Immigration, Obama, Romney and the Republican Party: Who Fumbled the Ball?
The issue of serious immigration reform or even just tinkering with existing laws to try and solve some of the problems remains a mess in America. And First Read has this fascinating take on the latest developments, including who came out looking better, who didn’t and which side seemed to fumble the most:
*** Obama’s immigration announcement and the bully pulpit: After his worst three political weeks of the year, Friday was a reminder why the bully pulpit matters — and why an incumbent president has so many powers at his disposal: Obama changed the subject immediately. His announcement that the administration would no longer deport young illegal immigrants who have graduated from high school, served in the military, and have a clean criminal record clearly put Mitt Romney on the defensive over the weekend. In fact, after previously saying he’d veto the DREAM Act and using immigration as a political weapon in the GOP primaries (remember him blasting Rick Perry for supporting the so-called Texas DREAM Act?), Romney declined to say if he would overturn the policy if elected president in his interview on CBS. And he charged Obama for playing politics on the issue. Don’t forget: If one side is accusing the other of playing politics, they’ve typically lost the argument. Three good days — the immigration announcement and the Greek vote — don’t make up for three bad weeks. But Plouffe and company would call it a start.
And the GOP seems to be compounding its problems with Latino voters:
*** The GOP’s big immigration mistake: Regarding this immigration story, Romney and Republicans have to be asking themselves this question: Why did they wait so long in trying to craft an alternative that could woo Latino voters? Make no mistake, Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act alternative could have been a get-out-of-jail card with this voting bloc. But Republicans, including Romney, never grabbed on to it, and Rubio never even drafted actual legislation. It was a trial balloon, it seems, that crashed and burned with the GOP base. Romney said this in his interview on CBS: “If [Obama] felt seriously about this [issue] he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn’t. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election.” But the same thing applies to Romney and the GOP: They should have taken action on a DREAM Act alternative that could have Etch A Sketch-ed away the Republican Party’s rhetoric on immigration, including Romney’s. But they didn’t. (Had the GOP rallied around Rubio’s alternative and had Senate Dems killed it, well, then their charge over the weekend of “politics” would be taken more seriously.) By the way, the Romney camp is up with a new Spanish-language TV ad, but it’s simply another ad that’s just translated into Spanish (the one hitting Obama on the “the private sector is doing fine”).
Just saying Obama should have done it sooner doesn’t seem a knock-em-dead argument that’s going to get Latino voters voting for the GOP. This Obama move and GOP bungle likely means a)Rubio’s stock will rise as a Romney Veep option and, b) there will be more controversies than ever on election day involving some voters who’ll be turned away at the polls and charges during and after election day that this involved certain demographics.