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Immigration Is Top Issue for GOP, Independent Voters

This doesn’t come as any surprise to me.

In a recent Associated Press-Pew Research Center poll, 17 percent of likely Republican voters in the New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary named illegal immigration as the one issue they want to hear candidates talk about, making it second only to Iraq. In Iowa, where caucuses kick of the presidential nominating season, immigration was the leading issue for 18 percent of Republicans, ahead of Iraq.

The figures are somewhat surprising in New Hampshire, a state of 1.3 million people with a small immigrant population and even smaller illegal one. There were 14,000 more foreign-born residents in the state last year than in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A report last year by the Pew Hispanic Center estimated the state is home to somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 illegal immigrants.

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said he has believed for a year or so that illegal immigration would be important in the GOP primary because it strikes so many chords.  There’s the economic argument: Illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Americans.  There’s the legal one: They’re breaking the law.  There’s the cultural argument:  They’re not assimilating into American culture.”

The surprise is that most INDEPENDENT primary voters are also expressing support for a more security-conscious immigration policy… and opposition to blanket amnesty of law-breakers.

A sizable majority — an average of 65 percent of voters in those three states [Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania] — said that they would vote for the candidate they agreed with on other issues but not on immigration. But an average of 22 percent said that illegal immigration could be a deal-breaker for them when it comes to voting for a candidate.

That would be a significant number in a close election.  Most interesting is that 27 percent of independents — the key swing voters who decide elections — say immigration could turn them away from a candidate, more than either Democrats or Republicans.

Democrat voters, on the other hand, are content to live in their made-up land of Bush Derangement Syndromeville and cast their votes from that warped perspective.

-Bruce (GayPatriot) 

“Go Away, You Little Gnat!”

In what must be the most ridiculous spectacle of the 2008 Presidential Campaign so far, Democrat candidate John Edwards actually had the cojones to admit that he personally called Pakistan’s President Musharraf in the hours following the Bhutto assassination last week.

I can only imagine the phone call went something like this….

Musharraf’s aide running into room:  “Sir, there is an urgent call from the United States!”

Pervez Musharraf:  “Is it President Bush?  Please bring the phone instantly!”

Aide:  “No, sir…. someone named John Edwards.”

Musharraf:  “John Edwards?   That guy who talks to dead people?”

Aide:  “No, he is a candidate for United States President.  Here is the phone.”

John Edwards:  “President Musharraf, I am so sorry to hear about the death of Benazir Bhutto.  Do you think her family needs any legal representation to sue the government or big corporations that obviously killed her?”

Musharraf:  “WHAT?!  That’s outrageous…. who do you think you are?”

Edwards:  “I mean no disrespect, it was just a reflexive reaction.  When I’m upset… I sue people.  I meant to say that I insist that Pakistan continues on its path to democratization with free and open elections.”

Musharraf:  “Why?  You didn’t support that path in Iraq.”

Edwards:  “Yeah, but that’s because I don’t really believe in it…. it just seemed like the right thing to say so I can tell people I called you today.”

Musharraf:  “Go away, you little gnat!”

Hopefully Iowa voters will leave John Edwards with the same message this week…

-Bruce (GayPatriot) 

Jack Goldsmith’s Book: Bush Criticism for Grownups

Among the many issues which have concerned me in the last month of 2007, a book I finished just before leaving on my trip, Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration, addressed two of them. I bought the book primarily because I thought it would help me explore the background of the administration’s policy on aggressive interrogation, what some have called, “torture.”

While the book did help familiarize myself with that issue, it also helped me find some answers to a question which has preoccupied me for the past two years, “When did W go wrong?” That is, I have been trying to figure out how the president squandered the mandate of his reelection in 2004, losingthe popular support he had enjoyed when he won reelection and in the months immediately after his second inauguration. As I read the book, it seems that while the president made numerous mistakes in the first year of his second term, the root of many of his biggest mistakes lay in his first term of office, in the months immediately after 9/11.

It might well be counterproductive (at this point) to focus on those reasons in a post on Goldsmith’s book for that post might get sidetracked from the issues the former Assistant Attorney General addresses in this reflection on his turn in office. But, I should now that as I read the book and considered some of this distinguished lawyer’s criticisms, I began better able to consolidate some of my thoughts on this question, that is, Goldsmith’s observations corresponded with some of my own. And he was much closer to the key players than I could ever be, encountering them directly rather than experiencing them as did I filtered through the news media and blogosphere.

I will attempt do at least two (additional) posts on his criticisms, one inspired by the book, addressing the question I had asked and the other reflecting on the book, one of the best pieces of Bush criticism I have read in recent days, quite possibly the best I have read in book form.

Unlike the great majority of Bush critics, Jack Goldsmith takes the time to understand the arguments of those he criticizes, the president and his closest advisors, to understand their motives and to consider them in as a favorable light as possible. He does not see them as diabolical agents, acting out of their greed, other malicious motives or to promote power for its own sake, but out of concern for the national interest. And in criticizing them, he does not do so to vent his own spleen, to exorcize his own demons or demonize his ideological adversaries (well, in his case, his ideological allies with different interpretations on furthering executive authority in the War on Terror), but to show why they (that is, those whom he is criticizing) have not promoted the national interest as best they could.

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Just before bed last night, I wrote the preceding five paragraphs, intending them as an introduction to one of two (proposed) posts on Jack Goldsmith’s book. When I woke this morning, I realized that they qualified in a post in and of itself and publish them for your perusal. As my schedule allows in the next few days, I will try to post additional pieces on the book and the issues it addresses. Let me repeat, as my schedule allows.