NYT: GOP Endangered by Being on Winning Side of Immigration Issue
May 22, 2010, 06:21 PM
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The New York Times is deeply, truly concerned that their precious GOP might be damaged by having a popular issue on its hands:

Immigration Law in Arizona Reveals G.O.P. Divisions
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

LOS ANGELES — Republican lawmakers and candidates are increasingly divided over illegal immigration — torn between the need to attract Latino support, especially at the ballot box, and rallying party members who support tougher action.

Fortunately, Bush apparatchiks are available to offer their time-tested wisdom to Republicans:

“I think we need to be very careful about immigration,” said Karl Rove, the former adviser to President George W. Bush. “I applaud Arizona for taking action, but I think the rhetoric on all sides ought to be lowered.”

Mr. Rove and other strategists who worked for Mr. Bush were proponents of an immigration overhaul that included a path to legal status. ...

“The kindling has been lit in the states,” said Matthew Dowd, a political consultant from Texas who was the chief strategist for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign. ...

But the divisions appear more acute among Republicans, some of whom fear that the party will become identified with punitive immigration laws at a time when Hispanics are a growing part of the electorate — particularly in emergent battleground states like Colorado and Nevada.

“I am a grandson of an Irish immigrant,” Mr. McDonnell of Virginia said in an e-mail message. “The Hispanic population in this country contributes to our culture, economic prosperity and quality of life.”

Republicans who are not facing primary challenges are far more likely to take a more moderate view of immigration, and many, particularly in border states, are aware that business groups that depend on illegal immigrants for labor support a comprehensive immigration overhaul....

“It is really how you ask the question,” said Sarah Taylor, who was Mr. Bush’s political affairs director. “And it is tied up in people’s feelings about their own family’s immigration experience, and then you have elements of race.” ...

“People like Perry and McDonnell and others realize this is a very divisive issue for our party,” said Linda Chavez, the Republican chairwoman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative research organization, referring to the governors of Texas and Virginia. “The fact is, you can’t secure the borders if you don’t fix immigration, because the two go hand in hand.”

How come Tamar Jacoby isn`t quoted in this article? Did she forget to recharge her cellphone?