Monday, June 11, 2007

McCain not afraid of languages

Language Log rightly singles McCain out for being smart about English Only.
This appears to be a long-held opinion by Senator McCain. In 1996, he went on record against an English only bill--even threatening a filibuster.

According to the best estimates of committee staff, opposition lobbyists, and other semi-informed sources, here's how the Governmental Affairs votes appear to break down:

5 solidly in favor: Stevens (R-Alaska), Roth (R-Del.), Cochran (R-Miss.), Smith (R-N.H.), and Brown (R-Colo.)
5 1/2 solidly against: Glenn (D-Ohio), Levin (D-Mich.), Lieberman (D-Conn.), Akaka (D-Hi.), Dorgan (D-N.D.), and McCain* (R-Ariz.).
4 undeclared or uncommitted: Cohen (R-Me.), Thompson (R-Tenn.), Nunn (D-Ga.), and Pryor (D-Ark.)
Senator John McCain's name is asterisked because his position is politically problematic. On the one hand, in communications with constituent groups he has reaffirmed his longstanding opposition to English-only legislation – even implying that he would stage a filibuster against S. 356 on the Senate floor, if necessary. On the other hand, now that English-only has become a partisan issue, his opposition creates tensions with fellow Republicans. McCain is now being mentioned as a possible running mate for Bob Dole, an English-only supporter who may decide to exploit the issue during his Presidential campaign. Thus far McCain has managed to absent himself at two hearings, and at today's markup, on S. 356.

And here he is quoted in a Time article from 1988on the issue:
Even conservatives like Arizona Senator John McCain oppose initiatives like the one just passed in his state. Says McCain: "Our nation and the English language have done quite well with Chinese spoken in California, German in Pennsylvania, Italian in New York, Swedish in Minnesota and Spanish in the Southwest. I fail to see the cause for alarm now."

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