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May 16, 2006


Well, the other thing about stem cells is that it was an attempt to split the pro-life baby. Moderate Republicans v. Nutters.

This baby is a lot more complicated, because it invokes both the racist baby, and the corporate accommodation baby. Nutters v. funders.

Bush has a lot less wiggle room, and the nutters are getting increasingly tired that BushCo sides with the corporate interests while they lose jobs.

So at this point I'm confused. Is immigration going to be a major campaign issue this year?

It certainly seems to be getting groomed that way, but I don't get the sense that many people care or that many congressional races can make an issue of it (how many competitive districts have border-crossing issues?). And it just seems like a weird, weak card to play for an administration that's against inspecting cargo coming in to our ports, and that is actively moving jobs overseas.

'wheel, 'pockets,

Can you say "desperate?" I knew you could.

I think the issue cuts so oddly it couldn't possibly be a major GOP campaign help. What the radical base wants is so far off in right field that Bush couldn't tout it without seriously alienating almost everyone else (and ginning up the Hispanic anti- vote, which may have been done anyway). All I'm hearing from the hardcore today is how Bush didn't go far enough. (These are many of the same people who say Bush needs to radically cut spending. They can't fathom that, if Bush proposed the cuts they desire -- in Medicare, etc. -- it could put the party out of power for a generation)

But, wait! -- CNN has a crap poll, in the spirit of last week's ABC offering, showing approval of Bush's plan jumped from 42 to 67%. The fine print: the poll was only of speech-watchers. I wonder how small that audience was.

Immigration may be an issue in a few districts, in AZ and NM and CA for example, and maybe in areas in the midwest and upper midwest where people are afraid of what they don't know. This is where the outcome of the CA-50 race will be instructive. Some GOP are threatening to withhold votes from Bilbray bnecause he's too liberal, so he's going hard on immigration. If Busby ekes out a win, it says immigration isn't the trump issue, just a wedge issue.

Poll after poll shows that many working class people don't believe that immigration is taking away jobs they want to do. Only in select industries, like meat packing and chicken processing is it a big factor, and these are hard, dirty jobs that Americans wouldn't do except for much more money. Same, apparently, with cleaning. That's why unionizing janitors and hotel workers is so important. Offshoring is probably a bigger factor, and if the flow of migrants is seriously curtailed, some plants and even farms will just go to Mexico. And nothing prevents citizens from joining the throngs outside Home Depot if they want construction and landscaping work. Certainly the non-white working class does not see the anti-immigrant folks as their friends.

IMHO immigration is like gay marriage--it is a big deal to people who are insecure and feel like they are at risk of losing what makes them special. Shoring up their standard of living and economic security would go a long way toward easing the salience of both issues.

Even more important, I don't think Bush did anything that will stop the Latino vote from moving more and more to the Dems. This doesn't get polled well, but the general impression is hardening in the Latino community that the Reps are not on their side. The Dems aren't really doing anything to earn Latino votes, but in the two party constellation, they don't have to, if they can run a turn out operation. This could happen. If we have a long term, the outlook is quite good across the Southwest and everywhere Latinos are becoming a larger voting block.

Mimikatz & janinsanfran, that's what I was thinking too. I see the comparison to gay marriage but unlike it I think immigration only carries real weight in the areas you named... and naturally those are also the areas that have good-sized minority voting populations. I guess they figure those votes are lost anyway, and better to appeal to the base in those areas if they can. As the Dane said, "To what base uses we may return, Horatio!"

The other difference between gay marriage and immigration as campaign issues is the times we're in. Humans take to philosophy only after they've got food, shelter, and light. When Bush had reasonably high approval and most of the country agreed with the way the U.S. was moving, you could make hay from a piddling matter. With Bush in the 20s and gas prices in the $3s I don't think people will be as easily distracted.

At least I hope not.

Also: ever since Katrina, Bush's actions have been viewed as trying to 'save his presidency.' it's worth noting the difference with gay marriage or stem cells where it was largely being fed & swallowed as Bush standing on principle -- particularly stem cells where it was touted as somehow significant that he had thought heavily about it for weeks and really mused on the issue, and I think a lot of people believed in that. As was noted here last fall though the narrative has fundamentally shifted and Bush's actions are now seen as transparently political, not principled. This one is not different.

