"Excellent advice" for Republicans

That’s how Hugh Hewitt characterizes the latest pro-amnesty column from consummate Beltway Boy Fred Barnes.

Before I get to the actual advice, it’s worth noting that Hewitt was for amnesty before he was against it. Perhaps he’s edging toward being for it again?


To the advice, from Fred Beetle Barnes.

It’s not particularly visible at the moment, but there is a road to political recovery for Republicans. Chances are they won’t get far enough down it to recapture the House or Senate or even hold the White House in 2008. But they might.

Three things have to happen for Republicans to recover–in effect, a political hat trick. Events must work in their favor, notably in Iraq. Democrats must screw up badly. And Republicans must change their ways, in a compelling fashion. This last requirement may be the toughest.

We must change our ways, by which he means our rhetoric and our basic support for law and order.

The recipe for Republicans is to stop acting like, well, Republicans–that is, Republicans of recent vintage. In Congress, they’ve been soft on earmarks, the source of so much corruption. They practically invited Democrats to trump them on ethics and lobbying reform. And they’ve allowed their obsession with illegal immigrants to get out of hand. This drives away Hispanic voters and leaves the impression that Republicans are small-minded, ungenerous and nasty. The worst offenders are the presidential candidates, who would be wise to tone down their rhetoric on immigration.

Credit where it’s due first: He’s right on earmarks. But he’s wrong on illegal immigration (and his “obesssion” formulation is part of a pattern). The small-minded, ungenerous and nasty Republicans are those who call their fellow Republicans “nativists,” accuse us of wanting to execute illegal aliens or say that we don’t want what’s best for America for wanting to secure the border. The small-minded, ungenerous and nasty Republicans are those who can’t be bothered to care about the Mexican drug war that’s spilling over into border towns like Laredo, TX and across the property of American citizens whose government won’t defend them. The small-minded, ungenerous and nasty Republicans are those who evidently care more about keeping the price of lettuce down than about keeping terrorists, drug traffickers and other criminals out of the country.


If there’s rhetoric to be toned down, and there is, it’s on the part of Beltway denizens like Fred Barnes who can’t see past their own opinions to the anarchic reality that they create and foster.

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