The immigration issue continues to plague Republican candidates. Under the strain, Mitt Romney recently did what he does best in times of trouble: he flip-flopped:
"I don't think there should be a special pathway to citizenship for those that are here illegally," he said. "It makes no sense at all to have a border which is basically concrete against skill and education but wide open to people to just walk on in who have neither."Bolded text = LOL.
That position sets the former Massachusetts governor apart from a major rival, Arizona Senator John McCain, as well as President George W. Bush, both of whom back a guest-worker plan that gives undocumented workers the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. It also sets him apart from some of his own former positions.
Romney's decision to shift his stand demonstrates how a big issue sometimes boils up from the voters, forcing candidates to adjust their messages. "For Republicans it's immigration; for Democrats it's trade," Illinois Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record) said March 28 at the American Society of Newspaper Editors meeting in Washington. "Both issues reflect the unease Americans feel about the effects of globalization."Good to see Rahm acknowledging the need for the Dems to account for their constituents' concerns on trade. And if Romney needs to change his tune on immigration, so be it. But - and I say this without actually looking at polling data, so I could be off base - it seems to me to be a case of two very different situations. Republicans are being pushed by their base to take a stance on immigration that will actually harm them electorally, while the Democratic base is pushing the party toward a more popular trade policy than the one they had previously embraced.