Immigration is a regional and not a national issue. Survey USA looked at this and only in AZ - iirc - did it outpoll Iraq in importance (not even in CA or TX), whereas CT could care less.

It also unleashes forces that neither party can control or predict. It's an act of desperation because pols hate things they can't control or predict. But Bush has to do something with his base.

I can't quickly lay my hands on the referenced SUSA but look at this one, ranked by % immigrants

That was it!? Bush did not lay out a comprehensive plan for dealing with immigration? At least on stem cells there was principle involved. I saw in the NYT on Sunday that 40 states have Mexican communities, but it was in the arts section so legality was not an issue.

At least on stem cells there was principle involved.

The principle of "let's keep fundamentalists happy."

The stem cell decision was a purely political move. And a bit of a bellyflop at that.

Contrast this with the current headline over at CNN:

"Bush border plan gets good reviews from viewers"


My assessment: for people who don't really care about the issue, it will be recieved with a "ho hum, yeah, I guess that sounds OK" response. But they were less likely to watch the speech, because they don't care about immigration all that much. Even if they did, for them it's not a burning issue, so won't move their opinions of Bush very much, if at all. For the people who DO care about the issue, Bush probably got nowhere. If anything, things may be worse in the eyes of the critics,

More 'base just says no:


More "base just says no", and a headline winner (for colorful commentary) from Human Events:

Border Lipstick on Amnesty Pig
The bottom line on President Bush's televised address on immigration Monday evening is this: For all of its five parts for achieving "comprehensive immigration reform," there wasn't enough lipstick -- nor mascara, rouge, blush or other cosmetics -- to disguise that Mr. Bush was selling an amnesty pig.

Most offensive was his implication that Americans aren't enough of a welcoming people if they reject the Bush-McCain-Hagel mass amnesty. The United States has the most generous -- overly generous, in fact -- immigration policy in the world. Mr. Bush stooped to the low tactic of implying our great generosity isn't generous enough.

More from the Blogometer:

5/16: Missed Opportunity
If Pres. Bush hoped his 5/15 p.m. address would help bring the base home, then judging by blogger reactions it was a missed opportunity. Radio personality/blogger Hugh Hewitt is perhaps Bush's most reliable defender in the 'sphere, but even he can see the WH letting the base slip away: "They simply do not believe the Administration is really committed to border enforcement, and the spokespeople sent out to back up the president's message aren't doing that job. Period. It is all about the fence. The real fence."

In non-Oval Office speech news, the FBI has ruffled some feathers over at ABC News. Lefty bloggers are blaming the Patriot Act while righties just see law enforcement doing their job. Also, ex-VP Al Gore's blogosphere insurgency continues to grow. And our latest Blogger Spotlight.

After reading close to 100 blogger reax, the Blogometer thinks Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner sums it best: "It Coulda Been Worse."

Coastal California has a pretty high percentage not only of Latinos, but also Asians and Asian-Americans, something that is often overlooked by east coasters. Asians aren't seen as competition for low-end jobs. If anything, they are competition for spots at UC and in high-end jobs, because of their high educational attainment. But Asians are often seen as the "m,odel minority" and (for instance in broadcasting) seem to be the minority of choice for demonstrating diversity.

I think the diversity in CA keeps the issue from being focused exclusively on Latinos in general or Mexicans in particular. In the Central Valley and some pockets in San Diego and Orange County there is extreme nativist sentiment, but not so much in the rest of the state.

TX also doesn't seem to be in such an uproar. I wonder if one factor in AZ is the newness of much of the white population, as AZ has had one of the fastest growth rates of any state, while I believe CA experienced a net emigration of whites. The newcomers may be essentially bringing their attitudes with them, rather than being shaped by long association with the state.

What seems to be the Problem with the Nat.Guard?Have they forgotten how to shoot a Gun to protect our Borders,they don't seem to have any Problem murdering Iraqi Civilians,that are trying to rid their country of american and british Terrorists.Or is it that unskilled Labor, crawling around in Washington,are unable to give the Command?

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