While lawmakers debate the constitutionality of Arizona's promotion of police crackdowns on immigrants, Senator John McCain is bringing up the rear with his shiny new 10-point Border Security Plan--a right-wing wish list of vaguely fascistic measures to militarize the sliver of land dividing the U.S. and Mexico. Just so all Arizona voters know he's serious on border issues, he's rolled out a YouTube ad that presents him as just the kind of stalwart border vigilante who could win over angry constituents come Election Day.
The ad features the Senator in the rugged terrain of Nogales, alongside his clean-shaven brother in arms Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County (who is apparently running a little PR campaign of his own, complete with an eponymous golf tournament).
Transcript from CBS:
"Drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder," McCain says as the spot opens. He is seen walking with Babeu, seemingly next to a border fence.
"We're outmanned," Babeu responds. "Of all the illegals in America, more than half come through Arizona."
After rehashing failed plans for a combined state-federal immigration crackdown, McCain touts a new top priority in the GOP immigration reform agenda: "complete the danged fence." The "danged" is the new part. Playing the fence card is a tried-and-true GOP one-off when trying to prove one's right-wing bona fides.
We could go over the numerous reasons why human rights activists have opposed the border wall plans, from the unlawful incursion on local poor and indigenous communities, to environmental destruction, to an utter waste of public funds. But of course, Sen. McCain has probably been hearing such criticisms for years--particularly back when he poo-pooed the notion of a fence as a tool for immigration control. But now he lays out his position point by point on CompleteTheDangedFence.com
McCain's wishy-washy fence politics are not lost on his rivals. Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, preparing to challenge McCain in the upcoming Republican primary, has launched TheCompleteDangedTruth.com, where he joins the media chorus deriding the ad and emphasizes that unlike McCain, he's no fence-sitter on border security, and is in fact the true anti-immigrant candidate.
Imagine if McCain, on his leisurely stroll in Nogales, had run into Ruben Antonio Baltazar, who reflected on his glimpse of America in an interview with RT after his deportation:
“I just wanted to go because people would tell me beautiful things about the United States. But, that’s not what I saw. It’s not good.”
But McCain, angling for the anti-immigrant vote, doesn't have to answer to people like Baltazar. After all, the ad ends with Sheriff Babeu telling the Senator, "you're one of us now." And if you're one of them, you can do whatever you dang well please.
A version of this post appears on Racewire.org