Democrats: An Immigration Fight? Bring It On! Ok, You Can Stop Bringing It Now…Please?

As I noted a couple of weeks ago, the Democrats feint towards an amnesty bill was purely motivated by politics:

As you may have heard, after more than a year of giving little more than lip service to illegal immigration, the Democrats have suddenly become extremely interested in pushing comprehensive immigration reform. This is quite curious in that the bill almost assuredly cannot pass.

…So, why would the Democrats consider pushing the bill at all if it won’t pass? There are probably two reasons for it.

One, they’re hoping that it’ll fire up the Democrats’ Hispanic base, which is an iffy proposition to begin with. Although Hispanic Americans do tend to be pro-illegal immigration, polls show that for the most part, it’s not one of their biggest issues. Still, the Democrats have made a lot of promises and some Hispanic liberals are starting to get antsy. For example, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) has been threatening to encourage Hispanic Americans to “stay home” on election day to punish Democrats for not pushing amnesty.

Well, thanks to Arizona’s new immigration law, Democrats got the fight they wanted a little early and they responded with their usual tactics — well, if screaming “racist,” “Nazi,” “bigot” at people who disagree with them for the 293,516th time counts as a tactic anymore.

All of this is old hat, right? Well, that brings me to an article at the Politico today entitled, “GOP could gain by raising Arizona.” The intriguing thing about this piece is the number of Democrats who, after seeing their party get exactly what it wanted, are horrified by the results:

We cannot have an election about health care and immigration this fall,” veteran Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said. “If that’s the election we’re in, then shame on us, because we’re going to drop a whole bunch of seats.”

With a sour economy and immigrants moving beyond the traditional border destination states into communities that had been overwhelmingly white, emotions were running high on the issue even before the Arizona law.

Dan Parker, the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, said Hoosiers were taking a hard line on immigration because of the confluence of the two factors.

“Immigration came later to the Midwest, and we have higher unemployment,” Parker said. “So you get a reaction to laws like this.”

As for how Democratic candidates such as Senate hopeful Brad Ellsworth would address the issue on the campaign trail this fall, Parker said twice: “It all starts with border security.”

…Top Democrats in Washington recognize the danger immigration could hold for some of their candidates but argue that those who may be threatened by the issue, like Ellsworth, have already inoculated themselves by taking a tough line.

Still, a senior Democratic strategist involved in congressional campaign strategy conceded that “the numbers are stark.”

…And, this strategist added, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move last month to fast-track an immigration reform bill caused significant heartburn among House Democrats bracing for a difficult November.

“There was a sense of, ‘Why are we having this debate now?’” lamented the strategist, who wants to focus squarely on what the party is doing to revive the economy.

…“Whether it’s politicians, corporations or illegal immigrants getting away with it, [voters are] the ones who always get screwed,” Democratic pollster John Anzalone said.

Anzalone, who is based in Alabama and has a stable of Southern clients, said the numbers were “pretty dramatic” and predicted the GOP would use the issue as a wedge.

“You can bet this is going to be a bullet point on the Republican talking point sheet on how to take voters’ minds off of issues on which Democrats win on, like jobs and education,” Anzalone said.

So, how’s that brilliant strategery looking now, after Republicans were finally smart enough to hold together and take a security first position?

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