Mark Krikorian makes a similar point:
What's more, if legalizing illegals is so widely supported by the electorate, how come no Democrats campaigned on it? Not all were as tough as Brad Ellsworth, the Indiana sheriff who defeated House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Hostettler, or John Spratt of South Carolina, whose immigration web pages might as well have been written by Tom Tancredo. But even those nominally committed to "comprehensive" reform stressed enforcement as job one. And the national party's "Six for 06" rip-off of the Contract with America said not a word about immigration reform, "comprehensive" or otherwise.
The only exception to this "Whatever you do, don't mention the amnesty" approach appears to have been Jim Pederson, the Democrat who challenged Sen. Jon Kyl ... by touting a Bush-McCain-Kennedy-style amnesty and foreign-worker program and even praised the 1986 amnesty, which pretty much everyone now agrees was a catastrophe.
Dreaded kf welfare analogy: After the 1994 midterm elections, welfare reform was the one big domestic issue that the new incoming Congressional majority had in common with the damaged President they'd just defeated. "Comprehensive" immigration reform is in the same logical position (with the parties reversed). The difference is that in 1994, Gingrich's Republicans had explicitly campaigned on welfare reform. Pelosi's Democrats have run away from "comprehensive" reform. That may not be enough of a difference, and there are differences that run the other way--arguably Bush is more desperate for an immigration bill than Clinton was for a welfare bill. But it's grounds for hope.
**--Hayworth and Graf are two heavily pro-enforcement Arizona GOPs who lost, and whose loss is being reflexively cited by pundits as evidence that an anti-"comprehensive" immigration stand didn't work for anyone. (Hayworth's actually still holding out a slim hope that uncounted ballots will save him). 9:24 P.M.
"Now they tell us" about Alcee Hastings: JustOneMinute on the NYT's sudden post-election discovery of a potential Pelosi problem. ... P.S.: Here's the proof of the Times'pathetically thin coverage of this issue. ... 9:03 P.M.
The immigration debate is divided into three separate issues. How can we secure our border? What should we do about the 11 million undocumented workers? And, lastly there is the guest worker question. It is necessary to separate out the 3 issues. The primary concern must be securing the border. Immediate action is needed to stem the flow of illegal border crossings. Approaching the issue using an omnibus bill that attempts to solve all three issues simultaneously creates a political stalemate that delays the border security solution. There is a consensus that our border security must be improved and we should act on that consensus as soon as possible. Once the border is secure we can develop a fair solution to other immigration issues. [E.A.]
That doesn't sound "comprehensive" to me. That sounds like "enforcement first, then we'll talk."
More: In attacking the "Lou Dobbs Democrats," Jacob Weisberg lumps opposition to illegal immigration with trade protectionism as part of the "economic nationalism" advanced by so many of the now-famous Dem "moderates" who won this year. That's very CFR of him, along with the not-so-veiled suggestion that advocates of border control are racists. But the immigration half of this Democrats' new Lou Dobbsianism does suggest that Bush and McCain might have a harder time selling "comprehensive" reform than I'd feared. Here are some Weisberg characterizations:
Here is a snippet from one of [Senator-elect Sherrod] Brown's TV spots: "I'm for an increase in the minimum wage and against trade agreements that cost Ohio jobs. I support stem-cell research, tighter borders, and a balanced-budget amendment." ...[snip]
In Virginia, apparent winner James Webb denounced outsourcing and blasted George Allenfor voting to allow more "foreign guest workers" into the state. In Missouri, victor Claire McCaskill refused to let incumbent James Talent out-hawk her on immigration. ...[snip]
An even harder-edged nationalism defined many of the critical House races, where Democrats called for a moratorium on trade agreements, for canceling existing ones, or, in some cases, for slapping protective trade tariffs on China. These candidates also lumped illegal immigrants together with terrorists and demanded fencing and militarization of the Mexican border. In Pennsylvania, Democratic challengers Chris Carney and Patrick Murphy defeated Republican incumbents by accusing them of destroying good jobs by voting for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and being soft on illegal immigration.
P.S.: Weisberg distinguishes "economic nationalism" from the more "familiar"--and presumably more benign--"economic populism":