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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 06/19/2012

The Morning Plum: Obama’s immigration move isolates Republicans

This morning Bloomberg News released the first national poll of Obama’s surprise announcement that his administration is halting deportations of hundreds of thousands of DREAM-eligible youth. An overwhelming 64 percent of likely voters support the move, versus only 30 percent who oppose it.

But the more interesting finding may be the divide among independents and Republicans on the issue.

Two thirds of independents — 66 percent — back the move, while only 26 percent disagree with it. Among Republicans, however, those numbers are upside down: only 36 percent of them agree with it, while 56 percent oppose it.

Why are independents so supportive of the move? Bloomberg interviewed one of them and got back this:

“At first I was really against it, but after sitting down and thinking about it, a lot of kids here are good kids,” Loretta Price, 65, a retiree and undecided independent voter from Ocala, Florida, said in a follow-up interview. “I think it was the right thing to do.”

As GOP strategist Ed Rollins put it to me, the debate over DREAM-eligible youth is problematic for Republicans because many Americans see it as an issue of basic fairness. Their daily experience has led them into contact with many good people who have come here illegally but are mainly guilty of the crime of wanting to better their lives. What’s more, Obama’s move targets people who were brought here at a young age and didn’t have a say over their movements.

The divide between Republicans and independents on the issue may help explain why Romney is still refusing to take a position on it. Republicans oppose the policy in large numbers. But opposing Obama’s new policy could alienate independents. As some Republican strategists have already noted publicly, the GOP’s harsh positions on immigration in general already carry the broader risk of making the party look backward looking and intolerant to non-affiliated voters, and carry the risk of permanently alienating Latinos, whose vote share will only continue to grow.

While it’s true that Americans’ positions on immigration aren’t at all clear cut — majorities support the Arizona law, for instance — here’s a case where the policy in question is a slam dunk among independents. Yet Republicans continue to oppose it, which means Dems will use this debate as a wedge against Romney, even if he continues to hide behind process objections in order to avoid declaring where he stands on it. It’s unclear how much this argument will matter in an election that will be all about the economy, but if Dems can exploit Romney’s dilemma in order to further the narrative that he is unwilling to take stands on difficult questions, it can only help.

* Why the GOP can’t write off Hispanics: Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake make it simple:

Republicans literally cannot afford to let Hispanics become reliably Democratic. At some point in the future — given current demographic trends — Republicans could win virtually every single white vote in the country and not be able to win a national election.

* Obama campaign intensifies push for Latino vote: The Obama camp is out with a new Spanish-language ad featuring Cristina Saralegui, the “Latina Oprah,” touting his health law and claiming the “vast majority” of Latinos will have affordable health insurance by 2014.

The ad is a mark of the Obama campaign’s hope of quickly capi­tal­izing on his increased standing among Latinos in the wake of the immigration announcement, and is designed to use health reform to rebut Romney’s effort to make inroads by highlighting Latinos’ economic suffering.

* Marco Rubio not being vetted for Veep, after all: ABC News scoops that Rubio has not been asked to fill out any questionnaires or turn over documents normally associated with the Veep selection process. It looks like the Romney campaign may have given up on the idea of making serious inroads among Latinos, at least through a Rubio selection.

* Romney still refusing specifics on tax cuts for rich: Glenn Kessler takes a look at Obama’s and Romney’s competing claims over whether Romney’s plans would disproportionately cut taxes on the rich. While Kessler faults Obama’s assumptions about Romney’s plan, the problem ultimately stems from Romney’s refusal to say what deductions and loopholes he would eliminate to achieve his stated goal of keeping the rich’s share of the tax burden the same as it is today.

As Kessler concludes: “Obama is trying to nail Romney with specifics — and Romney is trying to avoid them.” Reminder: on Sunday, Romney confirmed that he doesn’t see any need to share those specifics for the duration of the campaign.

* Romney demands specifics from Obama: As Steve Benen notes , the mainstream press is beginning to take note of Romney’s refusal to divulge specifics about his policies, which looks particularly absurd in light of this recent quote from Romney himself:

“Unlike President Obama, you don’t have to wait until after the election to find out what I believe in — or what my plans are.”

* It’s all about Ohio: Dan Balz has an interesting look at the calculations both campaigns are making around Ohio, and at why this is a central fact of the race: “If Obama can win Ohio, then he almost certainly will be reelected.”

* History lesson of the day: Bob Shrum on the similarities between Mitt Romney and Thomas Dewey, who ran a campaign of evasions and equivocations that were expected to succeed in making the election all about the incumbent, only to discover that Harry Truman’s populism on the big issues turned the election into a choice, after all.

* The eternal search for bipartisan compromise: Ezra Klein asks what, exactly, Dems are supposed to do to secure bipartisan compromise with Republicans:

When Democrats endorse ideas Republican pioneered, that doesn’t lead to bipartisanship. When they endorse ideas Republicans currently support, that doesn’t lead to bipartisanship. And when they act on their own, that’s too partisan. So what, exactly, are they supposed to do?

Wait, I have an idea. How about giving Republicans everything they want and agreeing to call that bipartisan compromise?

* And Tea Partyers heart taxpayer-funded mailers: Meet the Tea Party Republicans who used to rail against taxpayer-funded mailers to constituents but have become the most extensive users of the tactic now that they’ve discovered that it’s a pretty useful way to communicate with voters, after all.

What else?

By  |  09:01 AM ET, 06/19/2012

 
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