Immigration Fervor Could Burn GOP

Rollback of Bush’s Hispanic-friendly stance is risky
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 1:19 PM CST
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, left, and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The GOP contenders embracing anti-immigrant fervor may be sorely miscalculating, Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker, in a piece looking at the party's dramatic turn from the Bush strategy of cultivating immigrants in 2000 and 2004. The nativist passions Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have been fanning appeal to a vocal niche, he notes, but they’ve erased Republican gains among Hispanics and might be damaging the party. 

Longtime immigration hardliner Tom Tancredo tells Lizza that the frontrunners have the polls squarely behind them when they vie to “out-Tancredo Tancredo," but John McCain and Mike Huckabee are “appalled” by the  hawkishness directed at illegals. The issue is a top concern in two of the early primary states—Iowa and South Carolina—Lizza notes, but could cost the GOP elsewhere, as most Americans favor a middle road.