As we all know, Mitt Romney has been trying to position himself as the mainstream conservative candidate for the Republican nomination. It’s a smart move, politically; the two major candidates for the nomination – McCain and Giuliani – hold certain positions that are anathema to the religious right and the conservative base. Romney’s rightward shift ran into some criticism, however, when his pro-choice, pro-gay past was dug up. I think that those revelations will hurt him among evangelicals, but not among regular conservatives. His immigration position, however, will prevent conservatives from supporting him. Not much has been made of it, but it’s quite remarkable:
Immigration has been an important part of our nation’s success. The current system, however, puts up a concrete wall to the best and brightest, yet those without skill or education are able to walk across the border. We must reform the current immigration laws so we can secure our borders, implement a mandatory biometrically enabled, tamper proof documentation and employment verification system, and increase legal immigration into America.
Governor Romney: “We need to make America more attractive for legal immigrants for citizens and less attractive for illegal immigrants. I want to see more immigration in our country, but more legal immigration and less illegal immigration.”
This is basically the Democratic position: expanding legal avenues to immigration as the primary means of stopping illegal immigration. Immigration is a major issue to many conservatives, and they will be very concerned about this. Yet another reason why Romney is dead in the water, and why a candidate from the Gingrich/Huckabee/Brownback/Keating/Gilmore pack will become a big, big deal later this year.