Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Contrary the WSJ, GOP restrictionists fared relatively well this election

++Addition2++Looking at IRC membership is a reasonable way to gauge restrictionism. It was used because the WSJ pointed to five members in this group (which represents more than half of all Republicans in the House) that "demonizes the undocumented", but looking at AfBI's scorecards of recent actions by members who gave up their seats would've yielded the same. AfBI gives an average score of 84% to outgoing IRC members and an average score of 70% to outgoing non-IRC members.

That said, Ponnuru's criticism inadvertantly leads to some good news--even the IRC members who lost are not among the most restrictionist Congress critters in the GOP. That average score of 84% puts them, as a group, at about the 45th percentile among Republicans in terms of restrictionism, according to AfBI. The non-IRC losers are, as a group, pretty supportive of open borders. The 70% puts them at the 22nd percentile among Republicans. The Republican party has become even more restrictionist from this election cycle than was initially realized.

++Addition++John Derbyshire and Ramesh Ponnuru weigh in at NRO. Ponnuru takes issue:
The analysis linked treats it as equivalent when a restrictionist Republican incumbent is defeated and a non-restrictionist Republican who resigns is not replaced by another Republican. It also treats everyone who isn't a member of the immigration-reform caucus as a non-restrictionist. Chris Shays, who's on the non-restrictionist list, didn't take the Journal line on immigration. Neither did Steve Chabot.
Describing data in as transparent a way as possible is something I pride myself on. I didn't realize the majority of incumbents who did not run for reelection were non-IRC members (Renzi was the only IRC member who did not try his luck in the general election). I simply looked at GOP seats to be turned over in January, and who currently holds them. Still, I think it's trivial.

The Republican nominees attempting to replace retiring incumbents, some of whom bow out because extenuating circumstances put their chances at reelection in doubt (like Weller's land dealings, Fossella's multiple embarrassments, and Wilson's and Pearce's losses in New Mexico's Senate contest), ride the waves of their fellow party members they hope to replace. If a seat is lost, that is what is of political importance. I do not see why it matters if the loss comes at the polls or ahead of time because a representative sees a reputationally and economically costly defeat coming down the pike if he runs again, so he saves face by not stepping into the cage at all.

Regarding Shays and Chabot, I'll look at AfBI gradecards soon for another method of comparison. But membership in the IRC puts a member's restrictionism in the spotlight. And very few politicians from either party are as blatant in their support of open borders as the WSJ op/ed board is.


The WSJ op/ed board claims immigration restriction was a political loser for the GOP in the '08 election cycle:
Virginia Republican Congressman Virgil Goode's narrow loss to Democrat Tom Perriello became official last week, and it caps another bad showing for immigration restrictionists. For the second straight election, incumbent Republicans who attempted to turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue fared poorly.

Anti-immigration hardliners Randy Graf, John Hostettler and J.D. Hayworth were among the Republicans who lost in 2006. Joining them this year were GOP Representatives Thelma Drake (Virginia), Tom Feeney (Florida), Ric Keller (Florida) and Robin Hayes (North Carolina) -- all Members of a House anti-immigration caucus that focuses on demonizing the undocumented.
There are actually an additional five Republican IRC members who lost their seats to Democrats on November 4th. What the dishonest board doesn't report, however, is that 105 of the 202 Republican representatives in the 110th Congress are members of the IRC (a caucus which saw its membership grow by another 7 members from '06 to '08). The ten seats given up thus constitute a 9.5% loss rate among Republican IRC members. They are:

Renzi, AZ
Musgrave, CO
Keller, FL
Feeney, FL
Sali, ID
Walberg, MI
Hayes, NC
Kuhl, NY
Drake, VA
Goode, VA

How did their non-restrictionist counterparts fare? Of the 97 non-IRC Republicans, 15 gave up their seats this election cycle. That comes to a loss rate of 15.5%. The losers are:

