Heed McCain’s Warning on Immigration

January 5th, 2012 at 1:32 pm | 31 Comments |

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Someone should listen to John McCain. Asked by First Read whether he thought Arizona was in play this election cycle, McCain reportedly responded “I think that if not this election cycle, the demographics are that Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, even Texas will all be in play.” The Senator then added, “We have to fix our problems with the Hispanics.”

McCain is absolutely correct. As I have noted previously, the demographic tides are indeed shifting rapidly within the United States in ways that do not favor the GOP. Specifically, Hispanics are growing at a much faster clip than the whites that make up the GOP base and, should they decide to vote, the polls mentioned above suggest that they are increasingly likely to vote Democrat (if they vote, of course).

So where does a solution start? Senator McCain told First Read that “It starts with a way to address the issue of immigration in a humane and caring fashion–at the same time emphasize the need to secure our borders.” I agree with the old war hero here as well. Unfortunately, the highly visible fight for the 2012 GOP nomination and for the White House features Republicans that are decidedly not compassionate or thoughtful on the issue of illegal immigration, which of course deeply affects the Hispanic and Latino communities within the United States.

The likely frontrunner, former Gov. Mitt Romney, has run a commercial on immigration that features prison wire as the backdrop of a revolving display of ominous statistics on illegal immigration. But this pales in comparison the rhetoric of the “other than Mitt crowd.” In his failed re-election bid for his old Senate seat, the Santorum campaign attempted to label his opponent as an “amnesty” supporting sissy and in a clip featured on his YouTube channel from one of the Senate debates, he implies that many illegal immigrants are also identity thieves. Santorum ripped into Newt Gingrich for supporting granting “amnesty” to illegal immigrants.

Thankfully, if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he probably will avoid the sort of “round up the illegals and ship them out of here” rhetoric that might otherwise be expected because, well, Mitt Romney once had a reasonable position on illegal immigration before he decided he wanted to be the Republican nominee for President. But McCain is right: going into the future, the GOP must actually be willing to address this problem in a thoughtful manner if it is to hold onto the political territory it has claimed as its own for decades.

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31 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    McCain may be correct but Republicans have screwed the pooch on that one and continue to do so. Anti hispanic thinking and rhetoric is a cornerstone of Republicanism. It aint going to change. Ask your former boss David Frum.

  • PracticalGirl

    Jeb, I respect the intent and tenor of your post, but you personify everything wrong with Republicans today with this:

    Thankfully, if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he probably will avoid the sort of “round up the illegals and ship them out of here” rhetoric that might otherwise be expected because, well, Mitt Romney once had a reasonable position on illegal immigration before he decided he wanted to be the Republican nominee for President.

    Do you realize what you’re saying? “Romney’s not really a hair-shirted pandering crowd pleaser. He just plays one on TV.”

    Nobody is fooled by any of this. Romney, if elected, will have to contend with thems who brung him. Remember how it went the last time around? Bush in the White House, GOP in control of the House and the Senate. A reasonable start was proposed. “Somebody should listen to John McCain on immigration”? You bet. He was one who proposed the start. Ask him how it went, being reasonable.

    The crowd went nuclear. Talk radio had a fit. President Bush tried to get it all under control with an unprecedented Oval Office Summit with Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and the other major messengers of talk radio, and they basically told him to STFU. After that, it got ugly. Senator Brownback was dubbed “Senator Wetback”, John McCain was tagged “Johnny McAmnesty”, and the GOP dropped the whole thing like a hot potato.

    No matter how reasonable a GOP President-Romney or any one else- might be on the solution to immigration, it will never be him in control. It will always be the crowd he pandered to for election.

    • Reflection Ephemeral

      Well, I don’t consider myself “fooled”, just flummoxed.

      The fact is, no one can have any earthly idea what a Romney administration would do. Now, he has a bunch of advisers left over from the Bush Jr. administration, so maybe we’d have a Romney Doctrine leading us to invade Iran or Syria or Samoa or something. Or maybe he really believes in his heart all the stuff that he said in 1994, when he favored a federal health insurance mandate and ran to Ted Kennedy’s left on gay rights. Or maybe he really believes in the centrist manner he governed Massachusetts in the early 2000s. Or maybe he really believes the lies that he’s telling now, that the president wants to create an entitlement food stamp society & that he “threw Israel under the bus”. (See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-method-behind-mitt-romneys-big-lie-strategy/2011/12/21/gIQA7o9Y9O_blog.html ).

      We don’t know, and we have no way of knowing.

      The only discernible belief Mitt Romney’s career evinces is a belief that Mitt Romney should be elected.

      I happen to agree with your take. But no one knows. Voting for Romney is voting for the biggest wild card in modern American presidential political history.

