Ace goes into detail about his reasons for ignoring Illegal Immigration as an issue for so long. They closely mirror my own. He also imagines why Rudy might have flipped his opinion, too. It's worth reading the whole thing.
It's important to note that the President drove this issue. He only talked about Illegal Immigration extensively in front of Hispanic audiences while campaigning, and mostly kept mum in front of Anglos. As I said before, I knew the President's position and voted for him in spite of it. I am not a one-issue voter which is why Rudy Giuliani has more than an ice-cube's chance in hell with me and with other Republicans.
For the electorate, the issue bubbled beneath the surface. No one (no legislator, the President) seemed serious about doing anything about the issue. My feeling was that the best thing that could happen with Bush as President was nothing. In fact, by pushing the issue, President Bush inadvertently became a catalyst to reveal Americans' true feelings on the subject.
Ace is right. No one wanted or wants to be perceived as a racist pig about Illegal Immigration. Most people like their Mexican brethren in the particular but are disturbed in the abstract. That is, people like the guy mowing the lawn but they know that there is an ugly side to the undocumented workers on a grand scale. And there is, as the Newark murder demonstrates.
By the way, family members in New Jersey knew NOTHING from the nightly news, local radio or newspaper about the killers being illegal, or members of a gang, or accused of raping a five year old. When I told the relative the details, she was outraged. The media is committing suicide by so selectively giving the news. The bias and determined desire to slant the political outcome is outrageous. I suggest getting news from blogs, the layers of fact-checkers (called informed readers who can do a Google search) tend to keep them honest:
Somewhere in all the discussion over why this crime happened must be someone to stand up and demand action taken against illegal aliens, one of whom was involved in this heinous act. Not only was Jose Lachira Carranza an illegal alien, but he had already been indicted on two other crimes - a rape of a 5-year old over a period of weeks and on which he was released on $150,000 bail, and a barroom brawl.When hard news is suppressed, when everyone in the media and in Washington and in business unite about an agenda, it's difficult to get straight facts so one can make a clear-headed decision about something like Illegal Immigration. But the facts are coming out now and Americans aren't too keen on what they are seeing.
Illegal immigration truly was an issue the polarized the country. On one hand, there were the elites (political, media, academic and business) and on the other there were those who had eyes to see and looked around at the evidence. Finally.
We have President Bush to thank for revealing the will of the people. Politicians are reacting to reflect that will. That means a lot of candidates will flip-flop. I'll give the last word to Ace:
Politicians generally lead -- but lead from the middle. They rarely like being far out of the soft fat comfortable middle of consensus opinion. And where that middle has moved so dramatically, it seems little wonder that our would-be leaders' deepest-held principles have similarly migrated.
Personally, I'd give him a pass for past panders, so long as I were convinced he's right on the issue now and truly intends to govern the way I want on the issue. I'm actually not convinced of that -- and it's up to him to persuade me. No more talk of a "highly technological fence," please, unless that's mentioned after a decidedly low-tech fence across the whole border. He needs to make a statement on immigration equal to his vow to appoint judges like Alito and Roberts if he wants credibility. A tangible standard he can't easily chat his way back from.
And if not, well, then I write him off. We don't need Bush II on this issue.