One of the keys to winning the Social Conservative vote is electability. Many voters out there aren’t asking which candidate has the best ideas. They are asking which candidate can beat Barack Obama. On the Social Conservative side, they are asking which candidate can beat Mitt Romney first.
Bachmann has chosen not only to level questionable attacks against Newt Gingrich for his immigration policy, but she has also taken the hardline stance that as President 11.2 million illegal aliens should be deported no matter how long they have been here, their other legal history, or their family and community ties. With the intensity that Bachmann has attacked Gingrich, I would be comfortable assuming that this would be a national priority for her.
Mitt Romney tried to come down hard on Gingrich in the debate, but admitted himself that there must be exceptions to the rule for mass deportations. Bachmann, who has played the role of attack dog against more than one candidate, was far more rigid in her approach. But can a zero tolerance, deport them all approach to Illegal Immigration win in 2012?
Amnesty was a big loser for Republicans in the past. McCain’s involvement in a potential bill to grant a path to citizenship for illegal aliens nearly ended his career. But far too often this complex issue is reduced to a soundbite, or single word (such as “amnesty”). What would happen in a debate between Michele Bachmann and Barack Obama where Bachmann was asked if she would make deporting 11.2 million illegal aliens a national priority and how she planned on doing that?
This issue is a loser all around for Conservatives. Not because they are wrong, but because like so many other issues there is no easy solution, but they are willing to try.
So far, Mitt Romney has dodged a huge bullet. No one seems to have noticed his exception caveat to his immigration hardline. Bachmann has managed to stay on the attack, but it won’t take the media forever for someone to ask her how she plans on deporting 11.2 million illegal immigrants. For now though, Gingrich is taking the heat just as he predicted in the debate. As far as what Conservatives actually want, many want Michele Bachmann’s hardline and may stay home if they see weakness in a candidate on this issue. Others will see Bachmann’s stance as making her unelectable and will avoid her because of it. Either way, the best thing for the GOP right now is for this issue to run its course in the media cycle and go away soon. With Bachmann’s perceived chance at spoiling another rival’s campaign, don’t count on it.
Filed under: Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Strategy Tagged: | 11.2 million, amnesty, attack dog, bachmann, citizenship, debate, deportation, Gingrich, GOP, greencard, Illegal immigration, immigration, John McCain, McCain, Michele Bachmann, mitt, Mitt Romney, newt, Newt Gingrich, red card, Romney, wh 2012, whitehouse 2012, whitehouse12.com