American Conservative Union on Amnesty: No Enemies to the Left?

by Mark Krikorian

The American Conservative Union has released the latest in its endless series of letters pushing amnesty for illegal aliens and a doubling of future legal immigration. The letter itself is the usual stuff: We’re running out of workers, “spurs economic growth,” ”legal status to undocumented immigrants,” ” border security triggers,” etc.

Among the “more than fifteen conservative leaders” [that many?] who signed are some of the usual suspects: Al Cardenas, Richard Land, Tamar Jacoby, Frank Cannon, Jeff Bell, et al. (Curiously, no Grover Norquist.) But they apparently felt the need to pad their list of “more than fifteen” signatories by adding “Robert Gittleson of Conservatives for Immigration Reform.” (Actually, the group is called Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and his name is spelled Gittelson.) I wrote about Gittelson a few years back on these pages, where I quoted this from his celebration of the role played in immigration policy by a certain lawmaker from Massachusetts:

Senator Ted Kennedy was our most inspirational leader in this cause. His passion, booming voice, and larger than life presence had been sorely missed this year. Now that he has passed, we mourn his passage, but remain inspired by his words, deeds, and accomplishments.

He didn’t write this as a dumb college student, but just four years ago. I don’t care what you think about immigration — no conservative is inspired by Ted Kennedy’s words, deeds, and accomplishments.

Gittelson co-founded his group with former Mexican cabinet official (i.e., a member of the Mexican president’s cabinet) Juan Hernandez, who said on Nightline, referring to Americans of Mexican origin, “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’” Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t seem like something WFB or Goldwater or Reagan would say.

I listed some of Gittelson’s left-wing affiliations in that earlier Corner posting, but a newer article, from about a year ago, caught my eye. It included this:

But Robert Gittelson said he has been an independent since first registering to votemore accurately as “Decline to State” in California.

“To this day I’ve remained an independent,” he says, “and over eight presidential elections, I’ve voted four times for Republicans and four times for Democrats. I’m really a true independent.”

A big-tent strategy is important to growing any political movement. But how can the American Conservative Union describe someone who proudly notes he’s voted Democrat half the time as a “conservative leader“? There’s no shame in having voted for Clinton or Dukakis or whomever, but it’s not exactly conservative, is it? And the article came out just before last year’s election; I’d be willing to bet that Gittelson has brought his Democrat vote total up to five.

On its site, the American Conservative Union says “ACU DEFINES  CONSERVATISM.” If that’s true, we’re frelled.