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WP,pg1: GOP candidates take hard line on immigration to rally base

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:17 AM
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WP,pg1: GOP candidates take hard line on immigration to rally base
In Porous Border, GOP Sees An Opening
Candidates Take Hard Line To Rally Conservative Base
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 21, 2006; Page A01

....There seems to be little doubt that a hard line against illegal immigration is the safer position in a GOP primary. But many Republicans believe, in a year when many national trends are not blowing their way, that it is also the safer position in a general election.

It is a counterintuitive strategy: The way to win a swing district is not with a campaign aimed at swing voters. Instead, the goal is to motivate conservatives with anti-illegal-immigration appeals, hoping they overcome their disenchantment with GOP policies in Washington.

Of course, Republicans also hope to snare independents and even some wayward Democrats with the immigration issue. But they plan to do it with hot words -- not with the cool centrism that is more typical in districts where both parties have run competitively.

In a way, this strategy borrows from President Bush's rally-the-base approach to winning reelection in 2004, even though it is based on spurning Bush's stance on the immigration issue...(T)he Bush administration wants tough border security measures combined with new, legal avenues toward work and citizenship for the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Many conservatives fear this would be a de facto amnesty for undocumented workers.

It may be little surprise that immigration is a flash point in (a) district, which is 18 percent Hispanic. But the issue echoes in House campaigns around the country, and the tenor of the debate on the Republican side has grown increasingly unified and increasingly punitive....
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