Mitt Romney is the Establishment candidate with the best chance of getting the GOP nomination who has also been most favorable to patriotic immigration reform.
According to the market at Intrade.com, that chance was between 21.0% and 21.09% as of August 9, 2007, as opposed to a probability of 35.0% to 35.4% for Rudy Giuliani and 27.5% to 29.8% for Fred Thompson (if he declares).
(Gratifyingly, the immigration issue has imploded John McCain's candidacy: he's at 6 %.)
I was recently reading about Romney's net worth of between $190 million and $250 million. I wondered how he used this wealth politically.
I found the information courtesy of Open Secrets and Americans for Better Immigration. I took all donations from Mitt and his wife—and threw out those candidates for whom I couldn't find a voting record.
|2/28/1995||$1,000||Dole, Bob||A-||No Action|
|11/2/1999||$1,000||Hatch, Orrin G||C+||C|
|10/28/1998||$1,000||Torkildsen, Peter G||C-||C|
|10/16/1996||$1,000||Blute, Peter I||C-||C|
|8/21/1996||$1,000||Torkildsen, Peter G||C-||C|
|8/23/1996||$1,000||Torkildsen, Peter G||C-||C|
|5/26/1998||$1,000||Kasich, John R||A+||A+|
|12/19/1995||$1,000||Dole, Bob||A-||No Action|
|12/10/1993||$500||Torkildsen, Peter G||C-||C|
|1/19/1995||$275||Torkildsen, Peter G||C-||C|
Romney's pattern of donations suggests that he may indeed have been slightly more restrictive on immigration than the average congresscritter. His GPA on overall immigration, based on a weighted average of his donations, is 2.28. The congressional average is 2.0.
But that isn't saying much. Strychnine may kill more slowly than cyanide—but ingesting either will kill you quite effectively.
And Romney's record on H-1b indentured guest worker visa expansion appears looser than average, judging by his donations—with an academic probation GPA of 1.64.
Romney has developed the habit of talking tough about immigration. He must, to differentiate himself from McCain and Giuliani. However, I must disagree with Joe Guzzardi's judgment that Romney's record on immigration is "good". For example, Romney did very little to address seriously the problem of illegal employers while he was governor of Massachusetts.
While Romney has recently attacked Rudy Giuliani for being Mayor of a Sanctuary City, Boston was also a sanctuary city during his term as governor. It wasn't until near the end of his term, when he was already thinking about national office, that he signed an agreement with the federal government to allow thirty Massachusetts State Troopers to be trained in immigration enforcement.
What I see instead is someone who will seize on high profile aspects of the immigration issue—but still tries to appeal to both sides. It is as though Mitt, like his father before him, just isn't used to a situation where what he says will be looked at closely.
Is there really any reason to assume that that Romney will not support higher real levels of (legal) immigration, possibly through "guest worker" programs that allow fewer political rights and civil liberties for those allowed to immigrate, and greater overall concentration of wealth in America?
It seems that Europe leads Americans in this way of thinking. In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past. [Romney Reaches to the Christian Right |In a Conservative Crowd, Candidate Talks About Marriage, Child-Rearing By Perry Bacon Jr. Washington Post, May 6, 2007]
My emphasis. France does not, in fact, have term marriages.
And Romney, despite his recent contradictory statements, endorsed a massive amnesty of illegal aliens in 2006:
"I don't believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country," Romney said. "With these 11 million people, let's have them registered, know who they are. Those who've been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn't be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country. "Romney supports immigration program, but not granting 'amnesty'", By Evan Lehman, Lowell Sun, March 30, 2006
Remember, those immigration rights don't come for free. As I have argued before, American citizenship has a quantifiable value—which a loose immigration policy devalues, just a public company that issues additional stock can "dilute" the value of stock already issued. Romney has no plan on how to maintain the value of American citizenship—or handle the incentives for further illegal immigration his proposals create.
My take as a member of the VDARE.COM Progressive Caucus: It simply doesn't occur to Romney that those of enormous wealth are affected differently by immigration than working Americans. At least until very recently, his stance was in effect serving a wealthy elite, with which he identifies far more strongly than he identifies with America as a whole.
Romney is a man of considerable natural gifts born to enormous privilege. It is sad that he is so unfeeling towards the nation that gave him so much.
What I find especially difficult to deal with is his hypocrisy. Romney claims to be pro-family, but he promotes the concentration of wealth that makes affordable family formation less likely. It is simply revolting to see a man born to wealth and privilege promoting policies that will deny many poor people the chance to be part of a stable family. (And which, by the way, systematically increase the level of abortions in the country.)
I might cut Romney some slack if he were really looking at developing that pioneering aspect at the root of his Mormon (LDS) heritage. The heroic story of Mormonism was making the desert of Utah bloom. We live in an era where this could be done elsewhere—say developing the ocean deserts agriculturally, or developing space the way Princeton professor Gerard O'Neill proposed. But I don't see Romney taking America in that kind of direction.
I might cut him some slack if I didn't think he was bright enough to connect the dots.
I hope that rebellion cleans house.
Randall Burns [email him] holds a degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. He works in the information technology sector and is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. Burns has been active in furthering the introduction of immigration, trade, and tax realities into the progressive agenda. In 2004, he helped create the Kucinich campaign's position paper on H-1b/L-1 visas.