Why is the Republican Party attacking our two major presidential candidates?
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by Rachel Alexander | August 17th, 2007

mlmrtnz.jpgWhat is the Republican National Committee doing attacking the two major GOP contenders for president, Giuliani and Romney (who have no history as conservatives) for being too conservative on illegal immigration? The party leadership is out of touch with not only conservative Republicans, but mainstream Republicans as well.

The Republican National Committee chairman, Mel Martinez, has come out criticizing the GOP's 2 top candidates for president, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney for their positions on resolving illegal immigration . What is wrong with this picture? Giuliani and Romney are considered RINOs to many Republicans, with track records to prove it, so the Republican Party is doing Republicans no favors by attacking them for being too conservative. So far Giuliani and Romney are the only two Republican candidates with any real chance at winning the primary election (and if the RNC is that liberal on illegal immigration then it certainly won't support the more conservative Fred Thompson if he enters the race), so why is the RNC trying to scare off the conservative base even more from supporting these realistic candidates? After the Senate immigration bill fiasco, most Republicans, regardless of their stance on illegal immigration, came to a consensus that the bill had too many problems – no surprise considering it was mostly Democrats who supported it. Most Americans are gradually becoming resigned to the fact that Hillary Clinton is probably going to become our next president, unless something extraordinary takes place, like capturing Osama bin Laden. If Republicans want to keep control of the White House – which in fact is supposed to be the primary responsibility of the RNC – it is not the time to be attacking our leading candidates, who ironically represent the views of the middle-of-the-road RNC leadership better than the rest of candidates.

Giuliani is no illegal immigration hawk. He has tried to distance himself from his record in the past as New York mayor. However, even though he says he would emphasize enforcement issues more as President, he still takes a much more nuanced position than hardcore conservatives. In a recent campaign appearance in Boone, Iowa, he stated that he would not require the deportation of illegal immigrants who have children born in the U.S., unless they've committed crimes. He says he will move on to comprehensive immigration reform eventually – issues like paths to citizenship, guest worker program – after the borders are secured. He describes himself as "very practical about illegal immigration." "Good people would be given a chance," he said. "They'd have to earn it, they'd have to pay penalties and back taxes, they'd have to be able to read, write and speak English before they could become citizens. Bad people, or not such good people, would be thrown out depending on how you decided that."

Romney has criticized Giuliani recently for being soft on illegal immigration, but as recently as November 2005 Romney supported the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, and in 2006 expressed support for a path to citizenship. Here in Arizona, where illegal immigration has been ranked by residents as the #1 issue facing Arizonans, extremely conservative Senator Jon Kyl suffered a severe backlash for supporting the Senate immigration bill this summer. Even though Kyl is considered one of the most solid conservatives in the U.S. Senate, with a lifetime rating of 96.9 from the American Conservative Union (presidential candidate Duncan Hunter only has a 92 and Tom Tancredo is barely any higher than Kyl at 97.8), the outcry from Arizona Republicans was enough to make him back off and vote against the bill's passage at one point.

So what is going on at Republican Party headquarters? The party leadership is supposed to represent the party, not the interests of a select few. Like it or not, Giuliani and Romney, arguably the two most liberal Republicans in the race for president and the only two official candidates with a realistic chance at winning, have chosen positions on this issue which fall somewhere between the liberal wing of the party and the conservatives. They should not be taken down by the very party which is supposed to represent them. Something is very wrong at Republican headquarters, which needs to be addressed before we  lose this election.   

Labels: Politics: General, Arizona Politics, Elections & Political Parties, Immigration

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Responses to "Why is the Republican Party attacking our two major presidential candidates?"

  1. Something has been wrong at Republican party headquarters for at least 8 years – we just ignored it because we had a kind-of Republican in the White House and majorities in Congress. The fact is, George W. has hardly been a conservative stalwart, and never advertised himself as such. His campaign slogan in 2000 was a reminder that he's a "compassionate conservative". The GOP spent millions of dollars in the congressional primaries in 2006 ensuring that very liberal Republicans were elected over real conservatives. And after all the gleaming success that's produced, they still want to endorse only the most wishy-washy, liberal-lite candidates. All of the principles that brought them success in '94 were promptly abandoned and it's been a steady slide downward ever since. Republicans are constantly on the defensive and cowing to pressure from liberals instead of doing what they should be doing, which is proudly declaring conservative principles, and then saying why.

