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Republicans Borrow The Whig Playbook

By Greg L | 26 June 2007 | National Politics, Illegal Aliens, Virginia Politics | 15 Comments

Watching some of the talk radio programs, the coverage on television, and the Virginia blogosphere, the reaction to the Senate’s vote to revive the dead amnesty for illegal aliens bill is something like the detonation of a political bomb.  Here in Virginia, reliable Republican bloggers are deserting the Republican party and heaping scorn on a party apparatus that they have been very strong in defending, and talk radio is throwing the party leadership under the bus.  Approval numbers for congress and the president are dropping to fifteen year lows, and citizens who otherwise wouldn’t be getting involved in lobbying are melting phone lines to the point that some Senators have stopped answering their phones.  It’s hard to find a precedent for this kind of disaffection with government unless you go back to the time of the demise of the Whig party.

The closer legislators are to their constituents, it seems the more in-tune they are on this issue.  Loudoun Supervisor Mick Staton, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Senator Ken Cuccinelli are two (of many) examples of local Republican elected officials who are vocal in their opposition to this plan and willing to bring the heat on their party leadership for this unconscionable position.  Northern Virginia Republican Congressmen Wolf and Davis aren’t quite so vocal, but are clearly not supporting this amnesty plan.  Senator Warner has gone insane (yet again) and is supporting this abomination, and is one of those Senators who cannot be reached by phone at his DC office.  And the president, well, it’s difficult to say his actions are anything other than treasonous.  The farther up the food chain they are, the less they seem to care about what their constituents think.

This is going to pose a huge problem for Republicans in the future.  Although local legislators tend to be better on this issue, if the top of a Republican ticket is associated with this sort of behavior it’s going to be very difficult for local candidates to avoid being associated with the up-ticket millstone.  Even in 2007, when there isn’t a presidential race, the national political landscape will significantly impact local races just as they did in last year’s election.  If Republican presidential candidates don’t start assigning blame for this fiasco where it really should reside — with President Bush — they greatly risk being viewed in the next presidential election as a surrogate for amnesty policies, even though that brings great risk during a primary season.  Otherwise, getting Republicans to the polls is going to be a lot harder.

Hillary Clinton’s chances of being elected president in 2008 just got significantly better, and along with that may come a significant number of state-level Democrats being elected in the 2007 elections.  Unless there’s some strong leadership on this issue soon that puts an end to these amnesty proposals and re-establishes the Republican “brand”, it’s looking like a much more difficult election year for Republicans than it did a few weeks ago.

Didn’t something like this happen to the Whigs?



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15 Comments

  1. 10thdistrictrepublican said on 26 Jun 2007 at 10:54 pm:
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    I did recieve a very nice well written piece of government mail from Congressman Wolf back I believe a few weeks ago opposing this amnesty plan. I was very pleased and satisfied. As for Davis I don’t live in his district so I don’t know how vocal he has been.

  2. PJ said on 26 Jun 2007 at 11:25 pm:
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    I think we need to hear how our LOCAL elected officials feel about the Senate bill. Even though it is the Senate voting on it our County Boards of Supervisors,… all can contact our Senators on our behalf. We need to know what these local officials think as most of them, except the ones noted have been very silent on this bill.

  3. Loudoun Insider said on 26 Jun 2007 at 11:27 pm:
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    I now believe that the Bush II presidency may be one of the worst ever. This guy had the world in the palm of his hand after 9/11 and has absolutely imploded. Of course everyone knew he was for this type of amnesty, and many figured he would wait until the last year of office to put it through. He will be gone, but the long term damage to the GOP will remain for a long time.

  4. Thumper said on 26 Jun 2007 at 11:59 pm:
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    Only thing I can figure is that Bush and friends are relying on the massive business donations that will come in if amnesty plan passes and hope using blitz of mass ads with that money can overcome the dissent.

  5. anon said on 27 Jun 2007 at 1:25 am:
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    California, Civil War and Slave Labor (Illegal Alien Labor)

    California joined the North in the Civil War because most minors didn’t want to compete with “slave labor” ie real Slave Labor. This act probably doomed the south in the Civil War because the North now had all the gold reserves.

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070624/2west.htm

  6. citizenofmanassas said on 27 Jun 2007 at 8:19 am:
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    IIRC, during the debate of the bill last year, Tom Davis did say it was the number one issue he heard about from the people in his district, and said even with the high number of immigrants that most people did not like the bill. Though he did follow up with a statement that seemed to indicate once we have figured out border security it would be time to address the illegals already in the Country.

