Critics of Arizona's tough new immigration law, which makes illegal immigration a state crime, have called supporters of the bill "racist," "mean-spirited" and "un-American." Here's the newsflash: The measure is also good politics, not only in Arizona, but nationally.
Usually after a measure like this has passed, the news media respond with stories about how the measure will hurt the GOP among Latino voters. This time, not so much.
A New York Times/CBS poll found that 51 percent of Americans see the Arizona law as "about right" and 9 percent said it does not go far enough; 36 percent said it went too far. Note the poll didn't ask a phony amorphous question, like whether voters support "immigration reform" -- the usual fodder that provides the rationale for said stories.
President Obama called the Arizona law "misguided" and said he favors "common-sense comprehensive immigration reform." It's all lip service. Obama reneged on his 2008 campaign pledge to push immigration reform -- with a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens -- during his first year in office because, well, it's political poison.
At a Cinco de Mayo event last week, Obama had a new promise -- "to begin work this year" on an immigration bill. In Spanish, that translates into: Adios, amigos.
Of course, not all Latino voters want to relax immigration laws, but to the extent that they do, they have guaranteed that the Democratic Party will take their votes for granted.
Meanwhile, why should Republicans stick their necks out for a demographic that abandoned John McCain in the 2008 presidential election? He risked his political ambitions by pushing for a federal bill with a pathway to citizenship in 2007 and then, according to an Edison/Mitofsky exit poll, McCain won a lousy 31 percent of the Latino vote -- down from George W. Bush's 44 percent in the 2004 presidential contest.
Obama helped kill that bill, and he won 67 percent of the demographic. When it's in their interests, Democrats ditch their pro-illegal immigration corner. In 2003, the Democratic California Legislature passed a bill to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Voters revolted and recalled Gov. Gray Davis, who signed the measure. In a craven act of cowardice, the Legislature quickly voted to rescind the bill it had passed.