To deny that Senator Harry Reid needs the vote of Hispanics in Nevada to win reelection this November would be foolish. Obviously, for the current Senate majority leader, the road to success — in a state where the ravages of the mortgage crisis and the brutal fall of the construction industry do not augur a speedy recovery of employment — has two tracks: the grotesque weakness of his opponent, a woman from the far-right movement known as the tea party; and the growing political power of Hispanic voters. So no one should be surprised that, last week, Reid attached to the Defense Budget Bill the legislative proposal known as the Dream Act, which, upon becoming law, could change the fate of thousands of young people who were born abroad and children who came to America because their parents immigrated without documentation.
Intolerable for his hypocrisy and despicable for his air of treason is the audacity of Arizona Senator John McCain, who, in blatant electioneering, rent his garments and pointed his finger flamboyantly at Reid, accusing him of engaging in politics by defending illegal immigrants to win his reelection. These are pathetic accusations coming from a man like McCain, who has made political chicanery a way of life.
Four years ago, for example, McCain favored the repeal of the hypocritical policy that allows gays to join the Army and go into combat, but forbids them to identify themselves as such. In May, in the heat of a tight primary election for the Republican nomination to the Senate, McCain changed his mind and, standing to the right of his very conservative opponent, promised to oppose the adoption of change that calls for full respect for sexual preferences of individuals.
But nothing beats McCain’s amazing flip-flopping ability as his change on immigration. Just five years ago, he and Senator Ted Kennedy led a bill that proposed, among other things, a reasonable path to legalization for millions of undocumented workers. The bill ended up being derailed by a handful of very narrow-minded Republican legislators.
That same year, according to the interviews made in the Spanish media, McCain questioned the usefulness and effectiveness of the construction of walls along the border. Three years later, alarmed by an opponent's candidacy known for his conservatism, McCain ate his words and took a turn toward the extreme right to emphatically demand the completion of the “danged fence” to stop "drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder."
In a recent article, reporter Maribel Hastings suggested that McCain’s radical reversal might be because the man from Arizona "does not forgive that Latinos didn’t vote for him in 2008."*
I do not know if his current anger is because of that, but what I am sure of is that at age 74, and despite having a family fortune amounting to billions of dollars, with a well-earned reputation as a war hero, and after almost three decades in Congress, McCain is not resigned to losing power, even if it means selling his soul to the devil. In its many incarnations, the Germanic legend of Faust has had many variants and one single constant.
From Marlowe to Goethe to Mann, the successful and unsatisfied Faust yearned for transient glory, although it meant selling his soul to the devil and despite knowing that upon completion of the agreement, his sentence would be eternal. Today, McCain has revived the old story, although diluting its grandeur, without its main character noticing the small role he has been assigned in this comedy in which life imitates fiction.
*Editor’s Note: This quote, properly translated, could not be verified.