October 27, 2011


Stop Harping on Immigration! (Michael Medved, Oct 24, 2011, Daily Beast)

Why would ranting against illegals work any better for presidential candidates in 2012 than in 2008, when all available public-opinion surveys show that concern over the issue has receded, not intensified?

Romney in particular should have learned from his own baleful experience, as he wasted millions in Iowa last time trying to clobber his rival Mike Huckabee as "soft" on illegal immigration. He attacked the former Arkansas governor in commercials and televised debates for once supporting a proposal, ultimately defeated in the legislature, for in-state tuition breaks for children who had been brought to the country without authorization. Though he outspent his opponent by a ratio of 10 to 1, the former Massachusetts governor lost badly in Iowa, 34 percent to 25 percent. It makes no sense at all for Romney, a vastly improved candidate in most other respects, to use the same feeble issue as a club against Perry, who's doing a fine job clubbing himself with his endless series of verbal gaffes. Even on an ideological basis, the whole question of in-state tuition is unequivocally a state issue and not a federal matter for any prospective president to decide.

The current immigration fixation on the campaign trail not only steals attention from vastly more significant and viable themes, such as job creation and runaway federal spending, but also makes the Republican Party look deeply divided and hopelessly out of touch with mainstream concerns. Aside from the embarrassing discussion about Romney's lawn-care service, the candidates don't really differ on immigration policy. The next time one of the leading contenders gets a question or a challenge on the subject, the right response would be to emphasize that agreement. It's easy to imagine Romney, Cain, Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, or even Ron Paul, if not Rick Santorum, affirming a clear and unanimous--and, one hopes, sane--Republican approach.

Imagine the relief and excitement if one of the candidates simply declared, "I don't want to spend much time on this issue because all of us here on this stage agree on the essentials. We want better, stronger border enforcement, tougher measures to stop employers from hiring illegals, and an aggressive effort to make sure that people who've entered our country without permission don't get rewarded with welfare benefits that they don't deserve and we can't afford. But we also believe that there needs to be a sweeping repair of our broken immigration system to allow people who want to become Americans and play by the rules, speaking English and paying taxes and honoring our flag, to get their chance to prove themselves and embrace the American Dream. The only way to give them that chance is to get our economy moving again, so let's talk about a recovery--which is the real concern of every American, including immigrants."
It's especially unhelpful in IA, where the caucus-goers are Evangelicals.

Posted by at October 27, 2011 3:00 PM

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