      Romney spends all his time lying that the president is a socialist, but it’s Romney whose entire career is captured by a quote from Marx: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

      • PracticalGirl

        Here’s the thing. For a brief moment, I had begun to convince myself that if elected, Romney might not be so bad. Then I remembered who’s really in control of the GOP- the crowd. You do a great job of laying out the possible scenarios of a Romney presidency, however, and (if the vote goes against my will) then I hope he channels Reagan and invades a nice Carribean nation. This time for keeps, as I’m always looking for a nice American territory to sun in.

      • MSheridan

        Or, as Daniel Larison put it today over at TAC:

        I have never understood the argument that we should hope that Romney is such a monumental fraud that the last six years of his life have been little more than an elaborate con done for the sake of acquiring enormous power. Romney is a monumental fraud, but that is not something anyone should want. Romney is a political chameleon, which makes him completely untrustworthy. No one has any idea where he stands with Romney, because where Romney stands is never the same place for very long. It is a given that Romney will govern in whatever way is most advantageous to him, but that is not reassuring at all. It means that Romney will play the demagogue as often as he thinks it is useful. If he somehow won the general election, he would conclude that the public approved of a campaign organized around a glaring lie, and he would govern with the same contempt for the truth and the intelligence of his audience. What Kristof seems to miss here is that this makes him more likely to endorse convenient ideological fictions rather than less, and it makes him more likely to go along with whatever the prevailing view in his party happens to be whether he “really” agrees with it or not.

        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/2012/01/05/kristofs-bizarre-hope-that-romney-is-a-fraud/

        On any given subject, I’m at least 50% likely to agree with Larison, putting him head and shoulders above any other conservative commentator out there.

        • Reflection Ephemeral

          Pretty different movement conservatism than in the Goldwater era, isn’t it?

          “Vote Romney: In your heart you know he’s lying”.

        • MSheridan

          Nice, but I think more like:

          “In your heart you hope he’s lying.”

        • ottovbvs

          Agree about Larison. He’s very intelligent and intellectually consistent even if I don’t agree with him some of the time and like you I find myself agreeing with him a surprising amount of the time. And he’s on the button here. Safe Republican faith in Romney is essentially based on a belief he’s a total fraud.

        • margoharris1

          The republican party demands to be lied to.

  • Nanotek

    “Thankfully, if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he probably will avoid the sort of “round up the illegals and ship them out of here” rhetoric that might otherwise be expected because, well, Mitt Romney once had a reasonable position on illegal immigration before he decided he wanted to be the Republican nominee for President.”

    huh? at that debate, that’s exactly what he advocated…

    is the “thankfully” quip based on the hope that he’ll do a full monty flip and get back to a previously held principle?

    the Hispanics the GOP is blind to are the “anchor-baby” teenagers (soon to be voting) of families that the GOP has openly and notoriously advocated rounding up and deporting… their fury and disgust at the GOP sounds deep-seated and inalienable, to me…

  • ottovbvs

    “Thankfully, if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he probably will avoid the sort of “round up the illegals and ship them out of here” rhetoric that might otherwise be expected because, well, Mitt Romney once had a reasonable position on illegal immigration before he decided he wanted to be the Republican nominee for President.”

    This is another variant on the Romney is only pretending be crazy in order to get the nomination and when he gets it we HOPE he will return to normal. And Jeb is proud to be a Republican? Amazing rationalisation process these folks have.

    • PracticalGirl

      “This is another variant on the Romney is only pretending be crazy in order to get the nomination and when he gets it we HOPE he will return to normal”

      Thankfully, hope and change lives on. :)

  • MSheridan

    Thankfully, if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he probably will avoid the sort of “round up the illegals and ship them out of here” rhetoric that might otherwise be expected because, well, Mitt Romney once had a reasonable position on illegal immigration before he decided he wanted to be the Republican nominee for President.

    I could also make a pretty reasonable candidate out of Mitt Romney, if I were allowed to pick and choose among ALL the positions he once held on every subject under the sun. However, I think his critics in the GOP base have the right of it on this one thing: Romney ultimately stands for nothing but Romney. He is a rag in the wind of political circumstance and trying to identify his “true” views on anything is a mug’s game.

  • Deep South Populist

    Pandering to Hispanics/Latinos will not work for the GOP. Pandering to minorities, soon to be the majorities, has never worked for the GOP and never will.

    The various Hispanic/Latino demographic sub-groups voted against John McCain by more than 2 to 1 and against Meg Whitman by well over 2 to 1. And both McCain and Whitman have done plenty of pandering over the years. Excuse me; I mean “reaching out.” Both support granting a form of amnesty to the roughly 12 million illegal Mexicans currently living in the United States. But what good did it do them? None.

