"Our Karl Rove is the blog you should be glad that Democratic strategists don't seem to listen to"
-- what they're saying on Republican blogs

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Immigration Discrimination


I don't quite know where this immigration issue came from. Sure, it's a national issue, but with all the things going on in the country and in the world, I'm guessing that this is a situation where their Karl Rove is trying to redirect the national anger toward the administration's handling of the war to border-leaping Mexicans.

Don't fall for this tactic.

Immigration is an issue, but so are a lot of things. Not addressing it directly does not make you unpatriotic or irresponsible. Effective governing is about picking your priorities and sticking with them until there is just cause to reassess them.

Worse, when being directly asked if you're for or against illegal immigration and stricter border control, most Democrats I've seen on TV are hesitating and vacillating. This is ugly, because it's very Kerry-esque and plays into the party persona that you live in a liberal echo chamber of hyper-empathy with no ability to be tough on policies that require enforcement.

Reframe the issue of immigration in terms of your priorities -- the issues that you believe are important.

First, sound direct in your response so it sounds like you're answering the question, but instead of answering, you sound like a patriot:
"Of course Democrats are against any illegal immigration. Most people and almost all businesses agree that immigration is critical to our economy, and continues to make America the best country in the world. It just doesn't make sense for something so important to our country to be so outside the law. Democrats are for updated laws to ensure that law-abiding immigrants are legal, and that people who come here just to exploit our country by selling drugs are shipped back to their home countries."

Next, turn this issue into a wedge that isolates the Republican Party on their failings in keeping America secure:

"There are numerous problems like immigration facing America today, and the number of problems is rapidly rising due to incompetent and misguided Republican management of this great nation. Yes, we're worried about Mexican immigration, but we're also worried about the immigration of dirty bombs through our unprotected ports, and we're worried about the immigration of terrorists through our underprotected airports. Democrats have proposed funding protecting our ports over and over again, and we support advanced technology to make flying safer, but this Republican congress has squashed all port reform bills sponsored by Democrats."

Essentially, you want to communicate that if Americans put Democrats in charge of any part of our government, you promise to focus on all of our immigration issues -- immigration issues that not only keep our country a great nation that invites new immigrants who want to live the American Dream, but "national security immigration" issues that will stop another 9/11 attack from happening.


Anonymous said...

You're right - there's a range of issues here. But I'm a card carrying democrat who finds herself agreeing often with republicans on this. Illegal immigration is one of the things that has dissolved our unions, and keeps our poor poorer. And whenever George Bush pushes a program, you can be sure the rich are the primary beneficiaries.

So, what should we do? We need an IDENTITY PROTECTION card, voluntary and hard to get without real proof, with fingerprints and pictures. This helps the legal immigrants and residents with green cards, and does a lot to protect the rest of us. Identity theft is a growing crime. This card makes it possible to enforce sanctions against employers, eases border travel (this card is so good it acts as a flash pass) so border commerce can continue to thrive.

The US doesn't need to apologize for limiting illegal immigration - We accept more legal immigrants every year than all of Europe combined. That number can handle all our labor needs and then some. We welcome immigrants, we just want everybody to use the front door. And we don't need another Russian mafia sneaking in because we're compassionate. Just because we have soft hearts doesn't mean we have soft heads.

Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...

Salty old...

Your opinion on immigration policy has its merits and demerts (like most any policy).

And that leads up to the point of this blog -- the point that most Democrats really just can't wrap their heads around:

A politician's opinion on policy at the national level will no longer get you elected. It's your opinion on what you believe is right (independent on how you plan on getting there) that matters.

The point of OKR is not to espouse policy options -- it's to bring contemporary issues to a poignant point that Democrats and Independents can all get behind.

As soon as you start talking about identity cards and other ways to solve problems, you're instantly alienating a constituency or two of your coalition.

This is why people like Bush "win" in national elections. People like what he believes in (freedom, liberty, democracy, security). And they mostly just trust that he'll do his best to move the country towards his beliefs.

The problem is that incompetence and corruption are not things that Democrats are good at raising as issues in elections. In light of this, Democrats need to begin talking about beliefs, not policies.

Signing out,

van.mojo said...

First... Reed Hunt's bit at Comrade Joshua'a TPM Cafe is pretty right on.

Second... Dems should not be saying the word "immigration," and the phrase "illegal immigration" should earn the Dem speaker a hypo-dart in the neck and a ride in the capture net...

This is about "workers rights," "protecting families" and "promoting fairness."

The GOP is already on tilt on this issue. Really, this is low hanging fruit for us, we should be swatting this one out of the park on a frozen rope...

mojo sends

Anonymous said...

Maybe it would work better if we made it a little easier and cheaper to come into the country legally and made immigrants go through a reasonable background check and reasonable innoculations upon entry, we would have immigrants that are more willing to integrate into our national fabric. Why do we wink at such huge numbers of illegals while making honest legal immigrants jump through so many hoops? Instead of 11 million criminals wouldn't we be better off with 8 million content future citizens? Also why should 90 percent of our immigrants come from one nation? Are Africa, Asia and Europe empty? How about recruiting Aussies? Don't get me wrong, I love Mexicans but it's starting to feel like Texas in reverse.

Anonymous said...

did you know that a majority of mexicans believe that the southern states including california should be returned to mexico? this is a fact documented by many polls done.

I have no problem with people coming in legally but when they come here with the intent of a passive takeover. well, that is where I draw the line.


Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...

Fortunately for America's sovereignty, Mexicans who come to America tend not to be running for office, but rather doing heavy labor. No people have ever taken over a country or annexed its territory by being purely sub-working-class laborers.

The correlation between any poll that you might find about what Mexicans think and the reality we live in is spurious at best.