If I Could Give John McCain One Piece Of Advice It Would Be…
I’m not a fan of John McCain and I don’t want him as the nominee, but if I could give him one piece of advice, it would be this: support for amnesty nearly killed your campaign earlier this year and if you get the nomination, your support for amnesty will kill fundraising for your campaign and for the Republican Party in the general election. With that in mind, the best thing for you to do would be to dump amnesty, but obviously, if you were going to do that, you would have done it already.
However, what you have said is that you got the message that the American people don’t trust the government to secure the border so that has to come first, before any sort of path to citizenship.
So, in order to placate the anti-amnesty crowd, what you should do is say that you do support a path to citizenship for illegals, but that it can’t come until the border is secure, we have a plan in place to keep illegals from getting jobs, AND (here’s the key part), that will likely take more than 4 years.
In other words, let people know you’re going to kick the can down the road on amnesty until your second term. Granted, that’s a compromise solution that isn’t going to make everyone happy and moreover, it could make it more difficult to get elected in 2012, but getting elected in 2008 comes first and it will be tough enough without trying to fight a year long battle against a large, extremely passionate segment of your own base.
The hard core anti-illegal immigration crowd in the GOP is never going to love you, but if you can at least keep them from actively opposing you, it would be very helpful to your campaign. Plus, you can still tell the Chamber of Commerce crowd that, yes, you do support a path to citizenship.
If you don’t go that route, you’re going to have a small percentage of Republican who will, for good or ill, decide that it would be better for the country for you to lose in 2008, because of the amnesty issue, and thereby send a message to other politicians, than for you to win and push through an amnesty that will do enormous damage to the country and will ensure the long term weakening of conservatism in the United States.