  7. John Light said on 27 Jun 2007 at 11:05 am:
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    Will be interesting to see what Davis says especially since, at least according to an article in yesterday’s “Washington Times” Morton Blackwell, close friend of Grover Norquist, all but said that Tom Davis is running for Warner’s Senate Seat upon John’s announcement later this year.

    That being said, don’t think that illegal immigration is ONLY about Hispanics (though they ARE the most visible with so many businesses catering to them in their native language), but also about illegals from the Middle East (Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan) as well as Ted Kennedy’s roots, Ireland and yes, as mentioned above, China.

    With some 46% of young Muslim teenagers agreeing with the suicide bombers, and a great number of illegals engaged in human trafficing of children and drugs, it is PAST the time that we put a stop to this madness. While I may be one of 3 people to still support President Bush, he cannot be further from correct concerning the Amnesty Bill that he wants passed in to law.

  8. Ted said on 27 Jun 2007 at 12:31 pm:
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    From a letter I received from Davis a week or so when the first bill was being debated in the Senate:

    “I favor a high wall and a wide gate. Without effective border control, immigration laws are useless. Our high wall would ensure that no one can enter our country unless they are properly identified, documented and approved for entry. Strong border security is essential in maintaining our nation’s security and sovereignty….

    Unlike the current immigration infrastructure, our wide gate would not be plagued by an inert bureaucracy, a prohibitive backlog of applications or any of the other deficiencies which encourage prospective immigrants to seek alternative, non-legal means of entry….

    The lessons of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act should not be cast aside….

    This comprehensive immigration deal is a measure I can not support….”

    1) Davis did not define his “high wall and wide gate”.

    2) He was speaking of the bill that was shot down earlier this month.

    He seems to be saying the right things, but let’s what he says and does if the current Senate bill gets to the House.

  9. Ted said on 27 Jun 2007 at 12:31 pm:
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    From a letter I received from Davis a week or so when the first bill was being debated in the Senate:

    “I favor a high wall and a wide gate. Without effective border control, immigration laws are useless. Our high wall would ensure that no one can enter our country unless they are properly identified, documented and approved for entry. Strong border security is essential in maintaining our nation’s security and sovereignty….

    Unlike the current immigration infrastructure, our wide gate would not be plagued by an inert bureaucracy, a prohibitive backlog of applications or any of the other deficiencies which encourage prospective immigrants to seek alternative, non-legal means of entry….

    The lessons of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act should not be cast aside….

    This comprehensive immigration deal is a measure I can not support….”

    1) Davis did not define his “high wall and wide gate”.

    2) He was speaking of the bill that was shot down earlier this month.

    He seems to be saying the right things, but let’s see what he says and does if the current Senate bill gets to the House.

  10. Ted said on 27 Jun 2007 at 12:32 pm:
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    Ooops, sorry about that.

  11. Bababooey said on 27 Jun 2007 at 1:31 pm:
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    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/immigration/#

  12. Bababooey said on 27 Jun 2007 at 2:30 pm:
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    Immigration and the GOP
    How to make Republicans a minority party once again.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

    Immigration reform stayed alive in the Senate yesterday, albeit not without continuing rancor among Republicans. Restrictionists seem to believe the issue will harm the GOP if it succeeds, but we think the political reality is closer to the opposite: The greater danger for Republicans is if it fails.

    We’ve written often about the merits of immigration reform, and we have our own problems with parts of the Senate bill. But it’s worth spending some time on the larger politics of the issue, especially for Republicans. They’re caught between a passionate minority of their party–who oppose any reform that allows illegals a path to citizenship–and the larger electorate, which is more moderate and wants to solve the problem. Like Democrats on national security, this is a classic case in which pandering to the base will harm the GOP overall.

    That’s true most immediately for Presidential hopefuls like Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, who continue to assail the bill as “amnesty.” No doubt this gets applause in some Republican precincts. But in the near term, meaning through 2008, Republicans would be far better off helping President Bush and John McCain pass something that takes immigration off the table. If the issue remains central to the 2008 debate, it will divide the GOP and the media will play up the split. Given the passions that immigration evokes on the right in particular, the issue could easily drown out other domestic policy messages the candidates would prefer to run on.
    The longer term danger is that the GOP is sending a message to Latinos that it doesn’t want them in the party. And if that message sticks, Republicans could put themselves back in minority party status for a generation or more. Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority in the country, and their voting numbers continue to grow. Hispanics were estimated to be 8% of the electorate in 2006, compared with 6% in 2004 and 5.5% in 2000. Census data show that the number of Latino voters could rise to 10% or more by 2008. The demographic reality is that the GOP can’t be a majority party with Anglo-Saxon votes alone.

