The only thing remarkable about the special elections is how much like a normal election they were.
Virginia's 1st District saw the GOP candidate outperformed by Bush's performance in 2004 by less than a percentage point. In Ohio's 5th district, Bob Latta's margin was not much different from the ones racked up in 2004 and 2006 by Bush and Paul Gillmor. It was a rounding error at most.
And here, the right claims a mandate for a hard-line immigration policy. I don't buy it. These results hold little, if any, difference from what you would have had in a normal election. so what really changed? Nothing - two strongly Republican districts sent Republicans to fill out vacancies left by Republicans who died in office. No mandate here. Not even a shift in the numbers that would have indicated something was up.
Which brings me to immigration in general, and why the GOP is making a mistake. When I see rhetoric claiming that those who sought comprehensive immigration reform were pursuing the dispossession of America, I have to wonder what is with the right. Do they really believe America can be dispossessed by gardeners, cleaning ladies, restaurant workers, and nannies, among others? That speaks of either a lack of faith in America or a raging paranoia. Either alternative is not something I want holding some of the highest offices in the land.
It does not help the cause of those at Redstate when they also imply that their opponents are motivated by sedition (and this is mild when compared to Cella's pronouncements of treason in earlier posts). To claim such is simply not true in many cases, and certainly it speaks little for their desire to compromise as well.
In essence, on immigration, we have an impasse. We cannot deport all the illegal immigrants in this country, not without major changes. There is talk of a new national ID card, and requiring proof of citizenship - in essence, we would go to an America where we could be asked, "Your papers, please."
Is that the America we want? My answer is no. In essence, we would be creating the kind of internal controls that Hillary would love for her purposes - and she would not be using them to control illegal immigration. We also see what John Edwards is willing to impose on people as well.
And looking at people like Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo, I get the sense that some on the right will be pursuing the same thing. And gladly so. They have their ideas of what America should be, and they strike me as being very willing to use the government to enforce it.
Perhaps this is why some were right - the government needs to stay out of a lot of issues. I really do not think it should be involved in whether restaurants are smoking or non-smoking, how people decide to breed dogs, whether they want to go online to put some money on a baseball or football game, or things like that. Watching the GOP Congress in late 2005 and most of 2006 was, in so many ways, embarrassing.
The House GOP took their ball and went home when they didn't get their way on the immigration issue. Then they passed a lot of bills on small issues that really didn't matter while our troops dealt with airlifters that had cracks in their wings and the housing crisis crept up on us. They then had to pile on with the left rather than point out blatant incompetence by the likes of Kathleen Blanco, who made Frank Jack Fletcher and George McClellan look like decisive leaders in a crisis.
Priorities and common sense matter. And the right cannot seem to figure that out yet.