Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why Gingrich's Immigration Statement was a Smart Move

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich gestures while speaking at the First Coast Tea Party town hall meeting at Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Florida November 17, 2011. REUTERS/Daron Dean (UNITED STATES - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS)
I don't agree with former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich on immigration -- hey, I'm an anarchist and he's still far too hung up on an issue that even the extremely statist US Constitution explicitly bars the federal government from any involvement in.

But: The polls say that majorities agree with him on, and sympathize with immigrants on, most of the positions he articulated in Tuesday's Republican presidential debate.

And the ones that don't have majority support at least have plurality support. Apply that to a multi-candidate race in which most of the candidates are going against those majorities and pluralities, and Gingrich is sitting pretty.

Republicans and Democrats alike have waited hand and foot on Know-Nothing voters for years now, giving them virtually everything they've demanded, from East German style border fences to attempted conscription of business owners as unpaid ICE agents ("E-Verify") to presidential sentence commutations for dirty cops who cover up attempted murder.

Hell, President Obama is on pace to deport more immigrants in his first term than George W. Bush did in his entire two-term administration.

The only two major-party presidential candidates who seem interested in the majorities and pluralities that favor moving away from totalitarianism and toward at least mild pro-freedom reform on the issue of immigration are Newt Gingrich and Texas governor Rick Perry, who has otherwise performed, to put it mildly, in a less than stellar manner.

Will the issue hurt or help Gingrich in the Iowa caucus? The conventional wisdom seems to be that it will hurt him. I suspect otherwise.

Iowa farmers and business owners are probably more likely than "man on the street" to actually show up on caucus day. They know that their enterprises' profitability depends to a non-trivial degree on the state's estimated 70,000 "illegal" immigrants. They've seen the devastating effects of Know-Nothingism on the economies of Arizona, Alabama and Georgia. And all things considered, they'd probably rather make money than lose money. Gingrich is probably picking up votes there.

Here's the debate segment:

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