    Like most voters, Hispanics care about more issues than immigration. But also like most voters, they take pride in their cultural identity and will reject candidates who send a message of hostility to their very presence in America. They know that when Tom Tancredo calls for an immigration “time out,” he’s not talking about the Irish. He means no more Mexicans, Hondurans or other Hispanics. If the GOP wants to be deserted by Hispanics for the next few election cycles, that sort of talk should do the trick.

    A recent WSJ/NBC News poll showed that Hispanics now self-identify as Democrats rather than Republicans by 51% to 21%. Restrictionist Republicans like to spin this as proof that Hispanics, like blacks, are lost to the party, and that more Mexican immigration inevitably means more Democratic voters. Leaving aside that such determinism betrays a lack of confidence in the appeal of Republican principles, the Hispanic-black comparison doesn’t hold up.
    Black GOP support has hovered around 10% since 1992, according to exit polls. Hispanic support for Republicans over the same period has often been more than three times higher. Unlike blacks today, Hispanics are a legitimate swing voting bloc, and the GOP’s current low standing among Hispanics represents an ominous reversal of recent trends.

    In 2004, exit polls showed Republicans winning 44% of the Hispanic vote, up from 35% in 2000 and 38% in 2002. As Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg noted after last year’s elections, “the Latino vote had swung more heavily into the Republican camp than any other vote in America. They went from 21% in 1996 to 44% in 2004. This was a doubling of the Republican market share, one of the most significant political achievements of the Bush era.”

    But in the run-up to last year’s midterm elections, Republicans chose to make immigration their lead issue. The GOP leadership in Congress encouraged talk radio and cable news shows to inflate the illegal alien problem, and Republican candidates took a hard-line anti-immigration stance in hopes of turning out GOP voters. It didn’t work. Not only did the strategy fail to help Republicans hang on to their majorities in Congress, but support from Hispanic voters fell to 29%, the lowest level this decade. If running against illegal immigration were a winner, Arizona’s J.D. Hayworth would still be in Congress.

    By the way, the growth in the Hispanic population will continue regardless of what happens with immigration from now on. The number of Hispanics who already hold green cards guarantees that their share of the electorate will increase over time even if Congress could seal the Southern border tomorrow. The GOP should be competing for these voters rather than driving them away with a barely concealed message of “Mexicans, go home.”
    Notwithstanding the small but loud segment of the GOP base preoccupied with the issue, hostility to immigration has never been a political winner. Like trade protection, people protectionism always polls better in telephone surveys than on Election Day. For a Presidential candidate especially, it sends a negative message rather than one of optimistic leadership. If GOP candidates can’t support Mr. Bush and Senator Jon Kyl on immigration, they should at least avoid the kind of demagoguery that will hurt their party for years to come.

  13. John Light said on 27 Jun 2007 at 2:42 pm:
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    A big wall will NOT stop them. It could be 10 miles high, and they won’t stop. Have you EVER heard of TUNNELS??? It’s time to take this seriously, folkes. I don’t care if these people are pregant, poor, out of work. What I care about is are they legal.

    How about the punishment for those who hire illegals be the same as the illegals??? Follow the precedent mentioned in another thread on “Operation WetBack” and send them to south Mexico along with the people who they hired.

    What? These employers don’t have their passports with them??? Too bad, so sad. Let the Mexican government deal with them. Maybe THEY will do to the Americans without documentation what OUR govt WON’T do to the illegals in OUR country.

    And yes, folkes, this really is about more than the Hispanics. But if they won’t vote for you because you are against illegal immigration, then good for you. The louder they are the more of an activist the LEGAL US CITIZENS will and SHOULD become!!!

  14. Riley, Not O'Reilly said on 27 Jun 2007 at 4:01 pm:
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    We need to secure our northern border, too. Border Patrol is a joke in many areas up there — literally a wooden shack on a dirt road manned by one person. Just look at the recent case of the lawyer with TB who was quarantined and not supposed to reenter the U.S. who got through with no problems whatsoever and that was at a crossing more sophisticated than most along the northern border.

  15. freedom said on 29 Jun 2007 at 6:50 am:
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    …but John, the border must be secured….no, a wall (double fence??) alone won’t do it, but it will certainly make it more difficult and with the “wall” in place, will render other monitoring techniques more effective.

    …and i agree with you on punishing — severely — employers of illegals!

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