My thoughts on a favorable McCain piece by Ruben Navarette

October 29th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Over the weekend, I read this piece that appeared in the Long Beach Press-Telegram by columnist Ruben Navarette that was pretty favorable toward Senator John McCain. I was struck by how one dimensional the piece was and again bothered that one’s stance on immigration was spun into somehow standing up for the Latino community. Once again, one of our own decided to take a limited view of the Latino electorate, looking at us through the narrow lens of immigration, seemingly forgetting that so many of us are not immigrants and haven’t been immigrants for generations. Yes, immigration reform is important, no doubt there, but when it comes down to it, Latinos are being swayed by bread and butter issues, as Professor Adrian Pantoja of Pitzer College points out here, “Certainly, the deportation of a loved one could be a personal blow. But the impact is not as significant as the loss of a job or the loss of a home or the loss of a child in Iraq.”

One thing that I want to explore is McCain’s position on immigration. A few months ago, I blogged about how The Sanctuary bloggers, a nonpartisan group, sent out an immigration related questionnaire to both the Obama and McCain campaigns. It wasn’t the McCain campaign who responded to the questionnaire. However, Barack Obama’s campaign did. If McCain has long supported Latinos as Navarette suggests, why couldn’t he go on the record and answer The Sanctuary bloggers? To me, the obvious reason is that McCain has danced around the immigration issue, as have other politicians.

John McCain once supported the bipartisan immigration reform bill that had his name on it (McCain-Kennedy), but he has now told the public that he would no longer support that bill to instead focus on securing the borders first. Border walls don’t address the root cause of immigration, but they can create havoc with residents on both sides of the wall and don’t seem to be a good long term solution. Eventually, people will find a way around the wall. We have miles of unsecured shore and unsecured border with Canada. Would we eventually resort to building walls and barriers around the rest of the country too?

In the past McCain has said that amnesty would be an important part to immigration reform, but now he won’t affirm that statement. Coming from a border state, McCain has a unique opportunity to build bridges, but he doesn’t seem to be a trailblazer on immigration reform. Another thing that he has mentioned is creating a new guest worker program. I don’t have to go to great lengths to describe the problems with the Bracero program, but you can check out this site at UC Berkeley for a short lesson.

Sure, John McCain has served in the Navy with other Latinos, and yes, he has been honored by NCLR for not wanting to make English the official language of the land, and in the past has said that he would welcome immigrants to America to perform jobs that Americans won’t do, but lately he’s been all over the map. When Ruben Navarette says that McCain has long supported Latinos, I think that he’s referring to a John McCain from a few years ago, a man who hadn’t sold his soul to the extremists in his party, or there’s always the possibility that Navarette knows something that we don’t.


Tags: Barack Obama · Immigration · John McCain · National Council of La Raza · Presidential Elections · Ruben Navarrette

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jammer // Oct 30, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    John Mclame sold his soul to the extreme right wing of the gop. Don’t expect any favors for immigrant Latinos from him. but he can see Mexico from His house(s) in Arizona and California, and he does have Mexican gardeners and maids. So he is ready to help the Latino community “my friends”

  • 2 BettyM // Oct 30, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    You have made some very good points and I read the article Navarette wrote. He states that “McCain hopes Latino voters focus on his support for small business, his pro-life position and his support of the military”. I do not want our young Latino men and women joining the military. Most join because they feel this is the only way they can afford to further their education. McCain can support small business and pro-life – good for him – but support education and maybe this country can dig its way out of the mess that the GOP has put us in!

  • 3 Tony Herrera // Oct 30, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    You know that McCain is sending mixed messages when he garners the support of staunch anti-immigrant activist and Minuteman, Raymond Herrera. When McCain shifted his support from Comprehensive Immigration Reform in favor of strict border enforcement only, he lost major support from the Latino demographic.

    Navarette may be a smart guy, but he’s rather “tonto” not to figure out that McCain’s sudden change in attitude towards undocumented immigrants and not provide a clear message of what he intended to do with the 12 million or so undocumented immigrants, because he wanted to court favor from a small but vocal nativist base of the Republican party, ultimately cost him the Presidency of the United States.

    It will be interesting to see what leadership role McCain emerges with once he, as currently predicted loses the election to Obama.

    Will the Republican party move away from the extremist far left wing of it’s party and take a more centrist approach? I’m thinking that behind close doors, McCain will make a clear and persuasive argument that the Latino’s he alienated need to be brought back into the fold, so look for a new and different tone from the Republican party.

    Of course I may totally wrong and the Republican party may embrace an even more hardline and extremist attitude towards the undocumented immigrants. If it it does, then they will only continue the massive registration of Latino Democrats that this election currently demonstates.

    By this time next week we should get a better of idea of things to come. Stay tuned. : )

  • 4 Michaelr // Nov 1, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    The California Latino Coalition tried selling this garbage to the Latino community several months ago. Obviously their definition of the word “friend” has different meanings. Ruben Navarette is either honoring a payoff made by an insider on the John McCain campaign…or he’s a coconut embracing his new WASPness.

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