alien & sedition.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
  Huckabee Would Abolish Birthright Citizenship

Cross-posted at The Right's Field.

Soren Dayton observes that Mike Huckabee seems to have flip-flopped on immigration. Whereas at one time Huckabee endorsed comprehensive immigration reform and said that opposition to such reform was "driven by just sheer racism," now he has indicated that he would abolish a core American principle: birthright citizenship:
" ‘I would support changing that. I think there is reason to revisit that, just because a person, through sheer chance of geography, happened to be physically here at the point of birth, doesn’t necessarily constitute citizenship,’ he said. ‘I think that’s a very reasonable thing to do, to revisit that.’ "
This is a naked appeal to the sheer racism of the kind of people who rant about "anchor babies," and while Huckabee may see an immediate political advantage in it -- as Dayton notes, it's just the kind of thing that'll help him pull in the Paul/Tancredo crowd -- it undermines his core utility to the GOP.

The reason I've long considered Huckabee so dangerous to Democrats, besides his personal charm and speaking skills, is that his politics represent the best chance for Republicans to rebuild an enduring majority coalition. As a Baptist minister who speaks the social justice language of the emerging constituency of liberal and moderate evangelicals, he's in a position to secure and expand the evangelical vote for Republicans just when the party is in danger of losing its advantage there. And his "Main Street over Wall Street" rhetoric, combined with his defense of government and his willingness to talk (somewhat) honestly about taxes (FairTax aside), is perfectly in tune with the American mainstream, who remain uninterested in the fiscal conservative orthodoxy to which most Republican candidates feel they have to chain themselves. If Barack Obama is trying to run to the center and move it left, Mike Huckabee is trying to run to the center and move it right.

But if Huckabee is going to violate his own religious beliefs and sell himself out to the nativist crowd, he risks surrendering all these advantages. Anti-immigrationism, as intoxicating as Republicans find it, is the route to a long-term GOP minority, not a majority. Maybe Huckabee is eager to consolidate whatever gains he achieved in Ames by going after cheap support. But that support will come at a dear long-term cost for Huckabee and his party.

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