ALLAHPUNDIT (Hot Air) writes about the immigration debate helping Democrats win in 2008. In my opinion, this danger comes from potentially splitting independents off from the coalition that put Bush back in office in 2004.
What convinced many independent/neocons—who voted for Democrats in 2000 (remember Al got the popular vote)—to vote for Republicans in 2004 was unity over the war. We were mugged by reality on 9/11 and have not yet let continuing violence or opinion polls sway us back to Democrats.
Many of us are not strongly invested in the immigration debate apart from better border security. There may be a variety of acceptable ideas to this group about what is done with the 12 million illegal aliens here now apart from sending them all back (like serving in the military).
My point is that this group is not really invested in the argument over whether such and such bill is really providing ‘amnesty’ or not. Making too much of this (vs. border security) simply reinforces the stereotype of Republicans as kneejerk “meanies” and racists. This was an appeal of Democrats before 9/11—that they are nice (even if naive). And given the distance from 9/11, pushing this ‘amnesty’ argument gives the Democrats the popular vote again and our biggest concern over everything else: a Commander in Chief who wants to surrender.
I think the unifying argument that wins is strong border security + strong prosecution of the war (no surrender).
Perhaps taking the position of having no immigration bill, until adequate border security is in place, is the best approach for the country and the best chance of having a “No surrender” president. in 2008.