Whatever Happened to the Mexiforniaphobia Vote?

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I was going ask this question at greater length but I see that Cato's Daniel Griswold beat me to it—if anger over immigration is such a big Republican issue this year, why are the single-issue anti-immigration candidates dropping like flies, while the restrictionist-despised Huckabee and Sen. McAmnesty himself do the lambada on Varmint Mitt's head?

Maybe it's just that border activists can claim satisfaction in helping push the originally soft-on-Mexicans GOP field toward Tancredo…. At any rate, I've yet to see much evidence that they keep coming amounts to winning primary politics, let alone a general-election ticket to anything but failure. (Please leave counter-examples in the comments, etc.)

Here's something bizarre to think about—if Romney gets a fatal crippling in New Hampshire, and Thompson/Hunter fold up their small tents, the biggest control-the-borders Republican left standing in the race might be … Ron Paul

Dave Weigel wrote a year ago about why anti-immigration conservatives fell flat in 2006. More recently Steve Chapman explained why the GOP shifted right on immigration.

NEXT: Mitt's Blue Meanie

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  1. As could be expected, MattW is confused. He doesn’t understand the difference between how the candidates present their plans and attack their opponents, and how someone else (like me) would do it. There’s a very significant difference; given the opportunity to “cross-examine” any of the Dems on this issue I don’t think they’d come out looking too good and I wouldn’t shed a tear if they were forced to “go write a book” because of it.

    And, he doesn’t understand the role the corrupt MSM and the corrupt parties play. Neither party’s leadership is serious about this issue. Look into what the Dem leadership did in regards to PoliticalHumanSacrifice a few years back: they hardly funded DavidDreier’s opponent because she came out against IllegalImmigration. And, in AZ, the GOP might as well have donated to GabrielleGiffords directly.

    And, just as importantly, the MSM rarely tells the whole truth about this issue and frequently makes misleading statements or outright lies. A Huckabee-related example which has been repeated over and over since I posted that (even the WaPo “FactChecker” – but not their other “reporters” – has noted that it was a misleading statement). And, if the MSM hadn’t misled about that and had discussed what his policy would involve they would have reduced his popularity. Instead, they allowed him to mislead, including at a debate:

    youtube.com/watch?v=nIbDAVQMKGM

    Imagine what would have happened if AndersonCooper had called Huck on his misleading statements and had pointed out the downsides of the bill he supported live at the debate. Would he have even placed in IA?

    For a Dem example, if the MSM were doing their job they would investigate this issue and it would have an impact on Obama’s popularity. Instead, I’ll bet that almost no one else knows anything about that.

    P.S. Griswold is really out there. See also this from NR.

  2. Maybe you should try to suppress Ron Paul’s anti-immigrant screed.

  3. I’ll be back when somebody posts something.

  4. TLB — I *am* confused … but by your comment more than anything. Are there examples of lonewacko-approved politics proving successful, or are you just saying that it’s basically impossible given the evil MSM and people like me?

  5. “Please leave counter-examples in the comments, etc.”

    Pete Wilson won reelection on a platform of immigrant bashing, the stink of which probably sank his political career and left California’s Republicans in such a state that the only Republican they could get into the Governor’s mansion was basically a Kennedy. …in more ways than one.

  6. I’m confused as well. TTS. Good post, though.

  7. I’ll be back when somebody posts something.

    Say what you will about Lonewacko, but at least his posts have content, however much one may disagree. He’s not even in the same category as the other one.

  8. My follow up questions to Matt’s:

    a) Why hasn’t the anti-immigration lobby become the anti-entitlement lobby?

    …if people helping themselves to your paycheck via emergency rooms and public schools is your big concern, why does the nationality of the freeloaders matter?

    b) Why hasn’t the anti-immigration lobby become the pro-free trade lobby?

    …if you don’t want them coming here, why not fight for a trade policy that encourages them to stay over there?

  9. As could be expected, MattW is confused. He doesn’t understand the difference between how the candidates present their plans and attack their opponents, and how someone else (like me) would do it.

    He’s got you there, Matt. You didn’t give moment’s thought to how LoneWacko would present an anti-immigration plan, did you?

  10. If unemployment continues to rise, I’d expect “illegal immigration” to become a front-burner bipartisan issue.

  11. “Say what you will about Lonewacko, but at least his posts have content…”

    I used to live close to a railroad track. …believe it or not, after hearing the same noise over and over, you start to block it out.

    Visitor: “What’s that noise?”

    Me: “What noise?”

  12. “If unemployment continues to rise, I’d expect “illegal immigration” to become a front-burner bipartisan issue.”