Everett, AL
Shays, CT
Weller, IL
Gilchrist, MD
Knollenberg, MI
Saxton, NJ
Wilson, NM
Pearce, NM
Porter, NV
Fossella, NY
Walsh, NY
Chabot, OH
Regula, OH
English, PA
Davis, VA

I am tempted to call Gigot and the board he leads a band of liars, but I strive not to impugn integrity if there exists a way to give the benefit of the doubt. In this case, the board's assertion that Republican restrictionists fared poorly is tautologically correct--they lost some seats. But non-restrictionists fared even worst. The Republican brand--displayed most prominently in the open borders championing, militarily intervening, messianic democracy-supporting, bailout-backing neocon leftist Republican presidential nominee, John McCain--is currently tarnished, and all Republicans are paying for that to some degree.

Lest the board deceive you into believing this is a repeat of restrictionism's poor showing in '06, recall that in that mid-term election cycle 5.9% of Republican IRC members lost their seats, compared to 16.7% of non-IRC representatives. The Republican party is becoming more restrictionist as non-restrictionists are rapidly being thrown out.

Also, for what it's worth, Democratic membership in the IRC increased from 4 members in the '05-'07 Congress to 7 members in the '07-'09 Congress. Here's to continued change in the IRC's partisan composition!

False premises rarely lead to sound conclusions. The board offers no exception:

The demographic reality is that the GOP can't win national elections while losing such a large share of the fastest-growing ethnic minority in the country.
McCain won 55% of the white vote. Had he been able to tick this up to 60%, he'd be set to be sworn in as the 44th President in January. McCain also won 31% of the Hispanic vote. Had his support among Hispanics been swapped with Obama's, so that McCain took 67% of the Hispanic vote and Obama only garnered 31%, he'd nonetheless remain a Senator from Arizona, coming up short in the Presidential contest.

Winning six of ten white voters is crucial for any Republican Presidential nominee. If he is able to pull that off, he's virtually guaranteed the Presidency.


Sgt. Joe Friday said...

"The demographic reality is that the GOP can't win national elections while losing such a large share of the fastest-growing ethnic minority in the country."

On the one hand, we are told that Hispanics care about the same issues as other voters, that they're really no different from the rest of us and we therefore have nothing to worry about. We're even told that they're "natural Republicans."

On the other hand, the folks at the WSJ, certain talk radio hosts like Miguel Medved, and the GOP elite insist that the only way to attract Hispanic voters is through open borders, amnesty, giving money to people to buys homes they can't afford, pandering to them in Spanish, and giving them status as a protected minority.

I'm confused. Obama won by, what, 7 million votes? Even if McCain had gotten 2/3 of the Hispanic vote, he would have still lost to Obama by over a million votes. What am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

Saxton didn't lose, he retired.

Anonymous said...

Your problem is that you assume individual voters know the intricacies of every politician's votes on every immigration bill, resolution and amendment that comes before them. They don't. The non-restrictionists likely lost for the same reason the restrictionists did: the Republican brand is toxic - not just b/c of the immigration debate, but it is a major contributing factor. John McCain, Mr. Amnesty himself, got destroyed in the Hispanic vote running on the GOP name. If they're not going to vote for McCain who will they vote for with the current GOP brand?

Most Americans may be against illegal immigration, and that's fine. But the GOP turned the debate not into one on illegal immigration, but one of immigration altogether. They then pushed their most strident anti-illegal immigration voices to the front of the debate, which would also be fine if those same people weren't against all immigration as well. That's not exactly a recipe for success in America.

Anonymous said...

Hardly any of the candidates you list that support sensible immigration policies lost in the 2008 election. The following from your list didn't even run:

Everett, AL
Weller, IL
Saxton, NJ
Wilson, NM
Pearce, NM
Fossella, NY
Walsh, NY
Regula, OH
Davis, VA

Plus, Gilchrist (MD) lost in the primary. I think your analysis is fatally flawed.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

Anonymous - Most Americans are opposed to illegal immigration, as you point out. But most people would also be opposed to the solution that our political, media, business, education, and religious elites have, which is to (a) legalize those who are here now, and (b) water down our already pussified immigration laws even further.

