A reader wrote last week chastising us for running ads in Iowa pointing out John Kerry is co-sponsoring the AgJOBS amnesty in the Senate. ProjectUSA’s “attacks” on Sen. Kerry, he argued, were “only helping Bush.”
Similarly, Republicans wrote whenever we called attention to George Bush’s policies upbraiding us for helping Senator Kerry.
Sometimes it’s worthwhile revisiting a basic political truth:
Issues, not politicians, drive politics.
While it’s important to unseat extremists like Representatives Leonard Boswell of Iowa and Chris Cannon of Utah, their seats together are only about one half of one percent of the voting power in the House of Representatives.
The much greater benefit of immigration becoming a campaign issue in any race, is the positive (and it’s always positive) impact on the other 434 members back in Washington.
With this in mind, and considering how unlikely the following would have seemed just a year ago, immigration moderates can take enormous encouragement from this past election cycle :
Republicans did not just ignore the Wall Street Journal’s advice to support immigration policies friendly to profiteers—they ran from it. And the national party, in places where races looked tight, actually ran ads accusing Democratic candidates of supporting amnesty for illegal aliens. Even the president used language right off a ProjectUSA billboard to make that charge against Sen. Kerry.
Then there was the flip side: Taking a firm position on immigration, Beau Babka, the Democratic candidate running against Chris Cannon in Utah, criticized Cannon’s policies “from the right,” as the New York Times would put it. Nevertheless, a majority of Latino voters in Utah’s third district cast its ballots for Babka (which should dispel once and for all, even among newspaper editorialists, the offensive notion that any politician anywhere needs to advocate amnesty for illegals in order to “reach out to Hispanics.”)
Lots of work remains, of course. When Congress returns to Washington, the American Immigration Lawyers Association will be waiting. They’ll pick up right where they left off—working tirelessly to slip a profitable new visa category into the law here, open a profitable new loophole there . . .
And we’ll be here, too, stronger than ever, and as grateful as ever to our supporters for giving us the means to carry on.