Bob Schieffer asked the only immigration question in the final 2004 debate, which both candidates dodged — but this time, not even that. As usual, Mickey Kaus is on the case:
8) Most telling passage: Two times, if I remember right, McCain rattled off long lists of occasions when he had gone against his party, and each time he left off "immigration," his most salient anti-GOP heresy. (He brifely mentioned it later in a more anodyne context.) Once Obama had an opening to back up his charge that McCain was an unreliable champion of "comprehensive immigration reform." He didn't take it. This suggests that both candidates recognize that pushing "comprehensive immigration reform"—i.e. legaliztion—is a loser with the general electorate. Or it's at least very risky. Both would confine it to targeted appeals to Latinos on Spanish language radio and TV, which most voters never hear about. No Hispandering in public!
With regard to Spanish-language media, Steve Dinan of the Washington Times describes McCain as having told Univision last weekend that "he would not halt immigration raids" — except here's what McCain actually said: "I can't tell you that we should stop rounding up people who have come to this country illegally, but I can tell you we will treat the whole issue with a humane and compassionate fashion." Given McCain's continual dissembling on immigration, this is not a pledge to continue raids but an acknowledgement that he can't tell us that he'll stop them — just like on "border security first," which McCain has repeatedly said is what voters want to see before an amnesty, not what he thinks is important.
Dinan also quotes two open-borders types disagreeing about which candidate would be more likely to get an amnesty through Congress. Frank Sharry, a left-winger but usually politially astute, thinks Obama's a better bet. He's incorrect — nothing will revive discouraged Republicans in Congress and out in the real world like a battle over the Obama-La Raza Amnesty Act of 2009. Bring it on!