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Illegal immigration – an issue Republicans must handle with care
Republican campaign strategists – those focusing on planning for the presidential election, should be careful not to make major mistakes in dealing with Hispanic voters.
Hispanics are, after all, positioned to play pivotal roles in today’s politics.
Notable Republicans such as Jeb Bush, are hard at work trying to convince other Republicans to tone down their rhetoric and actions regarding opposition to illegal immigration.
The White House of George Bush, fumbled its own handling of the illegal immigration issue and that error played a major role in the GOP mid-term disaster in 2006. It was probably fear of the growing Hispanic population that led the Bush Administration to join in supporting the infamous McCain-Kennedy immigration bill which many Americans considered a plan to grant amnesty for the estimated 14 million illegal immigrants already in this country.
In addition to Bush, that immigration bill had the enthusiastic support of the US Senate and a majority of what is called the “Mainstream Media”. However, it did not have the support of the millions of ordinary Americans who had found their voice on the Internet. Internet opposition to McCain-Kennedy reached such an intensity the bill was never called up for a vote.
This was a major victory for grass root America and the first sign of a new populist activism that would – in the recent mid terms – become known as the “tea party movement”.
A majority of Americans simply will not support, or even accept, proposals they view as granting amnesty to illegal aliens. Many see such a move as one likely to encourage more people to cross our borders illegally and sneak into the country.
In debate, liberal politicians charge Republicans are opposed to immigration. That’s clearly a lie. Nowhere in liberal rhetoric is there any factual delineation between immigration by those who follow the rules and those who sneak across the border, choosing to make themselves criminals the moment their feet hit US soil.
Republicans should consider some real and significant points:
A majority of American voters – especially those who awarded the GOP a huge mid-term victory – oppose illegal immigration and oppose it emotionally.
The Arizona immigration law has become the sine qua non of the immigration debate. The real Arizona statistics should be heeded by Republicans tempted to move left on the issue.
70% of Arizona voters support the new immigration bill. However just under 60% of Arizona’s population is Anglo (non-Hispanic whites). Given that not all Anglo Arizonan’s support the law, a substantial number of Hispanic voter support the bill. Many Hispanic American citizens resent the illegals because they create a negative image of Latinos.
Hispanics voted Democrat in greater numbers in 2006 and 2008, but so did other groups. That’s why Democrats won both elections. This last election saw a significant drop in Hispanics who voted Democrat. 60% voted Democrat in 2010, down from a high of 69% in 2008.
Republicans must take care in addressing the issue. Overreaching to attract Hispanic support, can alienate the GOP White base.
Obama is making what is clearly a pandering move to enthuse his Hispanic vote through his court challenge of the Arizona law. Meanwhile Other states are moving to adopt immigration laws similar to Arizona’s. GOP voters nationwide come down heavily on the side of confronting illegal immigration, and taking effective steps to secure the border in order to prevent or diminish the entry of more illegals. Republican planners should keep that fact in mind.
Democrats have their own political problems. Despite their Hispanic numbers, they are doing increasingly worse among White Americans.
It is significant to mention that not all illegal aliens are Latino. According to Border Patrol agents, larger and larger numbers of illegals are coming from the Middle East and Asia, and are paying up to $50,000 apiece to be smuggled in. The price raises serious questions about motivations of such aliens, and about who is providing the funding.
Republicans are not opposed to legal immigration, but most are very opposed to illegal immigration and the huge costs these aliens are inflicting on local government.
The Los Angeles County Supervisor -- factoring in the cost of food stamps and welfare-style benefits through a state program known as CalWORKS. Combined with public safety costs and health care costs – estimates the “total cost for illegal immigrants to (LA) county taxpayers” was more than $1.6 billion in 2010.”
For a county facing huge financial disaster, such costs are unacceptable. Other cities and counties face similar costs generated by illegals.
Make no mistake about it: Republicans should do all they can to craft campaign messages that attract Hispanic voters. At the same time, they must take care to avoid alienating their base of support as happened I n 2006 when the Bush White House misplayed the issue.
In political strategy, the rules say, “work from strength toward weakness”. This means the primary concentration should be on those voters who provide core support. Outreach to other voters develops through priorities.
The Hispanic vote is not monolithic. It should not be treated as such.
Obama may win his challenge to the Arizona law in the courts. But he will lose on that issue among the other 70% in Arizona and a like amount in other states.
At the moment, immigration is not the top issue, of course, but it is up near the top, and those who follow it are emotionally connected.
It cannot be ignored and, like the deficit, must be effectively confronted in the near future.
The Day’s Top Political News:
Tea party moves to recall Tucson Sheriff Dupnik group wants Dupnik out
WASINGTON TIMES: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik became famous nationwide for remarks assigning blame for the deadly Tucson, Ariz., shooting to political "vitriol" and calling Arizona "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
Dupnik now finds himself on a hot seat. A group opposed to illegal immigration has begun an effort to recall the sheriff in a special election. Meanwhile, a Pima County tea party group is planning on holding a "Dump Dupnik" rally next week outside his office.
Not that the sheriff should worry about turning in his badge just yet. Sheriff Dupnik has won election eight times, and he's a Democrat in a Democrat-majority county. While some constituents were appalled by his comments, others have applauded his forthright indictment of the state's political climate.
Keith Olbermann gives abrupt goodbye to MSNBC show
YAHOO NEWS: MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann returned from one last commercial break on "Countdown" to tell viewers it was his last broadcast, and read a James Thurber short story in a three-minute exit statement. Simultaneously, MSNBC e-mailed a statement that "MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract."
Neither MSNBC President Phil Griffin, Olbermann nor his manager responded to requests to explain an exit so abrupt that Olbermann's face was still being featured on an MSNBC promotional ad 30 minutes after he had said goodbye.
Olbermann was nearly fired in November, but instead was suspended two days without pay for violating an NBC News policy by donating to three political campaigns, including the congressional campaign of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He returned and apologized to his fans, but not the network.
Newt Gingrich tells Georgia Republicans he’ll be a candidate in 2012
ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has touched base with several prominent Republicans in his former home state of Georgia, telling them that he intends to make a run for president in 2012 using Georgia as his base – and that he already has his eye on office space for a campaign headquarters.
The visits and conversations – some face-to-face, others on the phone — appear to be an attempt by Gingrich to revive his old campaign network and lock down as much support as possible in a state won by Republican Mike Huckabee in the 2008 presidential primary.
A spokeswoman for US Senator Johnny Isakson said Gingrich called senator earlier this month – adding that Gingrich was not definite about his plans in that conversation. Friday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he had not talked to Gingrich yet, but that the former U.S. House speaker had asked for an appointment in the near future.