Sadly, I think that he is.
Whether it was the nasty slime from Vox Day, or the constant harping of an "invasion" from numerous people, the right's rhetoric on immigration, particularly vis-a-vis Mexico, has been disgusting. Take a look at some of the stuff Navarette reported:
As one of the few Hispanic syndicated columnists, I'm treated like a piata. There was the reader who accused me of supporting "the Mexican invasion because you're Mexican" and the gentleman who suggested that by supporting comprehensive reform, I was probably "protecting some relatives."
There was even a woman who called to complain about a column I had written and ended up screaming into the phone about how "you people never understand" the immigration issue.
We just need to look at the unhinged rhetoric of Polipundit or to see the ugliness. Those who supported the Senate's bill were received labels like "Quisling" or "agent of Mexico". It also comes in the form of silence from people like Michelle Malkin - studiously avoiding the evidence of the slimy people that are on her side of the debate (like Jared Taylor, Lawrence Auster, and Steve Sailer) while at the same time complaining about mischaracterization when people raise questions about them - as I found out when I called out Vox Day.
That is the dirty little secret the right has on the immigration debate. They can raise all sorts of insinuations, and fire off hyperbole, but we are not allowed to ask questions about the foul odor that is detectable - even when our eyes can plainly see the source of that odor. Why? Would the answers be that disagreeable to them? Would it force them to have to stand up to people who they really don't want to have to stand up to?
The real tragedy is that in many ways, Gary Bauer is right when he discusses the issue in a column trying to promote Congressman Pence's legislation (although he forgot to note that Tom Tancredo labeled it "amnesty", too). Hispanics - and recent immigrants - are natural fits for the Republican party. But the ugliness of a few - and the tolerance of that ugliness by many others - drives them away. When conservatives do not speak out against vile comments, or do not distance themselves from the trash that Navarette detailed in his column, then it will deservedly lose a lot of support as people will rightly perceive it to have fallen into slimy swamps of feverish fanaticism. It is a different sort than what is seen from the DailyKos/MoveOn/DU types, but it is a slimy swamp nonetheless, and it is where I get off.
I suppose at some point, some conservatives are going to ask me why I am being so touchy about this. It is an understandable question, but one that I have a ready answer for. Just look at the rhetoric. Why should I even give the time of day to people who view me as a Quisling or agent of Mexico? Should I say to a person who views me as supporting "the emasculation and gradual overthrow of the America we know", that all is forgiven, and then act as if nothing has changed?
I can only speak for myself on this, but I cannot see how anyone can work with people who doubt their support for this country just because they do not toe a certain line on an issue that is small potatoes when compared with the war on terror, replacing the tax code with a flat tax, protecting the institution of marriage, reforming the entitlement programs that could bankrupt this country, and getting good federal judges confirmed. I certainly do not view conservatism the way I viewed it as little as eight months ago.
Perhaps Ruben Navarette has underestimated the coming backlash against the right. I only hope that the country doesn't pay the price for it.