    Comment by Patrick Mulligan | August 17, 2007

  2. The disconnect between our leaders and the voters is now so extream that the time is finally ripe for grass roots 3rd party candidates to emerge. We have the internet on our side. Now we need leaders to declare themselves.

    Comment by endlesea | August 17, 2007

  3. Here's what I sent my RNC Chair;

    Immigration: In his 2004 campaign, Martinez said "I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. I support a plan that matches workers with needy employers without providing a path to citizenship. Immigration to this country must always be done through legal means" In 2006, he would craft a bill that would be referred to by much of his own party, as "amnesty".(see [9]). On June 28, 2007 he would later vote for an immigration bill he helped form with other Senate leaders that would allow many illegal immigrants to become citizens and provide stronger border security. The bill was defeated through being denied cloture on the Senate floor. With approximately 80% of his Republican base vehemently opposed to the bill, Martinez lamented in a speech later that day that the people of Florida were disappointed in the results of the vote.

    After seeing a headline today that Martinez is openly and publicly ridiculing the two largest RINO's we've ever seen as Republican presidential candidates on their anti-amnesty position, I would like to respectfully ask why Martinez thinks the "good ol' boy network" will be saving his bacon in runnning rogue against the entire base? This question also makes me wonder who would appoint a first term Senator as the RNC Chairman?

    I know these are difficult questions but, they are designed to relay just how outraged I am….and I'm not alone by any means, I assure you.

    If the RNC would prefer to be dictators, just let us know so we, the people, can appropriately respond to that declaration of war.

    Thank you,

    Comment by winghunter | August 17, 2007

  4. Here's another article from Red State on the subject, which discusses how "Amnesty Mel" doesn't represent Republican parties like Arizona's which stood up to Martinez on this. http://www.redstate.com/blogs/neocon1973/2007/aug/16/no_amnesty_from_amnesty_mel

    Comment by Rachel Alexander | August 17, 2007

  5. If Ronald Reagan were alive today and running for the presidency, holding exactly the same views as when he did in the 1980s, but was instead a relatively unknown candidate rather than the greatest conservative of our time, one wonders if the RNC would support him due to his "extreme" views.

    As he said so well, and is so true today, "I did not leave the party, the party left me."

    I am increasingly feeling as though the RNC is the lesser of two evils. I am also increasingly feeling as though there is nothing conservative about the RNC in terms of actual practice. What used to be undergirding planks are now merely optional trim packages that can be removed if it will bring in more votes.

    The goal here is not to win offices "at any price" in terms of constantly middle-seeking ideology. When the party stands for just about everything, it stands for nothing. The fact that Giuliani is a front-runner is all the testimony I need that the party has lost its firm compass. Although it will always be a party to the right of the Democrats, it bothers me that instead of pulling the whole spectrum rightward, the whole spectrum is shifting leftward. Today's Republican is largely 1960's Democrat.

    Comment by Steve Sabin | August 18, 2007

  6. I received this clarification on the status of Mel Martinez as "chairman" representing the RNC –

    Date: Mon Aug 20, 2007
    Sender: "Curly Haugland"
    To: "Rachel Alexander"
    Subject: GOP Chairman NOT Mel Martinez

    Hi Rachel;

    Just to advise you that Mel Martinez does not speak for the Republican National Committee; he has no authority to do so.

    Martinez was given the honorary title of “general chairman” of the party in January as a courtesy to President Bush. Mike Duncan is the chairman of the RNC; and even he is not authorized to take positions on behalf of the Committee unilaterally.

    Thank you for corrections as appropriate for this misinformation.


    Curly Haugland
    Republican National Committeeman for North Dakota

    Comment by Rachel Alexander | August 20, 2007

  7. Giuliani and Romney are libs from lib states. Everyone knows it, but the MSM is in overdrive attempting to reshape their image to the public.
    I hate to stereotype here, but I'm not surprised that anyone with the last name "Martinez" is complaining about even these 2 libs as being "too conservative" on illegal immigration.

    Comment by freedom360 | August 21, 2007

  8. Even in early 2002 Karl Rove responded to Tancredo's direct criticism of the administrations illegal alien policy by telling him off for 40 minutes and at the end of his tirade said, "never to darken the door of the White House again".

    Perhaps it's a VERY good thing Rove is leaving at the end of the month… a very good thing.

