Buried within this hissy-fit by John Hawkins over John McCain’s position on immigration is this gem:
Put very simply: John McCain is a liar. He’s a man without honor, without integrity, who could not have captured the Republican nomination had he run on making comprehensive immigration a top priority of his administration. Quite frankly, this is little different from George Bush, Sr. breaking his “Read my lips, no new taxes pledge,” except that Bush’s father was at least smart enough to wait until he got elected before letting all of his supporters know that he was lying to them.
What ahistorical nonsense. This is completely different from Bush 41, who did campaign after making an anti-tax pledge, but, as leaders often do, they sometimes have to put aside campaign promises and reverse course when reality on the ground dictates that they do.
Bush, faced with a recession, a rising deficit, and a hostile Congress, and confined by Graham-Rudman-Hollings, had two choices- he had to either make deep cuts that neither party favored (and probably would not pass Congress), or he had to cut a deal. And cut a deal he did. You might want to look into this time period- some really interesting names show up- Dick Darman, Dan Rostenkowski, John O’Neill, etc.
But back to the point- this is nothing like the Bush tax pledge- Bush wasn’t secretly excited about raising taxes, it was something he did out of necessity. To the contrary, it appears that McCain is quite clearly running on a platform of immigration reform. Were this to be “little different” from Bush, McCain would need to run on the anti-immigration rhetoric you all want to hear and then, in the middle of his administration shift course.
I really don’t know how people who claim to be Republican die-hards would not remember this pretty important piece of the GOP collective history, although I suspect it is part of the effort to maintain the Reagan legacy as someone who did nothing but slash taxes (also nonsense- the great gizgoogle can lead you to all sorts of interesting things, such as TEFRA, the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the Omnibus Reconciliation Acts from the time period-notably 85 and 87, and so on), and it was the elder Bush who came along and betrayed conservative principles and started raising taxes.
Back to the point. As James Joyner points out, this isn’t even a switch for McCain:
McCain is not feeling his way around on this one. He’s represented a border state in the Senate for 31 years and has been a passionate leader on this issue. Why would anyone think he’d turned 180 degrees in the middle of a presidential run? For that matter, why would they want to trust the leadership of their country to someone who had?
Instead, he took his beating on the issue like a man, announced that he’d learned that he’s not going to get his way without addressing the security issue first, but reiterated that he thinks we need a comprehensive, humanitarian approach to the problem.
No wonder all these folks can do when asked to recite history is break out their “USA #1” foam finger and scream “appeaser.” That being said, maybe it is a good thing they do not remember history, as it was widespread conservative disapproval with Bush that helped lead to his defeat. If conservative outrage over immigration is going to help lead to President Obama, I am more than ok with that.
Modern Conservatives and “history”