result of failure to follow proper procedures? I have wounds to show and boast about my service but I choose to not make it public but, I’m not running for president of the US of America. Maybe I should use it to my advantage and bring it up to be in my favor and just maybe I’ll get world class health care, several houses and allow Americans to feel sorry for me because my vehicle was hit by an IED while on a convoy in Iraq defending our nations freedom. Maybe, I’ll remain the former US Army Soldier that supported no matter what, the guidance and direction provided to me by my Commander-N-Chief and not a veteran who had a bad case of BAD LUCK.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:58 am |
  6. Lynn Arnold

    McCain's camp keeps going on about what a moral, impeccably ethical person he is. What about his, by his own admission, the cheating he did on his first wife? What about his starting a relationship with a wealthy woman before he was divorced, and even lying about his marital status? What does the religious right say about this? Why is this issue never mentioned? His arrogantly moral superiority really upsets me in light of this. I heard an interview where he was questioned about it, and he said," That was a long time ago, I've moved on"( this is a not a verbatim quote, but a paraphrase as best I can remember).Can we all move on with no consequence? It wouldn't bother me, we all make mistakes in judgement, except for his constant hammering about how "moral " he is.

    October 31, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  7. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT


    Its the far-right Republicans who support McCain, who want to build a fence.

    Its the far-right Republicans who want English ONLY laws.......BUT.......every FOUR years when they want the Latino vote will do .......SPANISH LANGUAGE ADS ........which is hypocritical!

    Its the same far-right Republicans, who called undocumented immigrants "illegals"........DEHUMINIZING THEM.

    Its interesting that Republicans can be so hateful, and call themselves , Christians!

    JESUS was clear, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

    Republicans= hypocrites.

    October 30, 2008 at 5:55 pm |
  8. Betty

    Well he sure caught a break last night on CNN. CNN refused to air Obama's infomercial, that he was going to pay for, but they saw fit to give McCain an hour of free air time on the Larry King Show. Hey CNN you are starting to show your true colors and it is looking pretty red.

    October 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  9. Cindy

    Great article! You hit the nail on the head! The only one of the two candidates who have any real plans on immigration or who cares about it is McCain. Obama is full of empty promises and oops I didn't mean to vote that way comments..as usual.


    October 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  10. Jim

    Come here legally & learn English, I have NO problem with you, In Fact I welcome you with open arms. HOWEVER if you come here ILLEGALLY
    then YOU ARE A CRIMINAL & Those who help you are Aiding & abbetting Criminals & That I have NO TOLERANCE for.

    October 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  11. jack zucker

    You are something else man. The guy's run the biggest smear campaign in history and you're still shilling for him. I'm willing to bet you'll be with foxnews within a couple years. I hope you're proud of supporting a racist and hate monger. You might be able to forgive that because of your inherent bias but I can't.

    October 30, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  12. Susan in Nc

    And, who's fault is it that McCain can't "catch a break"? It's no one's fault but his own. He has run the nastiest, ugliest, most divisive Presidential campaign in modern history - it's no wonder he can't "catch a break"!

    October 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Rod

    JM says he doesn't like the idea of spreading the wealth. JM says he wants to create wealth. As part of the top 2% of the wealthy in this country, I can't help but think that when he say he wants to create wealth he wants to create it for the top 2%. Where is this wealth going to come from? The 98% that creates most of the wealth in this country. The cost of electing another Republican to the White House is too great. Look at the stock market and the war in Iraq for evidence of want the price is. JM has twisted Robin Hood's philosophy of stealing from the rich to give to the poor. JM wants to take from the poor to make himself and the other 2% rich.

    October 30, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Alex

    So you think McCain can't catch a break? Being in my sixies, there is something I learned a long time ago and that is that most people make their own luck, both good and bad. When John McCain looks in the miror, he not only sees the enemy, but the person most responsible for his "bad luck." I am not an Obama supporter, but McCain accuses Obama of a host of things including "lieing." Well talk about the kettle calling the pot black....and I don't mean his race. McCain has said so many false things during this campaign, the biggest being is he'd run a "clean" campaign. I started off this campaign in support of John McCain, but his conduct and telling lies are the main reason why I no longer support the man and WILL NOT vote for him.

    October 30, 2008 at 4:22 pm |