Last week, in an article titled “Walking a Tightrope on Immigration,” The New York Times made the fact-defying claim that the illegal immigration issue poses a risk for Republicans who appeal to voters “angry” about illegal immigration. (This is as opposed to voters “angry” that they spent good money buying a copy of The New York Times.)
In support of this assertion, the Times was required not only to ignore the stunning defeat of this year’s amnesty bill, but also its own revisionist history. We can only hope Democratic politicians continue to look to the Times as an accurate barometer of voter sentiment.
In addition to secret polls showing that “the majority of Americans” support “a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally,” the Times cited election results from 1994 and 2006, which unfortunately directly contradict the Times’ thesis.
First, the Times raised former California Gov. Pete Wilson’s “precipitous slide” in the polls after he supported Proposition 187 in 1994, when voters overwhelmingly supported denying taxpayer-supported services to illegal immigrants.
The problem with this example is that Proposition 187 was wildly popular. Times reporter Michael Luo seems to be referring to the Times’ own prediction of catastrophe for Proposition 187 — not bothering to check the actual election results.
One week before Californians voted on Proposition 187 in 1994, B. Drummond Ayres Jr. reported in the Times that there had been “a sharp falloff in support for the proposition.” He said Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and African-American ministers were coming out strongly against Proposition 187 and that “this outcry, along with the increasing opposition being voiced by liberals, civil libertarians and assorted national political figures” was having an effect.
And then Californians voted.
Proposition 187 passed in a landslide with a nearly 20-point margin — a larger margin than Wilson got, incidentally. It was supported by two-thirds of white voters, half of black and Asian voters, and even a third of Hispanic voters. It passed in every area of California, except San Francisco, a city where intoxicated gay men dressed as nuns performing sex acts on city streets is not considered unusual. In heavily Latino Los Angeles County, Proposition 187 passed with a 12-point margin.
I’m no campaign consultant, but I think Wilson’s support for an off-the-charts popular initiative probably didn’t hurt him.
In fact, here on planet Earth, about the safest thing a California politician could do was to enthusiastically support Proposition 187. But in New York Times-speak, politicians are walking a dangerous “tightrope” if they dare to defy a slight majority of San Francisco voters!
As with all initiatives popular with voters, but unpopular with liberals, Prop 187 was challenged in courts and a Carter-appointed U.S. District Court judge, Mariana Pfaelzer, found the initiative “unconstitutional.” Her rulings were still on appeal when Democrat Gray Davis became governor and dropped the appeals.
That’s not winning. That’s cheating.
(And everyone remembers how popular Gray Davis was! First governor in California history to be recalled.)
The crown jewel of the Times’ evidence for its thesis that Americans want MORE illegal aliens was this gem: “J.D. Hayworth, a hard-line incumbent Republican representative in Arizona, lost his race in 2006, as did Randy Graf, a member of the border-enforcing Minuteman group, who also ran in Arizona.”
How many times do we have to disprove this canard?
As with Hillary’s position on driver’s licenses for illegals — and B. Hussein Obama’s entire campaign — the Hayworth-Graf example works better when no follow-up questions are allowed. For example:
Q: Did Hayworth’s and Graf’s opponents campaign against them on illegal immigration?
Q: Were there any other issues on the ballot that year that might tell us if Hayworth’s and Graf’s positions on illegal immigration led to their defeats?
A: Si! Oops, I mean, yes — why yes there were! The very election that the Times cites as proof that anti-illegal sentiment is a loser at the ballot box also included four measures that would convey how the voters felt about illegal immigration: (1) a measure to deny bail to illegal aliens, (2) a measure that would bar illegals from being awarded punitive damages, (3) a measure that would prohibit illegals from receiving state subsidies for education or child care, and (4) a measure to declare English the state’s official language.
All four initiatives passed. Overwhelmingly. Whatever Arizona voters didn’t like about Hayworth and Graf, it sure wasn’t that they were too tough on illegals.
Idea for the Times: When trying to convince readers that Americans demand MORE illegal immigration, do not cite evidence specifically contradicted by common sense, an everyday observation of your fellow man and the fact of four anti-illegal immigrant measures passing in landslides in the very same election.
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