Minutemen Endorse Huckabee
The Republican candidates are tripping over each other in their quest to become the toughest on immigration. Mitt Romney has released his first attack ad on immigration while Rudy Giuliani now says he wanted to deport New York City's 400,00 undocumented residents. the undocumented deported from New York City. And now, the Minutemen have endorsed Mike Huckabee.
The founder of the Minuteman Project, the anti-illegal immigrant group, endorsed Republican Mike Huckabee on Tuesday....At a news conference hastily arranged to cope with a crippling ice storm, Huckabee brought out Minuteman head Jim Gilchrist, whose private group patrols the Mexican border on its own to keep out illegal immigrants.
"For months now, I've been searching for a candidate to support for president of the United States," said Gilchrist. He said he settled on Huckabee as the candidate whose plans were most likely to halt "this illegal immigrant invasion problem."
Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker explains why this Republican anti-immigration strategy may backfire and cost them the election. It's a long article, but here are some snippets:
“The emergence of Tancredoism as an ideological touchstone for two Republican front-runners is a stunning development,” Lizza writes, “another indication of the Party’s rejection of nearly everything associated with the approach taken by George W. Bush.” In the face of mounting anti-immigration rhetoric, the other candidates, including John McCain and Mike Huckabee, have had to respond to what has become “the dominant and obsessive issue of the Republican primaries.”
....If the Republicans continue, in the general election, to make immigration a central issue, they may find that it has much less currency on the national stage.
... In several election contests in the past two years, Republicans tried and failed to deploy immigration as a campaign weapon.” Meanwhile, some Democratic strategists are “quietly cheering” the fact that Republicans are making immigration a key issue. Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist, tells Lizza, “The Bush strategy—enlightened on race, smart on immigration, developed in Texas and Florida with Jeb Bush—has been replaced by the Tancredo-Romney strategy, which is demonizing and scapegoating immigrants, and that is a catastrophic event for the Republican Party.”
As for Huckabee and McCain, Lizza writes:
“My own sense, from talking to Huckabee, a Southern populist, and McCain, a border-state senator, is that they are genuinely appalled by Romney’s tactics, not only because of the damage to their campaigns but also because of the damage they believe he’s doing to the Party’s image.” “He’s clearly distorted my record as well as my position,” Huckabee tells Lizza. “But I’m not interested in getting in a war with him to see which of us can be the meanest son of a gun running for President.” Nevertheless, last week Huckabee announced the Secure America Plan, which included tough language about enforcement and pressuring illegal immigrants to return home, leaving McCain as “the only Republican candidate who hasn’t folded in the face of Romney’s attacks.”
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