    I think at this point that our Prez didn't learn from Neville Chamberlain. Instead of asking our approval or merely informing us of his intentions he is systematically, as did Clinton to an extent, arranging the open borders of Canada and Mexico and whatever may suffer from this, like our sovereignty, the benefits will somehow far outweigh the costs…not flippin' likely.

    I believe his heart is in the right place, exactly what I believed of the man when I voted for him, HOWEVER, I also believe his head is located where the sun doesn't shine on this issue….Sorry sir but, our founding fathers went out of their way to expressly warn us of maintaining our sovereignty and I see the inherent truth of it.

    Comment by winghunter | August 21, 2007

  9. Long time no comment. Mostly because I am so saddened by the weakness of the GOP to be conservatives. I picked up on the last line of Rachael's post as the true measure of politics today and why I have become disillusioned by it. "Something is very wrong at Republican headquarters, which needs to be addressed before we lose this election." This is exactly where we have lost the conservative movement. The GOP only cares about winning elections, NOT advancing conservative policy. I will forever blame the GOP for allowing liberals into power by acting like socialist in the years of control in the House, Senate, and Presidency. Immigration is just another issue that the GOP hoped to gain by what GWB referred to in his election "taking the issues away from Democrats." Bush and his cronies were more than willing to advance socialistic programs if they felt they would get elected. Does anyone think a Medicare Drug Bill would pass under a Democratic President with a majority of GOPers inthe House and Senate- of course not. There would have been a fight. Would the Kennedy Education Bill have passed- of course not. Talk radio and the real conservatives in America prevented amnesty. I just thank God the immigration battle did not take place in 2003, when the lock-steppers to the President would have passed this bill to show unity and the conservatives like us would have swallowed our sense of right and wrong just to win an election in 2004. (Like we did with his spending plans) We felt that winning the election was the goal; its not. Conservatism needs to be the goal. If we are going to elect a President that will promote a liberal domestic agenda (Bush), than I for one would rather have a Democrat in the White House. The reason; Republicans tend to act like conservatives when they have an opponent from the Democratic party to fight- with Bush they didn't have the mustard to stand up to him until he was irrelevant or a hinderance to their individual campaigns. Sad indeed.

    Comment by Honker | August 22, 2007

  10. The immigration issue is far more complicated than a 'round them up and lock the door ' approach would address. I'm not happy about 12 to 20 million illegals being here either, but if we begin a program of aggressively going after illegals, the television screens will be loaded with pictures of men with guns stomping through darkened living rooms, the teary eyed host reminding voters that this is what Republicans wanted. This country is too fickle to endure being called racists for long to follow through on clearing out our country of illegals. The political damage would be huge.

    We could enforce workplace regulations, but it would take years for any real success to show, even longer if the border is not secure. I'm not sure many on the right are going to be that patient, and after a few more stories about illegals executing or raping Americans the frustration will burst anew.

    If Republicans are able to convince people that our motivation is law and order, rather than a fear of brown people (a charge Democrats have used skillfully for 40 years), then the issue may not blow up in our faces. But Republicans are notorious for their inability to convey a message or defend themselves.

    It's a fine line we walk addressing immigration, made all the more difficult by a rapacious political enemy and their willing accomplices in the media. I think we're going to end up swallowing millions of illegals after promises of better border and workplace enforcement. It may be the only avenue that doesn't destroy Republican political chances for the future.

    Unless, of course, the Republican savior Fred "Any Day Now" Thompson sweeps in and frames that issue so skillfully that those Dem charges are rejected for the hogwash they are…

    Comment by Evrviglnt | August 26, 2007

  11. Well Evr, you've got the "more complicated" and the "gun" part right;

    Mexican government increasing fight against US immigration laws
    by Sher Zieve at Renew America on 7/26

    "In yet another attempt of a foreign government to end US immigration laws and create a no-holds-barred open southern border scenario, the Mexican Senate has "ruled" that the USA has no right to deport illegal-alien Mexicans from its country. Citing the recent ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deportation of, at least, two-time-offender illegal alien Elvira Arellano, Mexican Senator Humberto Zazue said: "We cannot remain quiet in view of this injustice and must ask for firm action from our authorities!" Firm action from our authorities? What is Zazue advocating? Increased violence from Mexican "authorities" at our southern border, perhaps? Is this another step in Mexico's plan to take portions of the US as Mexican territories?…"

    So, how does "shall not be infringed" grab everyone at this point?

    Comment by winghunter | August 26, 2007

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