Most people are unaware that we let in around 2,000,000 people every year, legally and otherwise. And let's be real, the ones who get in illegally are here because the above-named elites have decided they want them here. For whatever reason it may be, those in charge have decided that 2,000,000/year is how many they want to admit, and they have further decided that those people should be overwhelmingly poor, uneducated, and most from one ethnic-linguistic-cultural faction.

Why this is being done to us, I have no idea, but make no mistake, this isn't happening by accident. What is baffling to me is that our elites have decided to take a country and a society that functioned at such a high level for so many years, and flood it with tens of millions of high school dropouts. WTF are these people thinking?

Maybe it's true that the GOP will be unable to win future elections without attracting significant numbers of Hispanic votes. But by then, our country will have become something entirely foreign in many senses; the Democrats by then will probably be a neo-communist party (minus the militant atheism) and the GOP will be somewhere to the left of where the Democrats are today, which is to say a socialist party with some religious elements to it. As a libertarian conservative who's somewhat agnostic when it comes to religion, where do I fit in? Nowhere, I guess. Bush, Rove, and McCain have already made it clear there's no place for me in their GOP.

John Derbyshire said...

I posted this and then Ramesh posted this.

The Undiscovered Jew said...


The GOP lost because of a big black turnout combined with lower conservative turnout.

The key minority group in American politics is still the black population because the Hispanics are concentrated in Democrat solid California and GOP solid Texas. Asians are also tiny electorally and concentrated in California.

Almost *everywhere* else in the country, contests hinge on whether the GOP can both turnout white conservatives and win a high enough proportion of the overall white vote to compensate for the 90% of the black vote Democrats always win.

Saxby Chambliss just won a strong victory in Georgia because black vote fell compared to black turnout this November.

The country is still defined by the white black political dynamic, Hispanics and Asians are simply not relevant:



Whatever turns out to be the case, at the close of early voting Wednesday, according to the Secretary of State's office 345,564 had voted, and 22.5% of those votes were African-American, an ominous dropoff from the 34.5% of black early voters for the general election.


As I wrote in The Straight-Ticket Youth Vote, the identity politics vote based on Obama's personal characteristics -- young and African-American -- may have counted for as much as 6 points of his victory margin -- about 4 points in the increased youth margin and turnout, and about 2 points in increased African American turnout and margin. Not only did this benefit Obama but young people also voted straight ticket for Democratic Congressional candidates. The youth vote on November 4th was about as Democratic as the Latino vote -- and twice as large.

Those advantages are not going to be at play for Jim Martin, a boring white guy.

It's in Georgia that we may begin to see indications of a natural tightening of the House generic ballot for 2010. And it's not so much the African American vote -- though that's a big deal in Georgia -- as it is the youth vote.

If 18-29 voters are back to 12% of the electorate (where they were in '06) from 17%, that's an automatic 2 points extra for GOP Congressional candidates even if the margin stays at inflated 2008 rates. And without Obama at the top of the ticket, it's hard to see how it could. So Obama reshaped the electorate, but probably did it just for one day and one candidate. And if Jim Martin doesn't exceed expectations with Obama's organizers down in Georgia also suggests that the candidate matters more than the tactics in driving GOTV.

Georgia will be the first test of whether Obama's massive turnout surge proves realigning for other Democrats. Pre-runoff polls, though, suggest that it won't be.

Audacious Epigone said...


Right. If the Hispanics being targeted are natural Republicans, why the need for Hispandering? Also, why would they not--presuming they agree with the GOP on most save things immigration restriction--vote for McCain this election cycle? Surely the savvy among them would realize the election as a golden opportunity to promote the open borders side of the Republican party, presumably just what they naturally support.

