Republican leaders in the House have convinced themselves that a tough anti-immigration stance is key to holding on to their majority in November. And they cite GOP Representative Brian Bilbray's special election victory earlier this month in California as evidence that demonizing illegal aliens is a political winner. But Mr. Bilbray didn't even capture 50% of the vote in a safe GOP district against a Democrat, while Mr. Cannon has now survived a single-issue immigration assault from a well-financed fellow Republican. GOP voters are smarter than GOP Members think they are.Bilbray only failed to get 50% of the vote (he received 49.57%) because Independent William Griffith, who was endorsed by the MinuteMen and was on Bilbray's right on immigration, picked up 3.81%. Given the public's overwhelming support for tougher border enforcement and lower total immigration, both legal and illegal, the House's roadshow is politically prudent. Would the members be wiser to instead latch onto the reckless spending of the current GOP leadership and the Iraq miasma the neocons got us into? Is the WSJ's op/ed crew unaware of how Tom Delay upped GOP Congressional representation from an unfavorable 17-15 in 2000 to a favorable 21-11 majority in Texas with the 2003 redistricting in part by breaking up Hispanic havens in the southwest part of the state, with a results like the state's 23rd district?
The sovereignty crowd shouldn't lose heart over Jacob's defeat in Utah. Only a month ago, Jacob was down 48%-28%. Incumbents are virtually impervious in primaries--since the 1950s the rate of defeat has been around 1%--and Cannon's been in the seat for a decade. Jacob, a political newcomer, still managed to garner more than 44% of the vote. Further, he prodded Cannon into putting up a tough veneer when the two jousted:
Cannon said he wants immigration reform to look like some combination of the best parts of the U.S. House and Senate plans. Cannon says he opposes amnesty, and he has said undocumented workers could pay fines and return to their home country to apply for re-entry into the United States.Compare that to what Cannon said in 2002:
"We love immigrants in Utah. And we don't make the distinction very often between legal and illegal. In fact, I think Utah was the first state in the country to legislate the ability to get a driver's license based on the matricula consular [a Mexican government ID], and of that I'm proud."Utah's third district is considered one of the most conservative in the country, and Cannon has received a top rating of 100 on the American Conservative Union's legislator's scorecard. President Bush endorsed him as well. Those are quite a few obstacles for an unknown and politically inexperienced newcomer like Jacob to overcome. And he still managed to make the race close and bring it to the nation's attention.
++Addition++The WSJ's op/ed tendentiously insinuates that Jacob spent an extraordinary amount in his attempt to bump Cannon:
Mr. Cannon defeated millionaire real-estate developer John Jacob, who spent more than $400,000 in the race, much of it assailing Mr. Cannon's support for President Bush's comprehensive immigration reform. Mr. Jacob was also adopted by Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo's political action committee, Team America, which wants to make the GOP an anti-immigration party. Mr. Tancredo's PAC spent $40,000 on radio ads attacking the incumbent, and its Web site even posted a picture of Mr. Cannon with a red target around his head.Nothing in there about how much Cannon's campaign threw into the primary. Thankfully, the Daily Herald is more honest:
U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, has a more than 2-to-1 fundraising advantage over challenger John Jacob in the race for the Republican nomination in Utah's Third Congressional District. ...
Reports filed through Monday show that Cannon had raised $815,687 from donors, PACs and loans. Jacob's total was $383,860, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. ...
Reports show that Jacob spent $346,000 through the beginning of June, compared to Cannon's $612,000 outlay.
The open border ideologues justify the means by looking at what they consider desirable ends. Veracity and perspective have no place in the WSJ op/ed's arsenal.