Finding this article in the Yuma Sun, I was heartened to recognize the old John McCain being described. I am hopeful that he and Obama will be able to create the immigration reform this country desperately needs.
Remember the John McCain that many Arizonans grew to like over the years – the one who stuck by his principles but was not politically dogmatic or doctrinaire, and instead tried to represent the interests of people in general?
Well, that John McCain seems to be back after a long journey into the dark jungle of presidential politics where he seemed to veer from his familiar middle-of-the-road approach to politics – an approach that a lot of Arizonans prefer, based on their long support for him.
While here in Yuma he praised the work done on border security and fencing along the border, acknowledging the desire of many Arizonans and other Americans to have a secure, safe border as the top priority.
Yet he has not reduced his support for humane changes in our nation’s immigration policies. He wants reforms and better foreign worker programs so workers from Mexico and elsewhere who want to fill needed jobs in America can do so.
“These are God’s children, and there has to be a humane and compassionate approach to this issue (illegal immigration),” McCain told a Tucson newspaper.
Those words represent the McCain we have known for years, the one who could upset not only Democrats but also Republicans because he set his own agenda. The word “maverick” when it comes to politicians is probably over-used, but in the case of John McCain it fits.
I have noticed the change in a number of instances. He has been on a few entertainment and news shows recently and he seems much more relaxed and less angry than in the closing weeks of his campaign for president.
Although I doubt he would ever be called a jokester, he does have a definite sense of humor and it is showing again. He is able to kid around about his race for the White House after a period of contemplation and perhaps resignation to his fate.
He has said when asked about it that he has given up his quest for the highest office and simply wants to be a good Senate representative for the people of our state. He plans to run for his seat again in 2010.
That means Arizonans will continue to have a powerful ally in Washington, one who has influence at many levels of power – at least until 2010, and perhaps beyond.
Of course his influence could be less than in the past. Although a senior member of the Senate, the Republican Party will no longer be in the majority in Congress and no longer will be in the White House.
Still even President-elect Barack Obama recognizes the importance of having McCain on his side. Obama met recently with his former opponent to discuss mutual interests for the country. There has even been speculation Obama would like McCain to have a special role in his administration.
For his part, McCain says he’d be glad to work with Obama on programs that are for the good of the nation. That represents the bipartisan approach McCain has demonstrated in the past, and it is good to see he still has it.
One bipartisan issue could be what to do about illegal immigration. Although there was very little focus on this issue during the election, it is bound to resurface. McCain has demonstrated a middle-of-the-road approach on this issue, one that has gotten him in trouble in his own party. He still seems committed to this approach.