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.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:
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.
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:
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.