Anon1 and Anon3,

The Republican nominees attempting to replace retiring incumbents, some of whom bow out because extenuating circumstances put their chances at reelection in doubt (like Weller's land dealings, Fossella's embarrassments, and Wilson's and Pearce's losses in the Senate primary), ride the waves of their fellow party members. If a seat is lost, that is what matters politically. On the IRC side, you could add Renzi to the list. But again, I don't think it really matters if the loss comes at the polls or ahead of time because a representative sees a reputationally and economically costly defeat coming down the pike if he runs again.

Re: Shays, I'll look at AfBI grades soon for another method of comparison. But membership in the IRC puts a member's restrictionism in the spotlight. And very few politicians from either party are as blatant in their support of open borders as the WSJ op/ed board is.


It's an honor. Thank you!


Succinct analysis, much appreciated.

dave in boca said...

No MSM commentators have noted that Obama had 40,000 FEWER voters than John Kerry in '04 [I read in a blog online], yet picked up Ohio handily. Obviously, McCain was not an attractive conservative candidate and I suspect that many natural conservatives stayed home because JMcC simply was Tweedledee on Immigration with open floodgates his solution when you read the fine print.

The MSM & the DC elites are ignoring a majority of Americans out there, I believe, who want tightly-controlled US/Mexican & US/Canadian borders, for any number of reasons that our irrational elites can not or refuse to comprehend.

The taxpayers and small businesses are picking up the tabs on the profligacy of the WSJ corporate elites and the dishonest FanFred Democrats' CRA silliness.

Neither the WSJ nor the Dems seem to understand Economics 101.

Anonymous said...

Not all, but many, Americans who find themselves in a tenuous financial position are in that position because of irresponsible behavior on their own part. Obama won this election because he was effective with his message: They screwed you and I will save you by making them pay.

There are two types of people when it comes to dealing with adversity. First, there are those who assess their situation and take action to improve, second, there are those who look for someone to blame and dedicate their time and emotion to evening the score. It seems that the population of the country includes a significant number of the latter.

Immigration policy had nothing to do with the results of this election.

Anonymous said...

"First, there are those who assess their situation and take action to improve..."

Let's make it worse by having more hispanics. What could go wrong? So people "improve" so that they can keep supporting low funntioning illegals(not to mention blacks). See California for this:


Flu-Bird said...

The claim by the usial liberal eletists that the GOP was on its way our was wrong but what can you ever expect from a bunch of idiots who IQ is far below a ants or fleas

Audacious Epigone said...


Wow, almost 400,000 fewer votes for the major party candidates in Ohio in '08 as compared to '04. I was unaware.


The Presidential contest didn't offer a contrast on immigration between Obama and McCain. It's harder to tell at the district level, though. The WSJ is certainly trying to use this election cycle, just as it did the last one, to suggest that immigration restrictionism is an electorally loser. I see no evidence for that position this time around, nor in '04.

dave in boca said...

AE, Yeah, and I think the gobbledegook from the ultra-lib loons that the US is "no longer a center-right country" doesn't take this gigantic loss of 300K votes in Ohio [with Obama forty thou fewer than Kerry] into account.

The conservatives and libertarians stayed home because of McC's flaky takes on a lot of issues, but I'd put illegal-immigration waffling at the very top of the McCain flakiness totem pole---a very tall pole indeed!

Hey, I'm counting on you for the stat-analysis, AE, and I know there's a story in the data that the MSM aren't going to bring out, since McCain was THEIR candidate, as RushL insisted all along!

Poll after poll over the years has shown the US to be around 35% "self-described" conservative and 20% "self-described" liberals. I think Obama benefited by a ONE-TIME black tendency to vote which Georgia just demonstrated won't be replicated in off-national races.

Audacious Epigone said...


Have you seen exit polling on the Georgia race? I've not been able to get my hands on hard numbers, but I've seen estimates that the black turnout was around 23% for the runoff, compared to 30% in the general. The level of support among whites and blacks for Chambliss and Martin are said to have been the same, with the relative decrease in black voters why Chambliss won so handily.

