Friday, July 12, 2024

“Complete the Danged Fence”: McCain’s New Slogan

Facing a tough primary challenge for reelection, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) appears to be shifting his stance on immigration in a new campaign ad where he is heard to utter the line, “complete the danged fence”.

The ad, which can be seen on YouTube, features McCain walking along the border in Nogales, AZ with Pinal County Sherriff Paul Babeau while the two discuss the senator’s plan for combating illegal immigration.  Among other elements, the plan calls for placing National Guard troops on the Arizona border.

Babeau has been an outspoken proponent of Arizona’s new controversial anti-immigration law, SB1070

McCain is facing stiff opposition within his own party from former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  In an election that is revolving almost exclusively on the immigration issue, both candidates are running to the right in an attempt to demonstrate their resolve on the issue.

However, the shift comes a bit of a surprise for many since McCain built the past several years of his career championing a bipartisan approach to comprehensive immigration reform. Along with his friend and ally in the fight, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, McCain advocated for providing a pathway to legalization for millions of undocumented workers residing in the US.

This position often made him the target of ire by the more conservative wing of his party with him being booed at times while on the 2008 presidential campaign trail over his stance.

In an August 2007 speech he said, “So I defend, with no reservation, our proposal to offer the people who harvest our crops, tend our gardens, work in our restaurants, care for our children and clean our homes the chance to be legal citizens of this country.”

As late as September of 2008, then presidential candidate McCain still maintained, “What my plan was, and what our proposal was, that we secure our borders, and we can secure it, not necessarily with walls and fences.”

The departure from this long held view and new commitment to a “danged fence” is seen by many as an act of desperation and a pander to the Tea Party movement which is dominating the Republican agenda in Arizona as well as elsewhere throughout the country.

Washington Post




  1. This commercial is appalling. McCain once called himself a friend to Hispanics. This is hard to believe. He is supporting racial profiling…….wow. Politicians sure know know how to change their viewpoints just in time for elections! McCain will never get my vote.

  2. It should come as no surprise that the “moderate” McCain is flip-flopping on this issue. Of course he’s pandering to the right – pandering to the center got him second place in the last election he participated in.

    Immigration is rapidly becoming the new 3rd rail of American politics. The issue splits both parties and most Americans. Now a country that cannot control its border cannot really be considered sovereign. There’s a false dichotomy here – one can be pro-Latino and pro-strong border. In fact, the best way to ensure Latino rights are protected is to ensure they are here legally.

    The vast majority of Hispanics in this country came here legally. I know I did. I’m for an immigration policy that allows people who want to come and contribute to the greatness of this country to come and participate in this great melting pot. However, anyone who wants to come and take more than what they give simply should not be let in for we have more than enough of those types of people home grown.

    The “Latino rights” movement does its membership no good by advocating anything other than a strong border policy. The more illegal aliens that are here, the more people that will be taken advantage of. The absolutely best way to protect worker’s rights, regardless of race, is to allow them access to all the protections available to them under the law. Yet, as long as we have a uncontrolled border, we will always have more coming in, making an already bad problem worse.

    You can’t start working on a solution to the problem of those already here until you stop the inflow, no more than a surgeon would attempt a heart transplant while his patient was hemorrhaging from a wound.

  3. This is fear mongering at its absolute worst. Shame on John McCain.

  4. Alex,

    You haven’t addressed the fact that this law in Arizona is promoting racial profiling…what about Hispanics like you who came here legally–being questioned just based on their PHYSICAL appearance? McCain is advocating that!

  5. Max Suarez says

    What a cheap shot by John McCain.

  6. Marisa, I didn’t address it because US federal law (look up 42 USC 1983) already provides a complete remedy for that. If, as you suggest, racial profiling in violation of due process occurs, then the state of AZ will be sued out of existence. Interestingly enough, 42 USC 1983 is one of the few federal laws that allows a private right of action for monetary damages against a state.

    Now, have you read the actual statute in AZ or are you commenting based on what others have told you?