The GOP has lost its way, and will pay

April 26, 2006|By DOUGLAS MACKINNON

WASHINGTON -- A number of Republicans, including me, lately have been asking ourselves: What has become of our party and why has it lost its moral and ideological compass?

A more telling question and statement may have been made by my South American wife with regard to certain Republican members of Congress who support guest-worker legislation for millions of illegal aliens.

As a newly minted and very proud U.S. citizen, she said, "What's wrong with those people? They are spitting in my face and the face of every immigrant who came into this country legally, paid our dues, did all of our paperwork and played by the rules. They can call it whatever they want, but it's amnesty for lawbreakers. I can tell you one thing, when I do get to vote for the first time in my new country, it won't be for the Republican Party."

Certain undeniable facts make it hard for me to talk her out of her position.

One such example is the blatant, greed-induced corruption practiced by certain Republican members of Congress and lobbyists, which has been purposely ignored by much of the Republican leadership until it reached critical mass and blew up in their complicit faces.

Another is the disgraceful, budget-busting spending by Republican members who laughingly call themselves "fiscal conservatives."

Last, and the most telling example of why my party has lost its way, are the Republicans in Congress who are waving the white flag on immigration and, in the process, endangering our national security.

Why would they do such a thing?

Two reasons.

First, regardless of what they say, they are intimidated by the hundreds of thousands of legal and illegal immigrants who have taken to the streets to protest proposed harsher laws to protect our borders.

Second, they are doing the bidding of big business and big business lobbyists who want, need and demand a cheap labor force that they can continue to exploit and pay slave wages.

Apparently, these Republicans who favor the guest-worker/amnesty plan for illegal aliens don't have a whole lot of interest in what the American people have to say on the subject. If they did, they would acknowledge that, in the latest polls, the vast majority of the public wants the U.S. government to crack down on illegal immigration. The American people would like to see "major penalties" imposed on those who employ illegal aliens. And well over 70 percent don't want illegals to have a driver's license. This common-sense thinking is not shared by at least 73 percent of Republicans in Congress.

There is an ill wind blowing for the GOP that is being fanned by rank-and-file Republicans who are disgusted with their party. I have heard from a number of them who have flatly stated, "I'm not going to vote for a Democrat in 2006 or 2008, but at the moment, I'm just not going to vote."

Other Republicans and commentators have stressed, "The Democrats can't beat something with nothing," or, "Conservatives and independents will vote once they realize that if the Democrats do take over, the leadership will be in the hands of liberals and Bush will never get another Supreme Court nominee through."

Time will tell. But in my home, my party has already lost the vote of a legal, highly disappointed, immigrant.

Douglas MacKinnon, who was press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole, is also a former White House and Pentagon official and an author. His e-mail is dmackinnon@sandw.com.

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