The Corner

Price of Victory

Linda Chavez’s new column laments John McCain’s flip-flopping on immigration:

McCain’s capitulation to what he once called, in my presence, “a strong nativist tendency” fooled no one. It simply besmirched his honor and dignity.

I don’t believe that he’s changed either, though after nearly 30 sanctimonious, bullying years in Congress I don’t think “honor” and “dignity” are relevant descriptions for him any longer. She also writes:

He’ll remain a major voice on foreign policy and fiscal issues, but he’s written himself out of the immigration debate.

Like that’s a bad thing!

But it’s Linda’s political calculation that’s most notable: “McCain didn’t need to pander on the immigration issue to be re-nominated.”

This is an important issue. Linda and the rest of the pro-amnesty crowd have to denigrate McCain’s decision to flip-flop, because to admit its necessity would be to admit that being weak on immigration can, under certain circumstances, have serious political consequences — something the Obama crowd and its conservative auxiliaries cannot accept. Maybe McCain was wrong. Maybe he could have stuck to his original position on immigration and won anyway. But whose political judgment about the mood of the electorate do you think is more sound? That of a career politician who’s never lost an election in his home state and who survived a serious corruption scandal to go on to secure his party’s presidential nomination? Or that of a pundit (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) who’s run one unsuccessful political campaign?

In their insistence that immigration is electorally irrelevant, the pro-amnesty crowd is beginning to sound more and more like Baghdad Bob.

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