Diary

Karl Rove on Immigration and Hispanics

Jennifer Rubin writes of Rove in her Flotsam and Jetsom blog feature:

Karl Rove has plenty of savvy advice for Republicans including this (which won’t be greeted warmly in some conservative corners): “Republicans must find a way to support secure borders, a guest-worker program and comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens citizenship, grows our economy and keeps America a welcoming nation. An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal. As the party of Lincoln, Republicans have a moral obligation to make our case to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans who share our values. Whether we see gains in 2010 depends on it.”

She was right about the reception.

The Other McCain writes that Rove is guilty of conflating politics with policy:

If you’ve met Karl Rove — as I did earlier this year at George Washington University — you know what an impressive person he is. The guy has aN authoritIVE manner, and can talk politics very fluently, citing all sorts of historical and demographic facts to bolster his case.Yet that does not, and certainly ought not, empower Rove to dictate policy to conservatives. In fact, this blurring of politics and policy in the Bush administration (for which Rove was significantly responsible) is one of the major causes of Republican “brand damage.”

R.S. McCain goes onto argue with the points by asserting an aversion to Amnesty.Sigh. Where is Amnesty in that paragraph?The offending phrase is, “a guest-worker program and comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens citizenship…“R.S. McCain states that Blacks abhor illegal immigration and that even Hispanics do so, and that pandering in the form of amnesty boomerangs:

Has it occurred to anyone — as it has apparently never occurred to Rove, Bush or McCain — that many law-abiding Hispanic citizens are insulted by politicians who pander to illegals? Certainly Puerto Ricans (born with U.S. citizenship) and Cubans (legal refugees and their descendants) have no personal stake in amnesty, and are undoubtedly troubled to hear Republicans like Rove insinuate that “Hispanic” and “illegal alien” are synonyms, so that to be anti-amnesty is to be anti-Hispanic.

Oh, really? How has that worked against the Democrats who pound on the amnesty pulpit with rampant abandon? If we are to argue against “pandering” via amnesty, again, how has this worked out for Democrats?Pretty good, actually. So, scratch the politics argument from the objection.As one who has lived on the Border and along the Rio Grande Valley, let me disabuse McCain and others of the notion that “many” Hispanics are insulted by politicians that seek solutions to the immigration status of those who are here illegally. They do not. Those McCain seeks to cite admire honest hard working people, immigrant status aside. While no group can be said to be representative of every individual, most Hispanics are very sympathetic to the plight of those who wish to amend their resident status and to be “legal.”Amnesty has little to do with why McCain lost this election and Rove has hit on issues that must be addressed by the GOP if the party wants to win in 2010 and onward.Conservatives can legitimately believe in small government, individual Liberty, and a strong America and still think that there should be a path to legitimacy for those who came here in contravention of America’s immigration laws but have been contributors and wish to be residents in good standing. Decriminalization of those who can be attributes does not mean we must accept those who will not abide by our laws once here. There is no decent reason to toss out their (conservatives’) beliefs on other issues, or even their thoughts about related issues, just because there is disagreement on amnesty.Cross Posted at Pax Parabellum.[UPDATE] I forgot to include the link to Stacy McCain’s item (http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2008/11/to-hell-with-karl-rove.html).He has included updates to the item and has commented in response to this entry:

UPDATE II: Both Donald Douglas and Steve in TN side with Rove, without addressing the central problem: On what basis does the GOP make an appeal to currently Democrat-leaning Hispanic voters that is consistent with conservative values? Where is the conservative issue that is going to make those Hispanics who are now voting 2-to-1 for Democrats reverse their preference?Douglas accuses me of “stereotypical ignorance of Latinos” — heh!– and then references his own article arguing that “at least 20 percent of Latino voters are traditional conservatives with deep religious affiliations.” And the point is . . .?The problem is not that Republicans are “blowing off” that 20% constituency, as Douglas says, rather it is the fact that the majority of Hispanics vote Democratic and always have. With all of his “strategery,” Rove never changed that. In his best year, 2004, Bush got 44% of the Hispanic vote. I haven’t done the math, but I’m betting that if you look at this year’s exit polls, calculate the effect if McCain had gotten that same 44% of Hispanic votes, Obama would still win by an Electoral College landslide.Which is to say, Rove doesn’t have an answer to this problem, and the Hispanic vote does not actually explain why McCain lost the election. The real explanation, put simply, is that the Bush administration has made the Republican Party unpopular. Why is it that Karl Rove, who did so much to drive the GOP into this ditch, is trusted to tell the GOP how to get out of the ditch? It’s as if in the mid-’70s, Republicans were turning to H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman for advice on how to recover from the Watergate scandal. Utter madness.