The Corner

‘Natural Republicans,’ Again

Karl Rove was back promoting the “Hispanic Republican voter in waiting” meme last week, in order to warn Republicans to watch “what they say” when the Gang of Eight immigration bill came to the Senate floor. This is the meme that refuses to die among Establishment Republicans, no matter how much counterevidence is provided against it. It has already been repeatedly pointed out that if Republicans want to get on the right side of Hispanic political values, they will have to junk their opposition to Obamacare (Hispanic support for Obamacare: 62 percent), big government (Hispanic support for big government: 75 percent), and racial preferences (the Latino Caucus in California is close to its longstanding goal of overturning Proposition 209’s ban on racial preferences in public higher education), as well as their positive view of capitalism (55 percent of Hispanics have a negative view of capitalism, the most of all groups surveyed by the Pew Research Center).

Now we can add a new stumbling block to the post-amnesty Hispanic-Republican embrace: Republican enthusiasm for fracking. In a recent poll, 55 percent of Hispanic voters in California “favored an immediate and outright ban on fracking that could be lifted only by the Legislature — a view shared by only 42 percent of whites,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Sixty-four percent of Latinos sanctioned a moratorium that could be lifted only after an environmental study; a lesser 56 percent of whites shared that view.” So much for economic self-interest trumping ideology.

If Republicans vote for amnesty, they should do so because they believe that doing so will strengthen the rule of law, improve the country’s fiscal condition, and help all economic classes. (Whether these beliefs are correct is another matter. Rove is already busy defining deviancy down in order to argue that the Gang of Eight bill is not amnesty. Among the allegedly tough “penalties and hurdles” that he claims take it out of the amnesty category is the requirement to prove “good moral character” by possessing a criminal record of “no more than three misdemeanors and no felonies.” That a Republican now views three misdemeanor convictions as proof of “good moral character” is a sign either of desperate political expediency or of a far more worrisome moral relativism. And of course, no amount of “penalties and hurdles” erases the fact that the law cancels illegal status, making it unequivocally an amnesty.) Harvesting more Republican votes is neither a sufficient nor an accurate reason to vote for the Senate immigration bill.

Heather Mac Donald — Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author of the New York Times bestseller The War on Cops

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