[*VDare.com Note: Anyone not familiar with Ronald Reagan`s famous joke about optimism can click here.]
This effectively removed the immigration issue from the debate, chilling it even at the state level. But it can still be traced in referendums and in congressional and gubernatorial races. Overshadowed by Obama, and undermined by McCain, the results were not great. But there is still some good news.
Prop 202 claimed to crack down on employers of illegal aliens, but would have actually given them amnesty and gutted the state`s tough Legal Arizona Workers Act [LAWA]. I am proud to say that my organization Team America PAC, along with FAIR, flooded the state with radio ads featuring Russell Pearce, author of LAWA, who calmly and dispassionately exposed Prop 202 for the fraud it was. The result: the initiative, which had previously polled 63% for, 19% against, 17% undecided, was defeated by 19%.
Other ballot initiatives showed that, not withstanding
Obama`s victory, Americans by no means embrace
multiculturalism and Open Borders.
Ward Connerly`s anti-racial preference Civil Rights
58-42% in Nebraska and is currently
split in Colorado that went overwhelmingly blue this
election. An official English measure passed
overwhelmingly with 85% of the vote in
There will be a few welcome new faces to Congress next
January. Tom McClintock—who had been a leader in the
fight against illegal immigration on the
state level in
We also got a great Senator in
Jim Risch of
A number of incumbent congressmen with impeccable voting
records on immigration, such as
Dana Rohrabacher, Rob Witmann,
Virgil Goode, and Robin Hayes were all targeted with
hundreds of thousands—and in some cases millions—of
dollars from the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That
their normally safe Republican seats were in jeopardy in
the first place is a problem in and of itself (thank you
George W. Bush). But, assuming Goode maintains his slim
lead after a recount, Hayes—whose opponent claims to be
a border hawk—will be the only one not sent back to
Which brings us to the bad news. Without a doubt, the
biggest disappointment was the
defeat of Lou Barletta by Paul Kanjorski in
Kanjorski knew that his past support for amnesty was a liability. He signed the discharge petition for the SAVE Act and played himself up as tough on immigration. It was enough for the Scranton Times to run a piece with the headline "Kanjorski, Barletta see immigration similarly".
In fact most of the defeats of immigration reform patriots were at the hands of Democrats who at least claimed to be good on immigration.
I was once among those who once thought that having an anti-illegal immigration constituency in both parties would be a prerequisite for reform. Unfortunately, the last two years has proved me wrong.
The only two freshman Democrats who have done anything productive on illegal immigration are Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth. But neither of them have done anything on more fundamental issues like birthright citizenship or legal immigration, which both the Republicans they unseated—Charles Taylor and John Hostettler respectively—consistently opposed. In fact, with the exception of Gene Taylor of Mississippi, no Democrat has tackled these important parts of the debate.
While I have no brief for the Republican Party, there is absolutely no doubt that in the House of Representatives they are miles above the Democrats. In general, in the House of Representatives, the Republican leadership has been very strong in opposing amnesty and supporting the SAVE Act.
In contrast, while 50 Democrats co-sponsored the SAVE act, when push came to shove, only ten signed the discharge petition to allow a vote.
Two races in
In the fifth district, Republican Wayne Parker ran against Democratic State Senator Parker Griffith. Wayne Parker`s platform was perfect. He went out of his way to say he endorsed all of Numbers USA`s positions as well as Jeff Session`s 15 point immigration plan..
On paper, his Democratic opponent, Parker Griffith,
looked good too. Heath Shuler campaigned heavily for
But closer inspection showed that
The other big loss was for Governor in
There can be no illusions but that the 2008 results are a major setback for the immigration reform movement. Yet there is no need to despair. While many pro-amnesty candidates won, they only did so by obfuscating their true position or trying to avoid the issue completely. And both Obama and McCain knew better than to mention immigration.
It may be tough to get anything positive done on the federal level. But few politicians can any doubt that any sign of voting for amnesty will provoke a storm of angry phone calls.
And there`s always 2010.
Marcus Epstein [send him mail] is the founder of the Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the The American Cause and Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen here. The views he expresses are his own.