Jonathan Tobin makes a good case that Republicans cannot allow themselves to fall into the argument that they don’t want to legalize illegal immigrants solely because they’re afraid they’ll become Democrats. I agree with that. But I also think supporters of the Gang of Eight bill need to stop arguing that the GOP will die if the bill doesn’t pass. I keep hearing Lindsay Graham and John McCain talk about how the GOP needs to get on the right side of the demographic transition if it wants to survive. Whether or not their preferred legislation will in fact win over Hispanics strikes me as, at best, debatable. I for one am dubious that low-income Hispanics will suddenly abandon their other ideological commitments just because a bunch of Republicans admit they’re desperately trying to placate Hispanics. But even if that were the case, it’s not a sufficient reason to support or oppose a truly sweeping piece of legislation like this.
I understand that they’re trying to persuade Republicans and so they’re crafting an argument for that audience. But it seems to me any argument that centers on what is good for Republicans is a loser. Sure, I want Republicans to do what is good for the Republican party, because I think the Republican party has a better suite of policies for the country as a whole. But we elect politicians to do what is right for the country. “Is this legislation in the national interest?” should be the only question debated in public by politicians, of any party.