Meme: Graf, Hayworth losses = support for "comprehensive immigration reform"
As regular readers know, illegal immigration supporters will go to any depth to promote amnesty and similar schemes. One meme you can expect to hear over the coming months is that the recent losses by Randy Graf and J.D. Hayworth in Arizona mean that voters want "comprehensive immigration reform".
The quickest example of how that's wrong is presented by the fact that no less than four anti-illegal immigration propositions in Arizona passed by wide margins. And, in Graf's case he got shafted by the national GOP (whose contributors would have lost money if he'd won). He was also probably a bit too socially conservative for Tucson. In Hayworth's case, it may have been because he was seen as a rubberstamp for the Bush administration or similar factors. And, in both cases their opponents co-opted their positions to a certain extent.
This list will be updated:
1. Unsigned blog post from USA Today:
Tuesday's results suggest that any legislation seen more as anti-immigrant rather than anti-illegal immigration can easily backfire. This point was made in some individual races, even in border states. Randy Graf, a candidate for a seat held by a retiring House Republican in Arizona, was soundly defeated after running almost exclusively on a hard-line anti-immigrant platform... [... Bush can now get his amnesty...] ...Simply building a fence and threatening to deport illegal immigrants looks to be a political loser.
In several high-profile races where illegal immigration was a key issue, the anti-immigrant candidate lost big. In Arizona, the front line in the immigration wars, Republicans J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf lost handily to more moderate voices. Hayworth, a six-term congressman, once favored a guest worker program but flip-flopped when he sensed bashing immigrants was a surer ticket to re-election... Apparently voters in Arizona's 5th Congressional District wanted no part of Hayworth's proposed ban [a three-year moratorium on immigration from Mexico]... Graf, a former state representative and member of the extremist Minuteman Project, was even more off base. Graf supported calls to reinstate "Operation Wetback," a 1950s federal deportation program that not only rounded up thousands of illegal aliens but also ensnared some U.S. citizens of Mexican descent...
She can't even get her lies straight; it was Russell Pearce and not Graf who mentioned OW as a historical example of mass deportations. Obviously, those whose brains aren't clogged with cheap lettuce realize that any similar plan Pearce would come up with would try to avoid deporting U.S. citizens and would not be called by the same name as the previous program.
3. "Voters weren't on the fence about illegal immigration" by Michelle Mittelstadt lists Graf and Hayworth as supposed examples.
4. Los Angeles Times unsigned editorial "'No' to immigration hard-liners" hits the standard points without, of course, looking into other factors involved in the Graf/Hayworth losses:
...Critics of this approach ["comprehensive immigration reform"], including Republican candidates for governor, attorney general and two of Arizona's eight House seats, argued instead for sealing the borders and enforcing current immigration laws. They all were defeated, despite the frustration and anger expressed by many Arizonans about the torrent of border jumpers... Those emotions were evident in the overwhelming support Tuesday for ballot initiatives to deny bail, curtail subsidies for education and childcare, limit civil damage awards for illegal immigrants and make English the state's official language. Voters backed all these proposals, reflecting a widespread belief that illegal immigrants impose a variety of burdens on taxpayers... Nevertheless, voters in the state demanded a more nuanced and pragmatic solution than that being offered by the most virulently anti-illegal immigration candidates... The voters of Arizona have pushed a comprehensive solution one step closer to reality.
...The clearest repudiation of the loud right came on the issue of immigration. By a margin of 57 percent to 38 percent [in unnamed exit polls], voters said they wanted illegal immigrants who work in the U.S. to be allowed a chance to apply for legal status and not be deported... Voters in Arizona rejected two of the nation's most vociferous immigration restrictionists, Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) and Minuteman founder Randy Graf (R)... House Republicans massively bought into the talk-show claque's agenda by rejecting Bush's Latino-friendly proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, and they’ve suffered important damage as a result... Bush managed to capture 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004, according to disputed exit polls, but this year Hispanics went Democratic by a margin of 72 percent to 27 percent, 10 points higher than in 2002... If Republicans and Democrats are looking for an issue around which to demonstrate they can unify and accomplish something, they could use the lame-duck session of Congress to pass the comprehensive Senate immigration bill...
Already the wails of the immigration restrictionists are rising, insisting Republicans lost because they weren't tough on keeping illegal border-crossers out. Not true. The test was in Arizona, where two of the noisiest border hawks, Representatives J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf, lost House seats. Graf lost in a seat along the Mexican border, where illegal immigrants flock... What Americans want is a full-blown solution to the immigration crisis. And that will come only when Republicans come together on a "comprehensive" measure that not only secures the border but also provides a way for illegals in the United States to work their way to citizenship and establishes a temporary worker program. If Republicans don't grab this issue, Democrats will.
7. David Brooks only has so many words to work with, and some of them are misleading and at least one is a lie ("The Middle Muscles In"):
...It was a terrible day for anti-immigration restrictionists on the right of the G.O.P., like J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf in Arizona...
Neither are "anti-immigration", and like the others he doesn't go into the other possible reasons. And, he also says that Arnold Schwarzenegger is "independent".
8. From this:
...[Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)] said there are a number of House Republicans who thought their enforcement approach was bad policy but good politics. He said that belief was shattered by Tuesday's elections with the loss of two Republicans in Arizona -- Randy Graf, a candidate for a seat near Tucson, and Rep. J.D. Hayworth, an incumbent from Scottsdale -- who both ran heavily on opposition to a guest-worker program...
9. Frank Sharry of the National Immigration Forum offers "Immigration Reform Surprise: Hard-Liners Lost, Pragmatists Won". While he does present a fairly long list of "hard-liners" who lost, he gives it all away with this statement:
So much for the conventional wisdom that supporting comprehensive reform would turn out to be a loser and that being a hard-line hawk would be a winner.
No one really ran explicitly on "comprehensive reform". They ran on tightening the border, with the "comprehensive" in fine print. And, no one who ran a "comprehensive" campaign revealed to the voters what their plans would actually end up doing.