    The GOP gets about 90% of its votes from Whites. This makes the GOP the de facto White party. It is what it is. Putting aside how it got this way, why it’s this way, and other questions, it is simply a fact that the GOP gets about 90% of its votes from Whites.

    Therefore, the ideal strategy for the GOP would be for the next GOP president to immediately close the borders through executive order, and then passively deport the roughly 12 million illegal Mexicans by cracking down on the employers who hire them, taking away their jobs, cutting off all forms of social assistance other than emergency services, and passing Arizona laws at the federal level.

    There is nothing inevitable about America’s pending demographic transformation. Much of the change is expected to come about because of immigration, so if you stop immigration, you stop or slow the demographic shift that is working against the GOP.

    They won’t do this, however, even though it’s good policy in its own right and has the additional benefit of making sense as an electoral strategy.

    The GOPs next best strategy would be to simply write off the Blacks and Hispanics for good and focus on drawing Whites who currently vote Democrat into the GOPs corner. The GOP could simply let the Dems win the Blacks and Hispanics and offset the losses by working to pick up more Whites.

    They won’t do this either, obviously.

    John Stuart Mill didn’t call the conservatives the stupid party for no reason.

    The bottom line is that the GOPs powers-that-be know full well why they lost California and why California is never coming back. It’s the GOPs own damn fault they will soon be marginalized as a national party. I say good riddance.

    • ottovbvs

      “Therefore, the ideal strategy for the GOP would be for the next GOP president to immediately close the borders through executive order, and then passively deport the roughly 12 million illegal”

      Hi mastermind, the borders ARE closed. The notion they aren’t technically closed is as half baked as the idea that we can “passively” deport 12 million people and their offspring who are legal citizens by arresting and fining their millions of employers.

      “and focus on drawing Whites who currently vote Democrat into the GOPs corner.”

      Er… that’s what they have been doing but there’s a limited number of stupid whites who are willing to vote against their own economic interest. And then there’s the problem of the white women a majority of whom vote Democratic. Oh and did I mention the jews?

      • drdredel

        @Ottovbus,

        I’m curious why you express such disdain towards DSP. I’ve never seen him Troll, and while I frequently disagree with him and think many of his ideas are less than thoroughly thought out (or at least based on fallacious premises), I don’t recall him ever being rude. Am I missing some sort of personal back story?

    • think4yourself

      DSP, I’m not sure if you’re arguing for the GOP or against. However, I think your arguments are incorrect.

      McCain and Whitman lost minorities because they espoused policies that minorities did not approve of and/or backtracked from previously held “immigrant friendly” positions. Meg Whitman got pulled to the radical right during the primaries and took tea party like positions to win the nomination and then spent millions in the general on negative ads. And what happened at the end? She gets bad press for (a) Having an illegal work for her for many years and then (b) firing that illegal just before she runs for office (so both a law-breaker and uncompassionate towards a trusted employee).

      GWB in his first run started making inroads in the Hispanic community. He spoke broken Spanish and took a softer line than the rest of the Party on immigration isssues.

      McCain’s right (of course running for reelection against JD Hayworth, he didn’t hold this position, so he’s a flip flopper). In my opinion, if the GOP had a compassionate, rational position on immigration and spent time understanding the cultural issues and finding common ground (family values, Catholic religion, law & order, male dominated households, etc.), they could begin a process of bringing some over to the GOP side.

      But of course that won’t happen.

    • connor25

      I think I see where DSP is coming from with this, he flat out doesn’t want the GOP to reach out because it wouldn’t be the GOP without white people (CO Indepedent said the same thing except he said somehow reaching out turns one Republican into a Democrat). He’d rather see the Republican Party die than see it evolve into something better. Come on, he’s just angry that after a few bad losses, the GOP will be forced to reach out to survive.

      Last time I checked Arnold in California did pretty well with Latinos and blacks, I recall he ended up getting significant percentages. But then again, he’s a RINO because he doesn’t pander to far right-wingers and tries to run from the center.

  • LFC

    Senator McCain told First Read that “It starts with a way to address the issue of immigration in a humane and caring fashion–at the same time emphasize the need to secure our borders.”

    Aaaah, so that’s what he currently believes. That sounds kind of like 2008, but not at all like during the 2010 primaries when he suddenly got all butched up on the topic. It’s no wonder he endorsed Mitt. Weather vanes of a feather…

  • TerryF98

    “Build the goddamned fence”! Walnuts 2010

  • Oldskool

    In other words, the gop is on the wrong side of immigration as well as most every other issue. And yet they always get at least 48% no matter who they nominate. So they would be wise to pander to minorities until election day. Then after the election they can drop it the way Shrub dropped the marriage ammendment issue like it was pocket lint. I don’t see the problem.

