In the L.A. Times, Doyle McManus nails two important points about the politics of immigration reform that too often are ignored.
Reagan would have been pilloried if he were running for his party's presidential nomination today.
I am glad to see this get into the MSM. I want to hear a question about that in one of the seemingly endless Republican debates.
To begin with, it's not what American voters are asking for, not even the bulk of Republican voters.
A Fox News poll last year found that almost two-thirds of Republicans believe that "illegal immigrants who pay taxes and obey the law" should be given a chance to remain in the United States under some kind of legalization program. A majority also favored tougher enforcement of the law, but only one-third said they believed that deportation was the solution to the problem.
That is also a critical point that the MSM should pick up on more. Especially in the general election, people are thinking about other issues, most prominently the economy. Republicans did not punish McCain in 2008 for his more liberal view on immigration, and they won't reward the 2012 nominee either for a restrictionist view.
On the other hand, we could argue that immigration is important to the Republican base, if not the majority of Republicans. Indeed, that is what Mitt Romney is banking on. I am not convinced of this--it's the economy, stupid--but haven't seen numbers.
The bottom line:
Latino support for Obama has remained solid, even though many Latino activists have been vocally dissatisfied with the president's failure to advance immigration reform legislation.
This is something I've argued in much more detail. Obama's main concern is not whether Latinos vote Republican, but whether they stay home.