Wishy-washy candidates meet wishy-washy voters
0 comment Thursday, October 9, 2014 |
Here's an interesting piece on Mitt Romney and his shifting positions on immigration:
Some excerpts below.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney had a tough message on immigration at a March 22 luncheon in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
``I don't think there should be a special pathway to citizenship for those that are here illegally,'' he said. ``It makes no sense at all to have a border which is basically concrete against skill and education but wide open to people to just walk on in who have neither.''
That position sets the former Massachusetts governor apart from a major rival, Arizona Senator John McCain, as well as President George W. Bush, both of whom back a guest-worker plan that gives undocumented workers the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. It also sets him apart from some of his own former positions.
Over a year ago, Romney said it would be impractical to deport 11 million undocumented workers and suggested giving some the path to citizenship he criticizes today. ``The 11 million or so that are here are not going to be rounded up and box-carted out of America,'' Romney said in a March 29, 2006, interview with Bloomberg News.
Romney's decision to shift his stand demonstrates how a big issue sometimes boils up from the voters, forcing candidates to adjust their messages. ``For Republicans it's immigration; for Democrats it's trade,'' Illinois Democratic Representative Rahm Emanuel said yesterday at the American Society of Newspaper Editors meeting in Washington. ``Both issues reflect the unease Americans feel about the effects of globalization.''
According to a Jan. 5-12 Harris Interactive poll, 73 percent of Republicans see large-scale immigration as an extremely likely or very likely threat; only 43 percent of Democrats feel that way.
Greg Mankiw, former chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers and another top Romney adviser, was responsible for the 2005 economic report of the president that made the case for open borders.
``On net, immigration is a positive for the U.S. economy,'' Mankiw said Feb. 17, 2005, on the Public Broadcasting System's Nightly Business Report. During a news briefing earlier that day, he said he remembered his Ukrainian immigrant grandmother sending remittances back home.
``The tradition of workers coming to the U.S. and helping support their often much poorer families abroad is a phenomenon that's existed for many, many decades,'' he said. ``We are a country that absorbs immigrants quite well.'
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden plays down the idea of a philosophical divide over immigration within the campaign. ``Advisers and campaign staffers are just exactly that,'' he said. ``We're dedicated to promoting the ideas and policies of Governor Romney, not our own agendas.''
[Emphasis mine]
However, despite the aide's disclaimer of promoting their own agendas, the comments by Greg Mankiw, with the obligatory sentiments about his 'immigrant grandmother', seems to indicate that personal feelings do influence policy. How liberal is that?
This piece points up some inconsistencies in the opinion polls: while, as the article says, a sizeable majority of GOP voters (73%) see immigration as a threat, still most of these voters seem quite content to accept and support candidates who, like Romney, range from pro-immigration to equivocal pro-enforcement statements.
So why the disconnect? Why do so many people (and not just poll respondents, but real-life people) seem up in arms about our illegal invasion, yet they are happy to settle for the same old, same old, when it comes to picking possible candidates?
The woman, quoted in this part of the article, seems to feel much as I do:
Romney, 60, confronts grassroots anger over the flood of illegal immigrants almost daily. In Council Bluffs, that meant hearing from people like Carol Cates, 53, a local police officer.
``It's going to bankrupt our nation if we don't make some changes soon,'' said Cates, who came to size Romney up at the luncheon. ``That's almost a deal-breaker for me. If they're soft on immigration, I won't even consider them.''
Thank you, Carol Cates; you are a discerning woman, and a woman of integrity. Still I think she is an exception; people who are talking tough on the border issue one moment may be praising Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich in the next breath. What is that about? Is it denial? Is it cynicism and resignation? I hear comments about how 'Tancredo (or Paul, or Hunter) is not electable; he could never get nominated, much less elected, so we have to be realistic.' That resigned attitude is very common. Yet is there not something of the self-fulfilling prophecy about it? If we never try to raise up a candidate who represents the popular will and traditional principles like, oh, maybe enforcing our borders, and protecting our Republic and our historic culture, we will definitely never have such a candidate. But to this attitude of resignation, I have to ask, what does it say about our Republic if we tell ourselves that the popular will, the will of the majority, has no chance in our system? If we say that, we have all but announced to the world that our system, our Republic, is defunct, deader than a doornail, and that we live in some kind of despotic state now. Have we decided that to be the case? If we believe it, then our belief makes it so.
Look, Mitt Romney may be a good, clean-living, decent man, but I agree with Carol Cates, the policewoman. His wishy-washiness on immigration is a deal-breaker.
I have heard all the responses to this; usually they run along the lines of ''well, we can't have everything we want, and I don't vote just on one issue; smaller government is important, and the War on Terror, and pro-life issues, and stopping gay marriage, and protecting our Second Amendment rights...'' and on and on. Fine; those issues are important to me, too, but I am dumbfounded that people don't see the primacy of the immigration/border issue.
If we fail to take control of our borders and our exploding population of immigrants, legal and illegal, and the transforming of our country, all the rest is moot. Smaller government is impossible when we are being overrun by invaders who are overwhelmingly net users of expensive social programs; there is no way, with open borders and mass immigration that we can ever reduce the size of government and reduce spending. Social programs in particular can only grow and grow, with immigrants being infinitely more costly than our home-grown poor folks. And as far as the terror threat, closing our borders and curtailing all immigration would only reduce our vulnerability to terror attacks. Remember, open borders and amnesty would increase not just Mexican and Latino populations and influence, but also the Moslem 'community' and the implicit dangers thereof. As far as the rest of the conservative agenda, the presence of millions more immigrants will only ensure that the country will move hopelessly leftward, and the conservative influence in our government would dwindle away to nothing; we will be swamped by left-leaning demographics. There will be little hope of preserving our Constitutional rights and our traditional American values in a country which will be made up of a disparate collection of people from diverse countries, the vast majority of whom do not share any, not one, of those traditional American values we claim to cherish.
Our country will be more crime-prone, less safe and secure, and our government will be even more Politically Correct or culturally Marxist than it already is, should we fail to get control of our borders and our promiscuous immigration policy.
Immigration is THE issue; the rest is all secondary, folks. If we fail to take back control of what was once our country, and to elect people who truly represent us, then we will be forever marginalized, and our country handed over to strangers and their collaborators in 'our' government.
Conservatives are supposedly people who are profoundly realistic, but I am seeing a distressing amount of denial and wishful thinking when it comes to picking our next President.
So despite the talk and the complaining about immigration, too many of us are willing to settle for a candidate who represents more of the same, who will at best, do nothing to reverse the dire situation we are in, or who will, at worst, be in favor of an amnesty and the destruction of America as we have known it. We have Rudy 'Sanctuary' Giuliani, with his melting-pot, immigrant sympathies, and we have Romney, who changes with the wind, depending on his audience, and we have John 'Amnesty' McCain; these are our frontrunners. And moving up fast, we have Fred Thompson, who has a lackluster record on immigration, a 'C' grade on his Senate record in the past, and some carefully phrased tough talk on borders. The prospects are not promising.
What will it take to remove the blinders from voters' eyes? I fear we will have just more of the same failed policies, thanks to the timidity and lukewarmness of the American electorate, and the fate of our country will be sealed.

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