    I suspect, just suspect mind you, that unemployment figures haven’t reflected the true number of recent layoffs because the construction industry is staffed, perhaps disproportionately, by people who can’t file for unemployment.

  13. I’m not aware of any national figure going for the jugular over this issue and trying to have an impact on someone’s political career.

    And, I’ve repeatedly stated the solution to these issues:
    1. Go to campaign appearances.
    2. Ask real questions and videotape the response.
    3. Upload and promote the video.

    If people start doing that, it will bypass the corrupt MSM and corrupt parties.

  14. Immigration is for the children.

    Turns and refills his van with pinatas

  15. …I think they tend to get the axe first in certain situations. I suspect its often less expensive to terminate an illegal immigrant.

  16. I’m not aware of any national figure going for the jugular over this issue

    Tancredo doesn’t count? Man, tough crowd….

  17. The fact that Tancredo and Mitt aren’t getting the traction they want out of this issue suggests that, even in the Repubican Party, the people concerned about it are not just thinking along the lines of who is “softer” and who is “tougher,” but are actually looking for realistic solutions.

  18. I suspect, just suspect mind you, that unemployment figures haven’t reflected the true number of recent layoffs because the construction industry is staffed, perhaps disproportionately, by people who can’t file for unemployment.

    On a related note, the latest issue of the Economist has a feature story on immigration. One of their observations is that while some are attributing a drop in illegal border crossings to tougher border enforcement, this is coming at the same time as a decline in construction jobs.

    When in doubt, I attribute societal trends to supply and demand rather than the alleged success of a government program.

  19. That is part of the “attrition” referred to by Fred Thompson.The amnesty proponents and some “open border” libertarians were ignoring the
    effect of supply and demand on labor markets when question begging the feasibility of mass deportations.

  20. …if people helping themselves to your paycheck via emergency rooms and public schools is your big concern, why does the nationality of the freeloaders matter?

    I say it’s because the anti-immigrant lobby doesn’t care so much about what’s happening to our paychecks, not so much as they care about keeping people of other nationalities out of the country.

    “…if you don’t want them coming here, why not fight for a trade policy that encourages them to stay over there?”

    I think that one’s a little more complicated.

    I don’t think they care so much about the dynamics behind immigration, not so much as they care about kicking people of other nationalities out of the country.

    …but I also think it’s a function of who their audience is. …and this probably speaks to the question at hand about why the anti-immigrant lobby doesn’t seem to resonate with many Americans.

    How many of you are afraid of losing your job to an uneducated, non-English speaking illegal immigrant? I don’t think I’m being elitist by suggesting that most of you don’t have much to fear from illegal immigrants. There are certain sectors of the population who have to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs–I’d guess high school drop outs, convicted felons, et. al.

    …So on a percentage basis, how many Americans there are we talking about?

  21. This amnesty proponent (sorta, I guess, depending on how the buzzword is defined) didn’t overlook anything.

    I don’t have confidence in the government’s ability to meaningfully influence the demand for immigrant labor.

  22. “When in doubt, I attribute societal trends to supply and demand rather than the alleged success of a government program.”

    I also suspect, by the way, that one of the first things people start doing when times get tough, they start mowing their own lawn.

    If immigration makes services affordable that maybe wouldn’t have been affordable otherwise, then when times get tough, those services might be among the first things people cut back on when times get tough. …rather than groceries or gasoline.

  23. SIV:
    The amnesty proponents and some “open border” libertarians were ignoring the effect of supply and demand on labor markets when question begging the feasibility of mass deportations.

    I think you got this pretty wrong. It seems to me “open border” libertarians are selling the effect of supply and demand on labor markets, not ignoring it. It’s a feature, not a bug.

  24. some “open border” libertarians were ignoring the effect of supply and demand on labor markets

    Are you able to say that with a straight face? Nobody advocating massive government interference in a market ought to be lecturing us open-borders libertarians on supply and demand.

    Especially galling is that those who raise such an objection are, on almost every other issue, against government interference in the market. They somehow find a sudden affinity for government intervention in the market only when that market happens to be the labor of people born in a disfavored location.

  25. crimethink | January 6, 2008, 6:09pm | #

    I’ll be back when somebody posts something.

    Say what you will about Lonewacko, but at least his posts have content, however much one may disagree. He’s not even in the same category as the other one.

    Yes. They have content.

    But he’s a screaming idiot who thinks everyone else has something wrong with them if they’re not quite as retarded as him. It’s insufferable and pathetic and nausea-inducing.

    Edward, for all his repetitive mockery, is like a soft-noise generator you could use to help you sleep.

  26. One of their observations is that while some are attributing a drop in illegal border crossings to tougher border enforcement, this is coming at the same time as a decline in construction jobs.

