The Corner

Another Email

Hey Ramesh-

The VDare brouhaha caused me to dig up your article on Nexis. Best piece I’ve read on the subject, and I’ve gotten a similar response from the many people I’ve forwarded it to. I wonder though…is there any Republican of national stature who has managed to thread the political needle by authentically straddling the divide you identify?

Thanks! Nobody comes to mind. Three thoughts on this.

First, a lot of Republican politicians want to find a middle ground on immigration. The way they have generally tried to do this is to say that they are for legal immigration but against illegal immigration. I wrote an article for NR last year arguing that this was a mistake: that the more productive middle-ground position would be to reduce both types of immigration and explain that this policy would help immigrants themselves. (My colleague Kate O’Beirne has mentioned one idea that would fit this strategy: Making it a priority to deport violent illegal immigrants.)

Second, I think that this middle ground would go over reasonably well with swing voters. But the folks who are most passionate about the issue, on both sides, would not get excited by it.

Third, it would probably take a presidential nominee who took this position to brand the party with it.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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