Nov 17 2006
I have beaten the immigration issues to death, and while the debate ranges in the comment sections, it seems the far right has no capacity for compromise or seeing the views of the rest of us. RCP has one really important editorial up regarding the situation for the GOP’s future. The hardliners who decided to punt on immigration in the House lost Congress in their closed off world views. They could broker no outreach to immigrants. They could think of endless reasons why immigration was 100% bad and narry an idea how to fix the problem so we came out with immigrant guest workers who no longer toiled in an underground economy. This myopia should have been re-assessed once the voters sent the message they did. But instead of re-evaluation, all we get is retrenchment and denial and blame elsewhere. Here are the hard numbers of reality from that editorial:
Republicans drew barely 30 percent of the Latino vote last week, down from 44 percent in 2004. Democrats, by contrast, saw their numbers jump. They drew 69 percent, compared with 53 percent in 2004. Given the GOP’s hopes nationally, including in Latino-heavy states such as Texas, it can’t ignore the decline.
A bipartisan survey just days before the election reported that 51 percent of Latino likely voters said immigration reform was important to their vote. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake claims the issue moved Latinos more than any group.
President Bush has polled anywhere from 35 to 49 percent of the Latino vote in races in Texas and for president. And he has not backed down from trying to improve the nation’s immigration system.
Add to these the other ‘races’ who felt the immigration stand was over the top and you have a pretty could thumping. Again, I think Bush’s last minute efforts and Kerry’s terminal foot-in-mouth-disease turned a tide that was ready to swamp the Reps. Personally, if the far right cannot agree to allow a guest worker program then there is no hope for the Republican party. None. I have heard all the rationalizations and they are nothing but reasons not to compromise. Heck, if the amount of energy going into denial was refocused on fixing the compromise bill (like one strike your out tolerance for serious crimes) we would be sailing to a good 2008.
But the far right has no capacity for reaching out. None. The country may have ridden the conservative tide with the Reps as far as we can or as far as we need to. Taxes are low and dems are loathe to raise them. Liberal dems must hide their intents behind conservative sounding sound-bites. If Bush can work with Snowe and McCaskill and Coleman and Lieberman and Menendez to fashion the next round of controlled conservatism, then I guess that is what us voters are left to work with. We need to get the comprehensive Bill passed and thankfully now we have a way to get it done. I can tell the far right is not going to budge, they are a lost cause. And with most lost causes, there is no reason to ponder what could have been. The GOP, at least in my eyes, is not showing any capacity to correct their flaws – the worst of which is their presumed superiority. The same superiority that brought them a resounding win in this election cycle. The “guest worker program” will kill the party off. Being against guest workers who work in the open economy is just ridiculous. To fix this, the GOP has to be for a guest worker program, work out details and live with what is always an imperfect result. If that is unacceptable – the party is finished. It will continue to hemorrhage support.
Addendum: I am going to post later today on what I think will be the new centrist voter which will be ups for grabs this year. Echoing what many of my readers have said, I will try and describe the “Bush Conservatives” (note: This group will be broad based conservatives first, not far right Republicans). Check back later today if you are interested. I will be interested in seeing the comments on this possible new pool of conservative voters.