    The LA Times had a recent article along these lines…

    The fall in arrests also fits a familiar pattern, one that traditionally has more to do with the strength of the U.S. job market than with walls or guards.

    “It’s the economy, stupid,” Cornelius said.

    Demographer Jeffrey Passel said the U.S. unemployment rate was the strongest correlating factor he had found in tracking migratory flows. Last month, the jobless rate for Latinos was 5.7%, up from 5% in November 2006.

    “When it’s easy to get a job, they come. When it’s hard to get a job, they don’t,” said Passel, senior research associate at the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

    Border authorities apprehended a record 1.7 million would-be migrants in 2000, the height of the technology boom. That number tumbled over the next three years as the U.S. was rocked by recession, the Sept. 11 attacks and the loss of more than 2 million jobs. About 932,000 illegal crossers were apprehended in 2003, a 44% drop from 2000, according to Customs and Border Protection.

    At the time, some credited the decline to tightened border security in the wake of Sept. 11. But arrests rebounded strongly in 2004 and 2005 as foreign-born workers flocked to the United States to fill jobs in the building trades.

  27. some “open border” libertarians were ignoring the effect of supply and demand on labor markets

    The “we can’t deport 12 million people” argument was quite popular among “some”. I’m speaking of those who supported the “comprehensive immigration reform bill” by attacking those who opposed it.

    I’m all for open borders. I’m opposed to a policy of allowing unskilled immigrants unrestricted entry while restricting skilled/educated/capitalized immigrants.

  28. Ken Schultz,

    There are certain sectors of the population who have to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs

    Exactly, why don’t ALL sectors of the population have to compete in a free market in labor?

    Why should educated Asian Immigrants wait patiently in line for H1B visas when there are shortages in the market for their skills?

  29. Speaking of Ron Paul, he will be challenged for his House seat by Eric Dondero…oh wait, I guess not! roffr

  30. Some of the statements made by Huck during the entertainment show that’s currently being broadcast as I type this could have been used to reduce his popularity. Yet, ChrisWallace just let them slide right by.

    For instance, he said we should make sure to never have AnotherAmnestyEverAgain.

    Yet, his scheme – and that from McCain and Ruuuudy – would give tremendous PoliticalPower to those who currently oppose our laws, making YetAnotherAmnesty almost completely certain to occur.

    So, if I had been there I would have pressed him on that point and shown how absolutely childlike his plan is.

  31. If immigration makes services affordable that maybe wouldn’t have been affordable otherwise, then when times get tough, those services might be among the first things people cut back on when times get tough. …rather than groceries or gasoline.

    It is worth noting that it is simply better for the US economy to allow such jobs to be filled by willing foreign labor. Not only does immigrant labor free up US labor to better use its comparative advantage, but it fills the more volatile occupations with employees who effectively have more choice — who have two countries to choose from rather than only one.

    The LA Times article continues…

    As the bust in the U.S. housing market eliminates construction jobs, Mexico’s economy is proving surprisingly resilient, giving Mexicans added incentive to stay home. Job creation has been solid over the last two years, with nearly 2 million positions added in the formal economy.

    Although most jobs here pay a fraction of what they would in the United States, some Mexicans may be deciding that poorly paid work is better than none, given the uncertainty over the border.

    In effect, open borders import employment and export unemployment, making the economy more robust and making employment of native workers more stable.

  32. “Why should educated Asian Immigrants wait patiently in line for H1B visas when there are shortages in the market for their skills?”

    …or, I would ask, why should American employers have to wait in line to hire perfectly capable…?

    The answer is they shouldn’t. …but just because you’ve nailed one foot to the floor doesn’t mean you should nail the other foot to the floor.

  33. “In effect, open borders import employment and export unemployment, making the economy more robust and making employment of native workers more stable.”

    Yeah, who says you can’t import a haircut?

    Mine came from Taiwan.

  34. I’m all for open borders. I’m opposed to a policy of allowing unskilled immigrants unrestricted entry while restricting skilled/educated/capitalized immigrants.

    Can you name any open borders types who are for restricting skilled or educated or capitalized immigrants?

    I must say, however, that you are getting close to the greatest impediment to open borders’ becoming actual US policy. As long as the immigration debates hover around unskilled workers taking jobs no one wants, or around highly skilled workers’ taking jobs no one wants to train for, the populace does not feel threatened.

    But allow open borders, where anyone and everyone can enter the country to take any and every job, and the big middle of American workers and voters will react… shall we say… poorly.

    Immigration law is about protectionism, pure and simple. Only on the edges is it about xenophobia or welfare. And the US right now, as liberal as its immigration is relative to the rest of the world, is still on the edges.