So in short, it looks like you're spot on.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that a lot of LEGAL immigrant Hispanics are in favor of secure borders as long as its not set up as an anti-Hispanic plan. After all, some guy obeyed the law, got in, and then sees a bunch of other people jumping in line. That's gotta annoy a man.


dave in boca said...

AE, hadn't seen the numbers you quote, but the reporting on FOX has the reasons you cite for Chambliss's easy victory over Martin.

Anon Tennwriter has a point---a lot of Latino Hispanics are ticked here in FL, [where there are fewer Mexican illegals and where most are legal] that the wetbacks and border-jumping types are jumping the queue.

That said, my wife dated Bill Richardson at Tufts, we did a fund-raiser for him in DC two decades ago, and he told me in my backyard that he was 100% against illegal immigration---during his abortive potus run for the WH, he threw that position under the bus in no time flat!!

Richardson at Commerce will be good for LA relations, but I do hope he will get Colombia under the NAFTA umbrella and that the US unions don't kill free trade agreements---they seem to hate America's allies in the Latin American region, the unions do.

Rebel Yell said...

Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico did not lose his state's Senate primary; he won it against Heather Wilson. Then he lost the general election to one of the Udallumists).

One fact not mentioned, which of course the Open Borders radicals of the Wall Street Journalista failed to note, is that Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) lost by about a 60-40 margin in his primary this year because of his open borders position and support of the Bush-Kennedy-McCain amnesty bill.

The bottom line is that the WSJ believes we need more third-worlders in America, as if we don't have enough of the home-grown variety. Those deluded neocons also want us to become a white-minority country. What those bozos fail to realize is that a majority of minorities will always gravitate to the Democrat Party -- because it's the Sugar Daddy party that wants to keep certain of its clientele on the plantation or the hacienda, as it were.

Finally, it is not inevitable that Hispanics have to continue growing at such a fast rate. First, if we continue to 1) crack down on criminal employers who hire the criminal illegals (thank God for the temporarily deteriorating economy, which is returning millions of illegals home where they belong), and 2) deny the criminal illegals all benefits, including benefits to their non-citizen children (it's a myth that the children of illegals are citizens), they will self-deport. Most of the 15 million here will return home as their raison- d'etre for being here will have been eliminated.

Second, if we seal the border through physical and virtual barriers, this will preempt 99% of illegals (good luck on this with the Trojan Horse of a Homeland Security-designate we have in Janet Napolitano -- she is clearly a Mexican plant). But we'll have a great issue in 2012.

Third, the coup de grace on immigration will occur when we repeal the 1965 Immigration Act, which is the source of our real immigration problem, namely, legal immigration (1 million per year vs. 500,000 illegals). This disastrous Great Society (great for Mexico) program was designed to turn the U.S. into a Latino-majority country, as the LBJ radicals knew (as the morons at the WSJ don't seem to) that most Latinos will vote for the welfare party).

The specific problem with the 1965 Act, which is virtually never commented upon, is that it provides a de facto quota in favor of Latino, especially Mexican, immigrants, as they are those most proximate to the U.S. who want to flee their corrupt, socialist gov't (Canada's non-corrupt, socialist gov't doesn't pose as much of a problem for its Anglos). This de facto quota exists because 1) it is easier for those from adjacent countries to come here than those from east Europe or Asia; 2) once in, they can get their entire extended family of hundreds into the U.S. eventually (those LBJ Dr. Strangelove masterminds were indeed brilliant); and 3) as with a roach motel, they can check in but never check out (from we restrictionists' [Americans] perspective). This quota regime discriminates against those of European, Asian, and African extraction. It must end.

Finally, as Peggy Noonan and others have noted, after a previous experiment with unprecedented immigration (1880s-1924), the American people had had enough, said "time out," and legislation was passed, which resulted in very little immigration during the next four decades. Our current iteration of outrageous immigration levels (another four-decade period) is even worse than the first, as those from the earlier period had to commit to the American experiment as they had no way to go back home (over an ocean) or repatriate money to the unfortunates left behind.

