Brendan Miniter has outdone himself, recycling the Pete Wilson myth, smearing law-supporting Republicans as “nativists” and making hash of why Gray Davis finally fell. It’s a sight to behold and you really ought to savor the whole thing. It made the boss pop a vein. In the interests of fair use, I’ll just pull out and destroy a few highlights.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Republican who did so much to bring this issue to a boil in the U.S. Congress, may yet see his nativist ideas enacted into law, albeit piecemeal and state by state.

“Nativist.” And with that, the first smearbomb is deployed. Does it do any good to point out that it’s not the pro-enforcement people, but the open borders people, who are puposely confusing legal and illegal immigration–which ends up hurting all immigrants? Does it do any good to point out that some of the “nativists” like…well, me, for instance…are not only not against legal immigration but are married to legal immigrants and do not take kindly to people who lump in the law-abiding immigrants with the brazen, reconquista law-breaking ones? Does it do any good to point out that “nativist” is a smear reflective of 9-10 thinking, and that the border is first and foremost a national security issue, and that the open borders position endangers us all?

No, it won’t do a bit of good. But I’ll point it all out anyway, in the interests of accuracy. It’s the open borders people who are, at the end of the day, hurting legal immigrants and smearing their political opponents on this issue, all the while leaving the door open to those who wish us harm. Childish name-calling doesn’t change any of that.

Moving on. Miniter gets in a couple more “nativist” digs against GOP pols who support enforcing immigration law, then shoehorns immigration into a couple of races where the plain facts stand in opposition to Miniter’s opinions.

Not long after Gov. Pete Wilson pushed through an initiative in 1994 to deny illegal aliens government benefits, the GOP lost control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. By the end of the 1990s, not a single state-wide elected office was held by a Republican. The party’s fortunes turned around only when Democrat Gov. Gray Davis steered the state into near fiscal ruin and was recalled from office.

This is an “only cause” fallacy of the highest order. Wilson lost for all sorts of reasons, mostly having to do with the state’s voters themselves moving left. Davis lost for two primary reasons: the state’s fiscal health and his last-gasp gambit to grant illegals drivers licences. Remember that, Mr. Miniter? The Governator picked up steam against Davis when he promised that if he won, he would undo Davis’ gift to lawbreakers. And we all know how that turned out, don’t we.

In Virginia, Jerry Kilgore, who stepped down to run for governor last year, wasn’t even fortunate enough to win a Pyrrhic victory. The Republican ran on an anti-illegal immigrant platform and was trounced by a liberal Democrat in a state that George W. Bush won by eight points in 2004.

Again, the WSJ goes simple-minded where immigration is concerned. If running against illegal immigration is such a loser in Virginia, then please explain what happened in Herndon, VA:

Herndon voters yesterday unseated the mayor and two Town Council members who supported a bitterly debated day-labor center for immigrant workers in a contest that emerged as a mini-referendum on the turbulent national issue of illegal immigration.

Residents replaced the incumbents with challengers who immediately called for significant changes at the center. Some want to bar public funds from being spent on the facility or restrict it to workers living in the country legally. Others want it moved to an industrial site away from the residential neighborhood where it is located.

The Post does its usual number, confusing illegals with legal immigrants or just refusing to label one from another, but you get the idea: Pols lost on a single issue, and that issue was illegal immigration, and they lost for supporting a day labor center for illegal immigrants. Miniter would do well to spend a few lines spinning out of that.

As for Kilgore, Mr. Miniter should really do a bit of research. Kilgore didn’t lose because he was clearly against illegal immigration. He lost because he muddled so many other issues dear to conservatives and therefore didn’t motivate them to vote for him. Human Events captured some of the conservative discontent at the time:

While Kilgore repeatedly said he opposed any new taxes, he refused to sign the pledge of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform that puts in writing a vow never to raise present taxes or support new ones. According to ATR chief of staff Chris Butler, “Grover and the rest of us repeatedly urged Mr. Kilgore to sign the pledge, but he wouldn’t do it.

Similarly, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America said: “Kilgore’s attitude toward gunowners is typical of a lot of Republicansthey like having us at the dance, but feel we’re too ugly to dance with.” While voicing support for the 2nd Amendment and for measures favored by gun owners such as conceal-andcarry legislation, Kilgore, according to Pratt, “refused to fill out our questionnaire.”

Tellingly, Republicans won two of the three statewide races in Virginia that year. Kilgore, the only Republican of the three to mix up his messages and repeatedly dis the base, lost.

Over to you, WSJ.