Quotes of the day

Republicans are really endangering their chances of making big gains in the Senate this year by continuing to nominate far, far right candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul.

In March we found that 9% of voters in the country disapproved of Barack Obama but also thought that Congressional Republicans were too conservative. At that point those folks were planning to cast almost a bloc vote for the GOP in this fall’s elections, 78-11 on the generic ballot. If the GOP was nominating moderate or even just nominally conservative candidates those folks would surely stay in the party fold. But they’re really putting those voters up for grabs and letting Democrats back into some of these races by nominating the most far right candidates possible.

“There are some Republicans out there that I respect, that are very, very bright, that root against us getting the majority,” McCarthy said at a recent lunch with reporters. “They believe it’s a two-cycle election. They believe they may get the White House. They think if we got the majority somehow it protects Obama.”…

If the GOP came to power and was unable or unwilling to make the reforms on spending and reducing the deficit and debt demanded by an increasingly restless constituency, it could create a backlash in 2012.

The strongest negative reaction would likely come from the Tea Party. Leaders in that movement are ambivalent about whether or not Republicans regain the House back or not.

What we know for certain, item one: Ronald Reagan was no kind of nativist. In a 1977 radio talk, for instance, Reagan dismissed “the illegal alien fuss,” arguing that we need immigrant labor. “One thing is certain in this hungry world,” he said. “No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”…

What item one tells us, I believe, is that Reagan would have inclined toward reforms like those President George W. Bush proposed in 2006. Under these proposals, illegal immigrants who wished to remain in this country permanently would have received a long but explicit path to citizenship. Those who wished instead to return eventually to their countries of origin would have received the right to register as guest workers. Virtually all illegal immigrants would thus have been dealt with generously. Reagan would have found such a resolution satisfying…

A nation of immigrants, Reagan would have insisted in any advertisement in which he appeared, America must continue to welcome all who enter the country legally. Calming rather than inflaming opinion, he would have noted that last year the Border Patrol reported the lowest number of apprehensions on the southern border in three decades. And he would have argued that, even as we complete the fence, we should work with Mexico to achieve prosperity for both countries—and look to the day when we could take the fence back down. Reagan might even have discussed his private 1979 meeting with the president of Mexico. As he explained in a letter to a journalist later that year, Reagan requested the meeting “to ask . . . how we could make the border something other than a locale for a . . . fence.”

As for Sheriff Paul Babeu, Reagan would have kept him off camera. “Senator,” the sheriff says to Sen. McCain at the end of his advertisement, “you’re one of us.” One white man to another white man—speaking the very words most likely to alienate every Hispanic voter who hears them? Not in any advertisement in which Reagan would have appeared. He might have acquiesced, grudgingly, in completing the danged fence. But Ronald Reagan was no danged fool.