alien & sedition.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
  Republicans in Disarray, Redux

This banner ad is at the top of NRO today:

Over at the Stop Martinez site, the battle cry is: "Mel Martinez is Spanish for Harriet Miers." In other words, the anti-Martinez movement is presenting itself as a grassroots conservative revolt against a Beltway-supported RINO - but this time it's all about immigration.

RNC member Denise McNamara puts it this way:
Why, you may ask, are the grassroots conservative base of the Texas Republican Party so adamantly opposed to Senator Martinez’ nomination? One word: Amnesty. [...]

Opponents of Senator Martinez have other objections, including the fact that he is a sitting Senator. How are we going to win the ’08 election with a part-time RNC Chairman? The arrangement will be that he is the “General Chairman,” and the day-to-day Chairman, Mike Duncan, will handle the RNC operations. With Hillary looming on the horizon, now is not the time to outsource the chairmanship of the RNC.

But the primary objection to Martinez is that he authored the Hagel-Martinez Immigration Reform Bill in the U.S. Senate in 2006. [emphasis mine]
The site quotes Steve Sailer, of the racist website, in a half-hearted attempt to show that the election of an Hispanic-American as RNC Chair would do nothing to improve the GOP's performance among Latino voters. They don't really pursue the point, though, and one gets the clear impression that they really don't care about - or even want - Latino votes.

This is a revolt by the viciously anti-immigrant wing of the Republican party that was soundly defeated at the polls last November. They seem well-organized, but they'll have little actual impact. From the Miami Herald:
Martinez's supporters -- and even some critics -- say the opposition is unlikely to derail his election.

Several states are opposed, ''but I don't think it's going to be significant,'' said RNC member Randy Pullen, who is running for chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and plans to vote against Martinez. ``I like Senator Martinez . . . I just wish from our perspective along the border that his position on immigration was different.''

Republican Party of Florida chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan, who has campaigned on Martinez's behalf, said she expects the dissenters to be vastly outnumbered.

''You get this, maybe a half dozen people out of hundreds of votes, and it's fine, it's freedom of speech,'' Jordan said.
Still, it's a real sign of the deep and still-active faultline over immigration in the GOP. As with the Christian right, Republican leaders find themselves faced with a vocal and organized segment of the party base, whose demands could be politically disastrous for Republicans when the general elections roll around.

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