I just talked to a member of the McCain team about the politics of the immigration deal. They’re very aware of all the criticism they have been taking here in the Corner, on talk radio, and elsewhere. They point out that, unlike Rudy Giuliani, or Mitt Romney, or Fred Thompson, John McCain had to actually cast a vote on the issue, and he did what he has always said he would do. Team McCain’s reaction:
McCain’s position on immigration is well known. He gets asked about it at every town hall he goes to, in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. Very often the answer he gives is very well received. This is something he has been talking about for a long time. The people who are particularly exercised about this probably weren’t going to be supporting John McCain to begin with.
Ultimately, this is McCain being McCain. He takes positions that are unpopular with some people, but he’s addressing the big issues. And look at who is with him: Mitch McConnell, Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss, Jon Kyl. He is a straight talker and he is showing leadership. I don’t think the same can be said of our opponents. With Romney, there has been a fundamental shift from where he was during the debate on Tuesday. Rudy’s statement was like air. There was nothing to it.
McCain has no choice. He can’t walk away at this point, not that he would do it anyway. That would not be a wise political decision.
I’d much rather have this happen now, rather than in October or November.