  • beemerron

    I wonder how a Santorum (Catholic) nomination would affect the Hispanic problem for the GOP?

  • Anonne

    So where does a solution start? How about making policy that addresses people’s needs? Oh, I forgot, this is the Republican Party we’re talking about. Tax cuts for the rich are always “the solution”…

  • Brittanicus

    Which Presidential candidate will stop the illegal alien invasion into this sovereign nation? OR DO THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT VOTES AND CHEAP LABOR?

    THANKS TO MOSTLY LIBERALS AND DEMOCRATS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS HAVE BEEN SUCKING ON THE WELFARE NIPPLE FOR DECADES.

    Investigate what you can do for 22 million jobless American workers and how to contain President Obama from his discretionary means to alter immigration laws. A new amnesty according to the ‘Heritage Foundation’ would add another $2.6 TRILLION DOLLARS to the financial U.S. Treasury ceiling of $15 TRILLION DOLLARS and rising daily. We must arrest the abuse of the Department of Justice against states, trying to survive, under the welfare bombardment of illegal aliens. Only the TEA PARTY and not the two old, tired established parties will enforce immigration laws. Only the Tea Party will build the real two parallel fences, prosecute city officials compliant with Sanctuary Cities and additionally restrain a federal DREAM bill. Only the TEA PARTY will press for the mandatory ‘Legal Workforce Act,’ E-Verify and secondary the ‘Birthright Citizenship Bill.’ Only the TEA PARTY will cut short any further contempt by this administration for the U.S. Constitution and the undermining of the Congressional voices. Everything you need to know is located at these Non-profit, Pro-Sovereignty organizations as NumbersUSA, American Patrol and the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) websites. The legal website of Judicial Watch will open up your eyes to the corruption hidden within the confines of Washington and the state Capitol hierarchy, who are spending trillions of your dollars with impunity. JOIN YOUR LOCAL TEA PARTY AND CONTACT THE SENATE AND HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES AND DEMAND MANDATORY E-VERIFY (H.R. 2885) AND THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL ( H.R.140) CALL THE WASHINGTON AT 202-224-3121

    KEEP YOUR VOTE SAFE! ILLEGAL ALIENS WILL VOTE IN ALL ELECTIONS.

  • IvanGrozny

    The political class in Washington all support the same set of policies, which includes inviting an additional one to two million legal immigrants each year, almost all from the Third World. Most Americans object to this national suicide, but the ruling class has simply decreed it, and will allow no serious discussion and no opposition.

    It would be easy to stop this disaster – just observe how Israel enforces its borders: choose legal immigrants carefully, allowing only a reasonable number to enter; jail and then expel all illegals and their anchor-babies; build walls and other barriers where necessary. Israel has built walls to keep out Arab terrorists – with almost 100% success so far. We could ask Israel for advice. The task is not as daunting as our politicos keep insisting.

    However, the ruling politicians in Israel are patriotic. Not in America. Here, most politicians are traitors.

  • klkevelson

    There’s an implicit racism that is very degrading to many Americans from the RINO establishment. McCain’s comments seem to be enforcing a stereotype that all Americans of Mexican ancestry support illegal immigration. This simply isn’t true. Furthermore, the left suggests that Mexican-Americans who currently favor illegal immigration cannot be swayed in their opinions.

    The nation with the strictest immigration policy in the Western Hemisphere is probably Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers flee to Mexico from Central America and are then put into horrendous prisons in conditions that the American system considers too inhumane for terrorists. These strict policies were established by democratically elected governments.

    Once illegal immigrants from Brazil and Central America start competing with Mexican-Americans for jobs in large numbers, more Mexican-Americans will favor enforcing immigration laws.

    For the record, I think the US should remain open to immigration from everywhere in the world, but it needs to be done legally and the immigrants need to be well-schooled in American civics and assimilation needs to be encouraged at all costs.

  • Radsenior

    McCain is right! Immigration is one topic where the TEA-Republicans are at a disadvantage from the pronouncements from every TEA-Republican who ran in the Republican primary. Additionally, there are so many using the (R) behind their name, instead of the (T) behind their names. This can be attributed to the actions of Ron and Rand Paul who stated: “The revolution is working, we have infiltrated the Republican Party, and we will convert the Republican Party to defenders of liberty.” Moderate Republicans have lost key races and the House’s Boehner has had his knees out from him by Eric Cantor. Humane and caring should have been address in the last 111th Congress, but was not due to these same TEA-Republican confrontational-ist. Mitt Romney’s rivals ripped and chewed him up in the primaries, and every commercial will come back to haunt him in November. Everyone should vote because this country belongs to everyone.

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