Friday, October 19, 2007

Reality on the Right?

John Hawkins may be getting some idea of the problems on the right.

One of his points, though does strike me as funny.

We Don't Reach Out To New Constituencies: Conservatives have started to get into the bad habit of allowing ourselves to be perceived as hostile to potential blocks of new voters, for no good reason.

When Ken Mehlman was Chair of the RNC, he regularly reached out to black Americans. That seems to have stopped with his departure from the RNC. In the fight against illegal immigration, the Democrats have tried to falsely portray conservatives as being anti-Hispanic and some conservatives have unwittingly helped them with careless immigration rhetoric. Pre-9/11, the majority of Muslim Americans voted for the GOP because they shared our concerns about the culture, but some conservatives have started talking about all Muslims as if they're the enemy, instead of specifically hammering away at terrorists and their supporters.

You don't win in politics by needlessly alienating people or writing off whole blocks of the population that might be willing to vote for you. Granted, the GOP can't be all things to all people, but it doesn't hurt to make the best case for your principles to all potential constituencies.

In essence, the hard line that conservatives - including Hawkins - demanded on immigration has probably scuppered Hispanic outreach for the next decade at the very least. It was an effort that was proving far more fruitful than outreach to the African-American community, I might add. The GOP got 44% support from Hispanics in the 2004 election. That number dropped to 30% in 2006. That was about the time conservatives revolted and demanded the hard line, with no compromises acceptable. Just look at the abuse dished out to Jon Kyl, no squishy moderate on issues, when he tried to reach a solution that wasn't to the hard-liners' liking.

As one of those who supported the President on the immigration bills, it is nice to see Hawkins admitting that he may have been wrong. I certainly hope he will follow up this column by supporting conservatives like Jeff Flake, Linda Chavez, and Chris Cannon in their efforts to pass immigration legislation that will actually address the problem, and reflect reality, rather than the hot air that comes from the likes of Tom Tancredo and Michelle Malkin.

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