Progressives are gathering in DC today for their annual confab to "take back America."
I’ve lost count of how many times they've met since the Republican Revolution of 1994, but it seems like they've been meeting forever. Given that Republicans are still in control, progressives should pay careful attention to their talking points on illegal immigration.
Consider: Newt Gingrich, who knows a thing or two about taking back America. Gingrich recently wrote: “It’s immigration, stupid:”
The Democrats lost in San Diego last night in a special election many thought they would win. After all, the race was to fill a seat left vacant by a Republican congressman who had to resign when he pled guilty of corruption. President Bush’s approval rating in a California Field Poll this week is around 28% percent (the lowest in that poll’s history since just before President Nixon resigned in 1974). And in the first round of voting, the Democrat, Francine Busby, got 44% of the vote and the Republican Brian Bilbray, a former congressman, led a big field of Republicans with only 15% of the vote…
At a rally, someone told her (in Spanish) that they were for her but were undocumented (meaning they were in the United States illegally). Ms. Busby responded by suggesting that it was OK for a person in the United States illegally to be active in her campaign. Unfortunately for her candidacy, a Minuteman volunteer in the audience caught her words on tape and gave it to San Diego talk radio hosts. The following day, her willingness to pander to non-citizens became the centerpiece of the campaign and she was on defense for the last five days until the election.
The issue can blow up in a lawmaker's face, regardless of party affiliation, because voters care about the problems associated with illegal immigration: rising health care and education costs, depressed wages, and the proliferation of new languages in schools and communities.
Progressives must remember that “coming close doesn’t really count.”
If Democratic candidates merely send “a shot across the GOP bow,” they will, as my former colleague Rory O’Connor quipped, help take America back to the Stone Age (and here) as Republicans retain control of all three branches of government.