Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Steve Kagen & the Politics of Immigration

First we have WI-8 Democratic Congressman Steve Kagen opposing the Obama administration's lawsuit to stop the Arizona immigration law:
The action taken today by the U.S. Attorney General distracts our nation from addressing the real challenges we face: securing our borders, enforcing all our immigration laws, and stopping illegal immigration. Lawyers in Washington cannot secure our borders or catch those who break our laws. Arizona has asked for our help, not a federal lawsuit.
Kagen sees the short time frame between now and November and knows he will not have to cast a vote on immigration, which means issuing this statement has almost no downside. The upside is that it provides at least partial cover on an issue that will be on voter's minds right through the election. Voters in WI-8 should not be fooled. This is nothing more than political positioning. There is no doubt in my mind that if Kagen were re-elected and a Democrat sponsored immigration bill came up in the next Congress, he would support it regardless of what was in it. Kagen has demonstrated a willingness to support the national Democrat agenda, regardless how those issues impact his district.

On the other hand we have Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention interviewed on NPR:

As a leading evangelical conservative, Richard Land's credentials are impeccable. He heads the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, and from that influential perch he's been urging his fellow conservatives to rethink their opposition to the immigration overhaul.

"I've had some of them appeal to me. They say, 'Richard, you're going to divide the conservative coalition.' And I said, 'Well, I may divide the old conservative coalition, but I'm not going to divide the new one.' "

Land adds, "If the new conservative coalition is going to be a governing coalition, it's going to have to have a significant number of Hispanics in it, that's dictated by demographics, and you don't get large numbers of Hispanics to support you when you're engaged in anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric."

I heard Paul Krugman on a recent episode of ABC's This Week state that the cultural-right segment of the GOP is hostile to immigrants and that it had absolutely taken over the party. I would say that Dr. Land is pretty much emblematic of the cultural-right segment, and he sounds anything but anti-immigrant in this interview.

I'm sorry to break it to Dr. Land, but regardless of whether or not he is correct, the electorate simply isn't in any mood to agree with him. The only thing elected officials are safe to say during this election cycle is that we need to secure the borders, period. This means that Land's appeal will likely fall on deaf ears. This is where Kagen's hollow rhetoric ought to end up as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to agree with you re: Kagen. However when you consider his position as stated in '08 it's hard to say it's an issue that he can be "gotten" on.

The unfortunate thing is that in 4 years there hasn't been a vote to test his "talk".