  35. LoneWakco = AnotherAmnestyEverAgain.

    WhatTheFuckIsWrongWithYou?(tm)

    “Amnesty”, aka “not doing anything stupid about a non problem”

    I seek amnesty from hysterical idiots

  36. Mike P,

    Immigration law is about protectionism, pure and simple.

    My point exactly, as is State mandated licensure and credentialism.

    Can you name any open borders types who are for restricting skilled or educated or capitalized immigrants?

    Yes, they are hard to nail down when challenged but the debate here(and elsewhere) over the comprehensive reform bill had many defacto supporting it by their arguments against those opposed.The characterization of the immigration issue as one of exclusively low skilled latino laborers is quite common among some “open borders libertarians”.


    The answer is they shouldn’t. …but just because you’ve nailed one foot to the floor doesn’t mean you should nail the other foot to the floor.

    On a pragmatic,short-term basis, I’m arguing the wrong foot is nailed to the floor.
    Bad social and economic policy to import an underclass while restricting the flow of skills and capital which encourages dynamic change.

    Limited supplies of low skilled labor encourages technological innovation and higher wages at the bottom, presumably resulting in less dependencey on the State

    Standard libertarian disclaimer, I’m all for open borders and the free flow of capital,goods and labor.

  37. MikeP writes: it fills the more volatile occupations with employees who effectively have more choice — who have two countries to choose from rather than only one.

    Of course, there are many other aspects of such a wonderful plan and, when factored in, they make that a very unattractive deal.

    Did MikeP disclose those downsides? Or, is he just pimpin’?

  38. “Limited supplies of low skilled labor encourages technological innovation and higher wages at the bottom, presumably resulting in less dependencey on the State.”

    I suppose that might be true in some cases at some times. Let’s not overlook the benefit to the poor of cheap labor too, especially as it pertains to things like child care to single mothers and food costs to working families. …and how important is cheap lawn care to elderly people on social security? etc., etc.

    Yeah, cost of living increases hit the poor the hardest, but then how many people toward the bottom of the income scale have jobs funded by cost savings freed up by low wage immigrant labor too?

    And if we’re talking about the government limiting that labor flow as a means to encourage that innovation you’re talking about…

    Yeah, I know, that’s not what you meant. …I think you were just comparing one evil to another, but given a choice, I’m not sure I wouldn’t choose cheap labor. China has a new middle class and yeah, it has it’s problems too. …but I don’t think any of them were caused by cheap labor.

  39. Of course, there are many other aspects of such a wonderful plan and, when factored in, they make that a very unattractive deal.

    There are indeed many aspects of free migration, but virtually all of them are well internalized by the markets in which they occur.

    Of course some negative externalities can be recited, but all indications are that these are overwhelmed by the positive externalities.

  40. “I’m not aware of any national figure going for the jugular over this issue and trying to have an impact on someone’s political career.

    And, I’ve repeatedly stated the solution to these issues:

    1. Go to campaign appearances.
    2. Ask real questions and videotape the response.
    3. Upload and promote the video.

    If people start doing that, it will bypass the corrupt MSM and corrupt parties.”

    So if I understand this correctly, you’re saying that the parties, by virtue of their corruption, prefer losing elections to championing an issue that resonates with voters?

    …AND that the media, also by virtue of its corruption, refuses to ask the obvious questions that are sure to wake up white people?!

    And this is your answer to Welch’s question about why we really can’t point to any politicians making a success of themselves by virtue of their immigrant bashing?

    Do I have that right?

  41. I’m back. Some intelligent posts while I was away. Patience is a virtue that I uasually don’t show.

    8-12 million illegal aliens/undocumented workers in the USA is a fact. What should we do? If your immigration solution does not address this, butttonhole somebody else. I have nothing to discuss with you.

    Let’s face it, folks. The system is broke. Similar to a ’65 Merecury I once owned, it makes more sense to replace it than attempt to repair it. Legalizing a realistc unskilled immigrant labor force would give those laborers more bargaining power, reducing the benefits for those “evil, greedy corporate exploiters”.

    For those who want to “deport them all – If you like what the drug war has done to civil rights, wait till you see the War on Illegals. No system adopted by the government is going to make me completely happy. Heck, no system adopted by the government is going to make anybody completely happy. The only “progress” I detect is a border fence. Since I have multiple functioning brain cells, I doubt that will accomplish anything other than enriching the contractors that erect it.

    I’m against open borders. I also recognize the desirability (necessisity?) of unskilled immigrant labor. With a few exceptions, posters here could devise a better policy that what exists today. Why can’t congress? Don’t we pay them to address serious problems?

    I hereby accuse the mojority of our elected officials of cowardice and dereliction of duty.

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