Hence, we need a long period (at least 10 years) of no legal immigration (except for a reasonable number, e.g., (250,000-500,000, of those with advanced skills as our pathetic liberal-dominated public schools aren't producing these graduates). This would allow us to digest those 40 million that have come here in the past 40 years (this excludes the illegals and their children -- another 15 million).

The bottom line is that the U.S. will not exist as we know it as a minority-majority country. It will become a formal third-world country at that point. We didn't win the Battle of the Armada in 1588 (by the grace of God) (via our proxy Great Britain), the Mexican War in 1848 (regardless of how ill-advised it might have been in retrospect), etc., only to go down in a flame of siestas. If corrective action isn't taken soon, real Americans will have to migrate north and take over Canada, and perhaps excise the upper U.S. as part of reverse-merger. We'll leave the minority-dominated U.S. to deal with our $10 trillion debt, etc. The capital flight of trillions of dollars alone will leave the LSA (the Latino States of America) an economic basket case (see Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, et al. as references). A civil war will erupt eventually between the Hispanics and blacks at some point, so it will be interesting to watch this from our safe haven above the 40th Parallel, which would thankfully be too cold for either the Hispanics or Africans to endure.

Deo Vindice,

Rebel Yell
Alexandria, VA

Audacious Epigone said...


Great comments, thanks.

Re: Cannon, yes, that defeat is especially hard for the open borders types, since they'd celebrated Cannon's victory two years prior as more 'proof' that restrictionism doesn't work (even though Cannon had outspent his opponent something like $7 to $1 and had the backing of the RNC).

Re: voluntary removal--yes, that's been happening in states like Arizona and Oklahoma. Operation Wetback set a 'precedent' of 7-8 leaving of their own volition for every one forcibly removed.

Re: sensible, limited immigration--what do you think of the EB-5 Visa program ($1 million in investment or $500k in a blighted area for legal residency to be granted, plus the creation of 12+ US jobs)? With this viable, that we tolerate unskilled illegal immigration becomes all the more stultifyingly self-destructive.

Anonymous said...

deny the criminal illegals all benefits, including benefits to their non-citizen children (it's a myth that the children of illegals are citizens), they will self-deport

I agree with your goal here, but as I understood it whether or not the children of illegals are citizens is still a matter of debate. Some readings of the 14th Amendment imply that they are. Can you elaborate on a reading of the 14th that says they aren't?

Audacious Epigone said...


Howard Sutherland does.

Mr. 4/12/08 6:42 PM said...

Thank you, Audacious, that is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Sutherland is quite a clear writer. I hope his opinion spreads and is widely accepted. Without his clarifications the 14th could seriously weaken our national sovereignty.

Anonymous said...






Illegals, using forged, and/or stolen identities, have illegally obtained up to 8.7 million jobs; these are jobs that Americans will do, jobs in food processing, jobs in manufacturing; these are jobs that rightfully belonged to American workers in the first place.


THE ALL-AMERICAN STIMULUS PLAN WILL SAVE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS 300 BILLION DOLLARS EACH, AND EVERY, YEAR (the estimated annual cost of illegal immigrants to American taxpayers)!!!






#1. Make Illegal Entry a Felony Permanently Barring Citizenship
#2. Secure Our Borders with our National Guard!!!
#3. Mandate E-Verify for ALL Employees!!!
#4. Cut Off ALL Public Assistance to Illegals and Their Children!!!
#5. Stop the Underground Economy!!!
#6. End Birthright Citizenship for Illegals!!!
#7. End Chain Migration!!!
#8. Make English our Official Language!!!
#9. Cut Off Federal Funds to Sanctuary Cities!!



Anonymous said...

Re: sensible, limited immigration--what do you think of the eb5 visa program ($1 million in investment or $500k in a blighted area for legal residency to be granted, plus the creation of 12+ US jobs)

The only issue I have with this comment is that the area does in no way have to be blighted. Other than that, your figures are accurate.

Audacious Epigone said...


I'm a big fan of the EB-5 visa program. I've written about it previously here.