LESLIE SANCHEZ SPINS VIRGINIA'S GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION RESULTS IN WAPO
I was tipped off to this Leslie Sanchez piece, published in today's edition of the Washington Post (registration required for online edition), in an e-mail from ACSOL reader Richard Tolliver. I thank him for the heads-up, as well as for a link he provided to a well-thought, well-written rebuttal by Glenn Greenwald at his blog, "Unclaimed Territory."
Leslie Sanchez's spin of the Virginia gubernatorial race, won by Democratic Lt. Governor Tim Kaine over Republican Jerry Kilgore, is that the GOP candidate's hardline position vis-a-vis illegal immigration may have cost him the election and that Republicans would do well to heed the repercussions of that position in future elections.
As she writes in WaPo:
There is, however, a more subtle but potentially as important lesson for Republicans that could be drowned out by the tax discussion: When it comes to immigration, dropping the word "illegal" into any anti-immigration proposal is not likely to work electoral magic.
In his stump speeches and in his television ads, Kilgore hit his Democratic opponent, Tim Kaine, on the immigration issue but was careful to use the word "illegal" in his rhetoric at every turn, as if that alone were some kind of magic bullet.
This is the stuff of GOP consultants and pollsters, who advise that even legal immigrants are opposed to "illegal" immigration. That's true, of course: Nobody defends those who flout the law, and resentment is especially acute among those who have gone to extreme lengths to comply. What these advisers miss, however, is the question of intensity: Substantial numbers of immigrants (not to mention their children and grandchildren, too) hear attacks on "illegal" immigration as attacks on them -- so that a discussion of, say, day laborers can quickly turn into an anti-Hispanic free-for-all.
This is nonsense, of course, and a thoroughly impolitic prescription for how to deal with the twin issues of border security and immigration reform that are, for a vast majority of Americans, including Hispanic voters, front-burner issues that neither the president, nor the Congress, have raised to the level of priority that a seething electorate demands of them. Indeed a Zogby Poll conducted in September, 2001, showed that Hispanics were less likely to vote for President Bush for a second term if he continued to support amnesty for illegals! And, overall, Americans were 2 to 1 in their opposition to amnesty.
Sanchez offers this bit of sleight of hand:
Hispanics know from experience that most people can't tell the difference between legal and illegal immigrants or, in many cases, between immigrants and U.S.-born, Spanish-speaking Hispanics -- so they just assume the worst absent proof to the contrary.
Baloney! First off, owing to the pervasiveness of misguided Sanctuary City laws, suspected illegals cannot even be challenged by local police officers to produce identification, and were they able to, a Latino American citizen would have documentation other than a matricula consular card with which to prove citizenship. Hispanics are not being rousted. That's a red herring and Sanchez knows it.
But Leslie Sanchez proves her spin has no borders:
Republicans embrace anti-immigrant fervor at their peril. The party is perilously close to adopting as its immigration policy the hanging of a "closed" sign on the border. To do so would be a gross mistake that would oversimplify the problem and set back all the efforts of President Bush to build bridges to America's growing population of Hispanics while finding a workable solution to a complex problem, one with far-ranging political consequences for the party over the long run.
Stopping Mexican nationals and "Other Than Mexicans" (OTMs) from illegal border jumping is not tantamount to hanging a "closed" sign on the border. Sanchez ought to stop and count the number of Ports of Entry along the U.S.-Mexico contiguous border where, with proper documentation, citizens on both sides of the border can cross to the other side at will. This is just a race-card approach popular with open borders' apologists.
What should be taken from the Virginia gubernatorial race is that Jerry Kilgore ran a lousy campaign, Lt. Governor Tim Kaine was widely popular in the state even before the campaign began, and Republican conservatives stayed at home on election day, still fuming over President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers.
Besides, if you want to think for a minute that Sanchez's observations are astute, I'd suggest you talk to two Democrats (governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Janet Napolitano of Arizona) and two Republicans (governors Rick Perry of Texas and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California) to assess the pulse of American voters, including Hispanic voters, on the issues of border security and immigration reform. Virginia is hardly a bellwether state on these issues.
Contrary to what Ms. Sanchez asserts, America's melting pot is on the boil and even the media is starting to get it, as American voters become increasingly restive over the national security threat that 11+ million illegals pose and upset with the huge costs and cultural impact of a runaway invasion from the south. The political party that belatedly seizes the initiative will win big in 2006 and 2008 and that party shouldn't dance around the word "illegal," as the Latino activist groups bent on "el Plan De Aztlan" are wont to do.
FOLLOW-UP: I suspect that if Virginia's voters understood the information provided in this important piece published at MichNews.com, they'd find Leslie Sanchez's column laughable. Besides, the state of Virginia has had its share of gang-related problems with the notorious MS-13. I suppose Ms. Sanchez wouldn't want these machete-wielding gang-bangers to suffer the sobriquet, "illegal."
FOLLOW-UP II: Bryanna Bevins at the VDARE Blog posts results of a National Republican Congressional Committee survey on immigration that makes the factual case that Leslie Sanchez doesn't know what she's talking about. Scroll down (better yet read all the way through) the post to the heading: "Survey Questions with Results." Leslie -- it's not even close!