Late to this, but last night Charles Krauthammer came down on the side of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
"Hispanics [are] not an intrinsic, ethnic-affinity problem, it's a policy problem." Krauthammer said on Fox News. "I think Republicans can change their position, be a lot more open to actual amnesty with enforcement -- amnesty, everything short of citizenship -- and to make a bold change in their policy. Enforcement, and then immediately after a guarantee of amnesty. That would completely change anything. If you had a Rubio arguing that, it would completely upend all ethnic alignments."
Krauthammer did not go as far as Sean Hannity, who today said he has “evolved” on immigration and now supports a “pathway to citizenship.” But between the two it marks a very significant shift in thinking among leading conservative thinkers. Increasingly, the party is coming to terms with the fact that it needs the Latino vote in order to win office.
The Republican Brain Trust is so atrophied that Charles Krauthammer is being outthunk by Sean Hannity.
We've been through this over and over again during the last twelve years, but only evil people remember the past.
Every time the GOP establishment got excited over amnesty as a symbolic way to announce "Message: We Love You" to Hispanic current voters, it eventually dawns upon them they don't actually want illegal aliens to become voters, since they would vote overwhelmingly against Republicans. So, Republicans, as Krauthammer is doing here, then attempt to finesse the issue with this exciting compromise: "Message: We Love Hispanics Who Are Current Voters, so We Want Hispanic Illegal Aliens to Be Legal Helots, But Not Citizens, No, Horrors, Never That!"
In 2001, Bush's first of four failed "comprehensive immigration reform" efforts had collapsed in Congress in the week before 9/11 in large part because of the dismay of Congressional Republicans over its impact on their long-term electoral prospects. Bush's second plan, announced in January 2004, was therefore more cynical: legalized helotry without voting rights. Yet, as I pointed out on February 1, 2004:
But Bush's new Machiavellianism automatically cedes the rhetorical high ground to the Democrats, who are already pushing for "earned legalization" (i.e., giving illegals the vote). Bush is left contradictorily sputtering about how wonderful immigrants are and how we don't want them to become our fellow citizens. ...
It's important to note that illegal immigration is highly popular among Hispanic leaders and activists because their careers soar as the number of Hispanics rises. But Latino voters as a whole have rationally mixed feelings about it. They suffer the most direct consequences of lower wages and lousier schools.
Among Hispanics who are registered voters (and thus are not illegal immigrants), interest in Bush's immigration plan was strikingly low. Two weeks after Bush's speech, a plurality of Hispanic registered voters (41 percent) either hadn't heard of the proposal or had no opinion of it, followed by 35 percent who supported it and 24 percent who opposed it.
Worse, when given more information on the plan—such as that it required guest workers to go home i.e., be deported— a plurality disapproved (47-42).
Among all Hispanics, the Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus' "earn citizenship" plan was favored over Bush's "temporary legal status" plan by a crushing 75-16 margin.
... The Irvine pollsters summed up:
"Bush's approval rating among Latinos and the percentage of Latinos intending to cast votes for him in 2004 did not show improvement over figures from recent national surveys completed before the immigration proposal was announced."