The Republican party has always been a big tent who welcomes all, even the “log cabin” type. The three center poles of the tent are the pillars of Conservatism and each of them is touched by illegal immigration policy. Without fiscal, social, and national security conservatives working together the tent will collapse and yield millions draped in the canvas trying to find an exit, any exit.
Conservatism stands for many things. Some conservatives like to own guns, most believe in the rule of law, some don’t like a large federal government, many don’t like taxes, a few don’t get along with unions, most think entitlements are stupid, many believe abortionists are murderers, all believe that anyone who attacks our country should meet God sooner rather than later. Of course, most candidates were not always on the right side of all issues prior to courting us, but luckily for the candidates conservatives don’t care where a candidate has been, we care about where they are now and will promise to be in the future. The parties icon, Ronald Reagan, signed a bill legalizing abortion as governor of California. He said he regretted it, it was wrong, and he shouldn’t have done it. That’s cool. We elected him.
Mitt Romney and John McCain both understand the short memory of the conservative electorate.
Mitt Romney was pro-death 15 years ago, now he is pro-life. That’s cool. He has seen his evil ways and has been converted to our ideals.
John McCain has had to kowtow a bit more to the conservative base. He has flip-flopped on 4 main issues. 1) McCain opposed giving folks a tax cut, but he has now repented and is now in favor of an extension of the very tax cuts he and Hillary opposed. That’s cool. 2) Just this year, according to Bob Novak, McCain stated a dislike for Justice Samuel Alito because he wore his conservatism on his sleeve. McCain was also not supportive of the Republicans constitutional option to get nominated judges an up or down vote. However, McCain now says he doesn’t recall the Alito thing (maybe he is more like Reagan than we think!) but swears he would appoint justices like Alito and Roberts. That’s cool. 3) McCain left his first wife after admittedly cheating on her (Reaganesque?), but he now has a beautiful young wife and swears that his moral compass has been straightened by Miss Budweiser. That’s cool. 4) McCain was for granting amnesty to all illegals, with the exception of criminals. He now claims that he is for building a wall. That’s not cool and here is where he loses the conservative base as was apparent at CPAC today. Does he think we are stupid? Building a wall doesn’t tell us what he is going to do the the 12 million criminals that are already here! Had McCain simply stated “I messed up with McCain-Kennedy, Sorry. I realize now what a foolish precedent that would have set. I promise to build a wall in the first 6 months of my presidency and not let folks who break our laws have a head start on the immigration process. They need to get in line like everyone else.” Boom. Those magic words would have appeased nearly all immigration conservatives and immigration conservatives are found in all the ridge poles.
Many conservatives will simply not vote in November if there isn’t an immigration conservative on the ballot. However, until McCain flips on the immigration issue, he will be a flop with the immigration conservatives. Maybe he thinks the Hispanic vote will more than make up for it . . . doubt it. Immigration conservatives really don’t care where McCain’s been, we care about where he is now on immigration. Simply come out and tell us what your intentions are and we will decide whether to vote for you . . .