That's Some Chutzpah

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 09, 2008 4:43 PM
Heaven knows that I was no fan of the immigration bill spearheaded in large part by John McCain that collapsed a little over a year ago.  But it takes some chutzpah for Barack Obama to criticize John McCain for lacking sufficient political courage on the immigration issue, given that McCain has suffered considerable political damage (and almost lost the primary) in his party in large part because of his previous work on and views about immigration. 

There's something ironic about Barack, who has taken the positions most likely simply to win him the next electoral contest and seems to change them at will (as his flips on FISA, withdrawing from Iraq and so much else demonstrate), trying to paint McCain as a political coward.  This is particularly true in the area of immigration.  After all, when McCain was endangering his own presidential ambitions by forming part of a bipartisan group committed to passing the immigration  bill, where was Barack Obama?  Safely on the sidelines, willing to scuttle the deal as he catered to his friends on the left.

As this contemperaneous AP account notes: 

[Senators] later rejected two high-profile Democratic amendments.

One would have postponed the bill's shift to an emphasis on education and skills among visa applicants as opposed to family connections. The other, offered by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., would have ended a new point system for those seeking permanent resident "green cards" after five years rather than 14 years.

All three amendments were seen as potentially fatal blows to the fragile coalition backing the bill, which remains under attack from the right and left.