Senator John McCain Faces Difficult GOP Primary Battle by Gregory Hilton

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, faces a difficult battle this year in the Republican primary in his home state. The Senator has been in the forefront of conservative ranks for the past year, but his role as the co-author of the McCain-Feingold legislation (campaign finance reform), the McCain-Lieberman bill (climate change), and the McCain-Kennedy act (immigration reform) has come back to haunt him. The biggest liability in Arizona is the later. The immigration-reform package would not have relax enforcement at the borders. What it would have done, instead, is to provide an opportunity for citizenship to undocumented immigrants who’ve been here for many years, who’ve raised their children here, and who’ve worked hard and who’ve obeyed our laws. McCain’s support of this legislation nearly cost him the GOP’s presidential nomination.
McCain is moving to his right and his first 2010 TV commercial says: “Obama is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America. I stand in his way every day. If I get a bruise or two knocking some sense into heads in Washington, so be it.” Narrator: “Perhaps no battle in our lifetime is more vital than the one McCain fights now – a battle to save America, and save our jobs. Re-elect Senator McCain.”
McCain’s primary opponent is former Rep. J.D. Hayworth who has made many controversial statements. He had a completely safe GOP district but was defeated for re-election in 2006. Since then he has been a weatherman and has had a conservative Phoenix-based talk radio program. It has featured prominent spokesmen who are challenging President Obama’s birth certificate, and Hayworth has been cynically playing to the worst elements of the conservative base to gain wide support.
Hayworth keeps saying Obama must produce his birth certificate, “All I’m saying is, for every race across the country, especially with identity theft in the news, it would be great that people can confirm who they say they are,” Hayworth said. CNN host Campbell Brown reacted by saying, “Identity theft? I mean, come on. Is that honestly what this is about?”
Once again, Hayworth is also effectively using the immigration issue. McCain deserves tremendous credit for the border fence, enhanced security and quadrupling the the enforcement budget. Hayworth’s response is that McCain supported Bush’s plan, and his rhetoric sounds anti-Hispanic. There are very legitimate concerns regarding illegal immigration, but the former Congressman’s rhetoric will set us back with Hispanics.
A reporter for Spy magazine once played a trick on Hayworth. He asked him about U.S. relations with a fake country. It was from a Groucho Marx movie. Hayworth fell for it and spoke about how concerned he was about the situation in that nation. There will be other Hayworth stories in the weeks ahead.
McCain moved to the center from 1998 to 2008 when he was engaged in presidential politics. Now that his White House ambitions are behind him, McCain’s focus is on his conservative constituency back in Arizona. He no longer has to try to win praise from network anchors and The New York Times editorial board. His years of being a national reform candidate are over, and he is finally on the right course.

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