- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Sen. John McCain and President-elect Barack Obama sat down Monday for an amicable chat, there was no real agenda. So, what to make of the meeting?

Some pundits have speculated that Mr. Obama might have offered Mr. McCain a job during the private session. What is more likely is the two former rivals forged an alliance on common ground - immigration, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan policy and the environment - which would lend itself toward a bipartisan consensus on key legislation. Essentially, these are issues on which they almost meet eye-to-eye.

When it comes to immigration reform, both men shared positions on the creation of a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens. Yet Mr. McCain is the stronger advocate for border defense. On climate issues, both men would like to see a cap-and-trade system applied to businesses for carbon dioxide emissions.

As for Guantanamo Bay, Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are on the opposite side of The Washington Times Editorial Page. They have called for the closure of the military detention facility at the base. Mr. Obama prefers that terrorist detainees be dealt with inside U.S. borders and through our courts. While Mr. McCain would like to see the prison closed, he does not view the detainees as U.S. citizens deserving the same rights in a court of law based on the Geneva Conventions.

Despite areas of clear-cut agreement between the senator and president-elect, disagreement shouldn’t be off limits. Mr. McCain reportedly proposed during the meeting that corporate welfare (bailouts) be identified and eliminated from the government by a newly created special commission. He also apparently suggested ways Congress can work with the Obama administration to eliminate wasteful earmarks. The two are also at odds over clean coal and offshore drilling. But during the campaign Mr. Obama hinted that he may be “open” to drilling.

The men were not alone at the meeting in Mr. Obama’s Chicago office. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who supported Mr. McCain, and soon-to-be White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois Democrat, attended as well.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly referenced his current read - “Team of Rivals,” which praises President Abraham Lincoln’s strategy of putting enemies in his cabinet - as a hint at how he will govern. Though it’s fair to guess that a cabinet post is likely out of the question for Mr. McCain, the beginnings of an unexpected alliance have begun.