Political Ramificatons of SB1070

Michael Gerson's op-ed in the Washington Post today is chock full of all sorts of goodness. I have pulled out some highlights below, the full op-ed can be seen here:

He starts with this:

Has the Republican Party become, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently charged, the "anti-immigrant party"?

Then moves on to this:

.....it would be absurd to deny that the Republican ideological coalition includes elements that are anti-immigrant -- those who believe that Hispanics, particularly Mexicans, are a threat to American culture and identity. When Arizona Republican Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth calls for a moratorium on legal immigration from Mexico, when then-Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) refers to Miami as a "Third World country," when state Rep. Russell Pearce (R), one of the authors of the Arizona immigration law, says Mexicans' and Central Americans' "way of doing business" is different, Latinos can reasonably assume that they are unwelcome in certain Republican circles.

Then this which, I personally quite enjoyed:

Sen. John McCain, a long-term supporter of humane, comprehensive immigration reform, has run a commercial feeding fears of "drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder" by illegal immigrants.

Never mind that the level of illegal immigration is down in Arizona or that skyrocketing crime rates along the border are a myth. McCain's tag line -- "Complete the danged fence" -- will rank as one of the most humiliating capitulations in modern political history.

Then makes this excellent point:

Republicans have now sent three clear signals to Hispanic voters:

California's Proposition 187, which was passed in 1994 and attempted to deny illegal immigrants health care and public education before being struck down in court; the immigration debate of 2006, dominated by strident Republican opponents of reform; and now the Arizona immigration law. According to a 2008 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 49 percent of Hispanics said that Democrats had more concern for people of their background; 7 percent believed this was true of Republicans. Since the Arizona controversy, this gap can only have grown. In a matter of months, Hispanic voters in Arizona have gone from being among the most pro-GOP in the nation to being among the most hostile.

And ends with some good demographic information which  really contextualizes the political ramifications of SB1070. Also it allows me to work in a shameless plug for the New Politics Institute report Hispanics Rising 2010 which also highlights the Republican parties move further and further to the right on the immigration issue:

Immigration issues are emotional and complex. But this must be recognized for what it is: political suicide. Consider that Hispanics make up 40 percent of the K-12 students in Arizona, 44 percent in Texas, 47 percent in California, 54 percent in New Mexico. Whatever temporary gains Republicans might make feeding resentment of this demographic shift, the party identified with that resentment will eventually be voted into singularity. In a matter of decades, the Republican Party could cease to be a national party.

Finally, in case you missed it, Sen. John McCain is a big old flip flopper on immigration. The two videos below show  Sen. McCain's before and after transformation on the issue. Wait till the end of the first video to see him speak eloquently on immigration:

If you believe that the only answer to our immigration problems is to build a bigger wall then i would argue that you are not truly aware of the conditions of the human heart.

Fast forward to now and we see in the second video, that his once principled stance has been reduced to this trite soundbite:

Complete the danged fence.