On his gazillionth appearance on the Sunday talk shows, Sen. John McCain was asked about whether the increased number of Hispanic voters might spell trouble for Republicans in the 2012 elections and McCain admitted that all of that immigrant bashing might not end up working out so well for them in states like Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and eventually Texas.
Okay, maybe it wasn't his gazillionth appearance, but it sure feels like it. Heaven forbid we can't let another Sunday go by without making sure we hear from the de facto Commander in Chief as ordained by our media that lost the last presidential election.
McCain believes the Republicans need a more "humane" approach to the issue of immigration, but really didn't back off of the same rhetoric we've been hearing used to fearmonger over the issue even during this interview. I think the GOP is going to continue to use immigration as a wedge issue to divide the electorate until they're voted out of office en masse for it. McCain sees the writing is on the wall as he admits here, but the Republican Party has been running on the politics of fear and racial tensions for decades now. And even if they start to soften their stance on the immigration issue when it comes to the Hispanic community, they'll just find another boogeyman to take their place. They've got a long alternate list already.
Transcript via CNN.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about your home state of Arizona, which Democrats, you may or may not know, are beginning to eye as maybe doable for President Obama simply because you have an increased number of Hispanics who are registering...
CROWLEY: ... a big drive to get them out, and because, by and large, that's a community that looks at the Republican Party as anti- immigrant.
Do you worry about the image, the imagery of the Republican Party as it relates to some of the issues that are going on up on the Hill right now? And I want to talk to you about the payroll tax.
But does the Republican Party need to refigure its imaging?
MCCAIN: I think that the Republican Party has to discuss this issue in as humane a way as possible. By the way, I would remind you that...
CROWLEY: Yes, but Newt Gingrich tried to do that and everyone jumped all over him.
MCCAIN: Yes, that's, you know, I still maintain that position.
But, look, also, the enthusiasm on the part of Hispanics for President Obama is dramatically less than it was in 2008 because he has not fulfilled his campaign promises, either.
So I view the Hispanic vote up for grabs. And I think that we are going to have to discuss this issue in a humane fashion. I still believe that most Hispanics agree that we need to secure the borders, if for the drug issue alone. We talk about people coming across the border, I'll tell you, Candy, the coyotes mistreat these people in a terrible fashion. The drug cartels, who are moving drugs across our border, that are killing our Americans by polluting our society with drugs. And we have an obligation to secure our borders.
But we also need to talk about how we need to treat people humanely...
CROWLEY: Who are here.
MCCAIN: Who are here, who have been here for a long period of time.
CROWLEY: Paid their taxes, have a family.
MCCAIN: But the fact is, we don't want to trigger another flood of illegal immigrants by believing that if they can get across our border, they would be, therefore, home free. In 1986, we -- our beloved Ronald Reagan, we gave -- under him, we gave amnesty to three million people who are here illegally on the promise that we would secure the borders and we'd never have to address the issue again. Well, now there are 12 million people that are here illegally. So people have to have some confidence that it just won't trigger another third wave, as well. It's a careful balance of addressing this issue, which I think the majority of Hispanics would appreciate.
And drug trafficking and drug cartels and the existential threat of the government of Mexico, which spills over into the United States of America in many ways. Look at this Fast and Furious issue. It has to do with drug cartels.
So, look, I think we have to have empathy. We have to have concern. And we have to have a plan.
But at the same time, to say that we are going to have insecure borders and anybody can come across, if they can get across, then they're home free, that's not what -- the message we want to send, because it's unfair to people who live further away from this country and want to have the opportunity to come here.
CROWLEY: Quickly, because I want to move you...
CROWLEY: -- move you to some foreign policy issues...
MCCAIN: In other words, the long answer was too long.
CROWLEY: I'm sure -- but...
MCCAIN: The answer was too long.
CROWLEY: Oh, OK.
Yes or no, is Arizona doable for the president?
MCCAIN: I think it can be up for grabs. I think that's true of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas even, although maybe not this time. But the demographics are clear. The demographics are clear that the Hispanic vote will play a major -- be a major factor in national elections.