Appearing on WTTW's Chicago Tonight on Friday, Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold suggested that Barack Obama and John McCain share the same position on immigration. Watch that claim -- as well as Dold's assertion that Obama suffers from an "elitism divide"...
Appearing on WTTW's Chicago Tonight on Friday, Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold suggested that Barack Obama and John McCain share the same position on immigration. Watch that claim -- as well as Dold's assertion that Obama suffers from an "elitism divide" -- below:
Now on the one hand, you could argue that Dold's description of the two candidates' positions on immigration favors Obama. After all, Dold is essentially arguing that Obama isn't vulnerable on this "wedge issue" because of their purported agreement.
But I'd argue the contrary -- that Dold's characterization helps McCain.
Indeed, Dold is giving the Arizona Republican credit for his initial support of comprehensive immigration reform, while overlooking that he backed away from that position in a clear pander to GOP primary voters. Media Matters has this concise description of McCain's switch:
[D]uring the race for the Republican nomination, McCain reversed himself on the issue of border security, saying that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Indeed, McCain said in January that he "would not" support the comprehensive immigration reform legislation he once sponsored with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
Every time a reporter or commentator overlooks McCain's flip-flops -- on immigration or the Bush tax cuts or the religious right -- McCain benefits. Independents and moderates continue to think that he shares their values, while the Republican base takes comfort in his decision to move in their direction.
It's the media's responsibility to remind the public of McCain's maneuvering. But more often than not, they turn a blind eye.