Ross Douthat is making sense. The politics of immigration are complicated by two factors: hyperventilating restrictionists who wildly exaggerate the salience of the issue and the ease with which supporters of the McCain-Kennedy approach can offer meaningless rhetorical concessions to immigration-hawk voters during campaigns. But that doesn't mean that the immigration issue is irrelevant or that the "comprehensive" reform position is popular just because John McCain gets more votes than, say, Tom Tancredo. Tancredo isn't a McCain-quality politician and McCain didn't run on McCain-Kennedy in the primaries.
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