Every Democrat running for president thinks anti-illegal immigration activists are all racists and xenophobes. Do we really need a Republican nominee for president who thinks the same way?
Breakout GOP candidate Mike Huckabee, the soft-on-border control former governor of Arkansas, scored a jaw-dropping endorsement Tuesday from Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project. Despite a long gubernatorial record opposing employer sanctions and pushing tax-subsidized illegal alien education benefits, Huckabee won Gilchrist's support by unveiling a last-minute, tough-sounding homeland security plan.
Trouble is, Huckabee has downright and longstanding contempt for his new bedfellows of convenience.
Just two years ago, Huckabee appeared before the open-borders Hispanic group, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), preaching an open-door policy. According to the Arkansas News Bureau, Huckabee also criticized state legislation requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote and enhanced reporting of illegal aliens as un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life -- not to mention "inflammatory," "race-baiting" and "demagoguery."
Just last year, Huckabee lambasted opponents of the bipartisan shamnesty bill providing a mass pardon to illegal aliens as "driven by racism or nativism." He called strict immigration enforcement -- the kind he now supports -- "sheer folly" in his campaign-timed book released earlier this year. He actively invited the Mexican government to establish a consulate in Arkansas -- giving its office a $1 per year special office space rate -- so that its foreign officials could start dispensing security-undermining matricula consular ID cards to illegal aliens for banking and employment purposes. And he's not only for government in-state illegal alien discounts, he's for expanding them far beyond what the federal DREAM Act proposed.
But now that he needs to establish his border control bona fides, Huckabee is all honey. "Frankly, Jim," he said to the Minuteman Project founder at a press conference in Iowa on Tuesday, "I've got to tell you there were times in the early days of the Minutemen I thought, 'What are these guys doing, what are they about?' I confess I owe you an apology."
It's Gilchrist and those who allow themselves to be snowed by Huckabee's cynical conversion who'll be sorry and deep in apology debt, I guarantee you. Huckabee showed his true colors at the Univision Spanish-language debate over the weekend when he pandered to the crowd by lamenting "racial profiling" of immigrants -- while remaining silent about catch-and-release policies that fail to detain criminal aliens who go on to commit more heinous crimes because politically correct politicians and police chiefs are more concerned with being accused of "racial profiling" than protecting the public.
Huckabee isn't the only shameless border control cross-dresser in the GOP field, of course. Rudy "I supported sanctuary policies before I was against them, but my sanctuary policy wasn't really a sanctuary policy, anyway" Giuliani now quotes "the advice of a great man, Father Hesburgh, who said, 'We must close the back door of illegal immigration in order to preserve the front door of legal immigration.'" In an interview with Washington Examiner reporter and author Bill Sammon, Giuliani now says he really, truly would have deported 400,000 illegal aliens in New York if he could have. Never mind that small matter of the lawsuit he brought against the feds to block them from enforcing immigration laws. Never mind that he was openly inviting illegal aliens into his open-borders safe harbors.
Reports Sammon: "Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens," the mayor said at a 1994 press conference. "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being like a fugitive, which is really unfair."
Bringing up the false convert rear is Sen. John McCain. Earlier this year, he was the most vocal critic of grass-roots conservatives who mobilized against the amnesty bill. He now says he has learned his lesson and supports securing the border. He has learned nothing. During the shamnesty debacle, he called Rush Limbaugh a "nativist"; over the weekend, he repeated such contemptuous "straight talk" at the Univision debate by assailing what he called anti-Hispanic rhetoric. In an interview with the New Yorker, he irritatedly dismissed immigration concerns in Iowa as marginal and irrational -- just a bunch of "senior citizens" in Iowa caught up in the "emotion" of a cultural assault.
Bad enough that the Democrat candidates are still stuck in a 9/10 mentality on the nexus between immigration and national security. The question for conservatives is: Would a Republican immigration drag queen be any better -- or worse?