Latinos are patriots, too. They don't like their country's laws trampled on with impunity or their tax dollars going to support scofflaws, no matter their nationality.
Why did Graf lose? Jim Kolbe, the GOP congressman whom Graf chased out of the race, refused to endorse him, and Mehlman's RNC gutted him in the primary.
The neocons also point to the fall-off in the Hispanic vote for the GOP, from 38 percent in 2002 to 30 percent in 2006, and attribute the drop-off to calls for a border fence. Yet far more serious was the fall-off among white voters, whose support, as Steve Sailer of VDare.com points out, fell from 58 percent in 2002 to 51 percent.
The relevant truth: The GOP vote fell 7 or 8 percent among all voters. But the seven-point plunge among white voters is more ominous than the eight-point drop among Hispanics. Why?
Because the white vote in America, 80 percent of the electorate, is 13 times as large as the Hispanic vote, which accounts for only 6 percent of all voters. It is the defection of its white vote that is killing the GOP.
The Reagan Democrats are going home.
If Bush and Rove think they can win them back with amnesty and a guest-worker program that out-sources immigration policy to K Street, they will end up doing for the national party what Gov. George Pataki did for it in New York.
Had Bush made border security and less immigration a dividing issue with the Democrats, fewer GOP lawmakers would be working on their resumes.
That Democrats are more aware of this than Rove is apparent, as one reads the astonishing story in The Washington Post headlined, "Democrats May Proceed With Caution on Immigration: Explosive Issue Not a Top Priority for Incoming Leaders."
The reporters summarized Democratic thinking thus:
"In the days after the election, Democratic leaders surprised pro-immigration groups by not including the issue on their list of immediate priorities. Experts said the issue is so complicated, so sensitive and so explosive that it could easily blow up in the Democrats' faces and give control of Congress back to Republicans in the next election two years from now. And a number of Democrats who took a hard line on immigration were also elected to Congress."
After being named RNC chair, Mehlman headed straight to the NAACP convention -- to apologize for the Nixon-Reagan strategy that gave the GOP the presidency in five of six straight elections.
And how has all that pandering availed Mehlman and Rove and George W. Bush?