Friday, July 11, 2008

McCain ad: A waste of money

Ed Morrisey says:

This is a monumentally stupid ad. It spends a full minute saying nothing about the issue it supposedly addresses, and it insults the intelligence of the people whom McCain is trying to woo.
It's hard to guess what purpose this ad was intended to serve. Surely McCain HQ/RNC doesn't imagine that this ad will win over Hispanics, do they? Any Latino who has any sensitivity for this kind of patriotic appeal is probably already a Republican. I could see maybe -- maybe -- this ad helping fire up some Cuban-Americans in Florida or thoroughly assimilated Tex-Mex in Texas. But that's about it.

What McCain (and, I guess, his handlers) don't seem to get about the immigration issue is that opponents of amnesty don't base their opposition on a dislike of Hispanics, and they resent like hell being told that they are anti-Hispanic bigots, which is what this ad does.

"Hispanics are good people," is the sum and essence of the ad's message. Well, who said Hispanics aren't good people? Not me. Not Peter Brimelow or Mark Krikorian or any other conservative critic of McCain's amnesty plan. So exactly who is McCain arguing with here? Where are these hate-filled bigots?

Nowhere. Like all advocates of open borders, McCain falls into the habit of arguing against a fictitious strawman -- the intolerant and irrational xenophobe who hates all foreigners. But liking or disliking foreigners, per se, has nothing to do with the question of whether our laws should be enforced.

You don't have to be a hatemonger to think that 15 million illegals is 15 million too many, and that rather than worrying about how to grant them "guest worker" status, we ought to be worrying about how to control our borders so the number of illegals doesn't swell to 20, 25, 30 million.

The United States already grants legal residency to about 800,000 immigrants in the average year. What amnesty supporters are saying is that this number -- which far exceeds the number of annual immigrants accepted by any other country on earth -- is too low. Amnesty supporters say that America is heartless and hateful and that we have been too stingy with green cards. Amnesty supporters say, in effect, that the legal number of immigrants should be 1.5 million -- an extra 700,000 a year -- and that this policy should be made retroactive so as to cover the 15 million who've illegal crossed our borders in the past 20 years.

Amnesty is simply bad policy, and to accuse amnesty opponents of bigotry -- as Senator McCain has repeatedly done -- is harmful and false.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder, who appears to be on the very short list of reporters who get press releases from Team McCain, says the ad is "meant to demonstrate McCain's willingness to challenge his party." Great. He's challenging the party on an issue where 70% of Americans support the conservative position of stricter border enforcement, and 70% oppose McCain's open-borders amnesty/guest-workers position.

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