Immigrant Song
That was a pretty entertaining joint appearance by Gov. Mitt Romney and Senator Lindsey Graham on Meet the Press yesterday. Romney, dialing it down a notch or two into only partial campaign mode, still managed to use the Mark Sanford affair to hit all of the requisite social conservative notes on the importance of the nuclear family and the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. I’m sure we will hear lots more along these lines from Romney in the coming months.
But what really caught my ear was a brief policy mention by Lindsay Graham.  Pushed by moderator David Gregory to name an issue on which he could provide some bipartisan leadership, Graham suggested immigration reform as one possibility:
A guy like me who'll try to find common ground on the issue on immigration. You know, one thing long-term about this party, the demographic changes in this country are real. We lost ground with Hispanic voters because of the way we behaved and the things we said on immigration…
It’s a good thing Graham is not likely to run for president anytime soon, because I predict that immigration reform will once again be the third rail of Republican primary politics. You’ll recall the issue almost tanked John McCain’s candidacy in 2007, until he backed away from his own McCain-Kennedy Bill’s idea of a legal path to citizenship (or amnesty, as conservatives labeled it), and instead focused first on increased border security.
From an electoral perspective, Graham is smart to bring attention to the perilous state of the Republican Party’s relationship with Hispanic voters. But spend a few minutes listening to conservative talk radio (or watching Fox News) when immigration is the subject under discussion, and you’ll likely be taken aback by the tremendous anger voiced by the conservative base of the party. You certainly won’t hear much discussion of the need to reach out to Hispanic voters.
The Obama administration obviously wants to get its energy and health care reform bills out of the way first. But if some form of bipartisan immigration legislation shepherded by Graham and others takes center stage in 2010 or 2011, I don’t expect many Republican presidential hopefuls to line up behind it. And, if the vitriol from the right wing of the party again approaches McCain-Kennedy levels, then Senator Graham will truly have his work cut out for him within his own party.


Posted On: 07-01-2009 19:39:14 by ALL
I welcome all people who move for a better life with open arms.

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