The Obama administration may be right on the law, but the politics of its lawsuit challenging Arizona’s immigration law are awful:
The suit could, of course, help boost turnout among Hispanic voters in key areas across the West. And stridently anti-immigrant rhetoric could turn off independent voters. Yet many foresee a midterm electorate featuring an energized Republican base — for whom the immigration issue has emerged as a priority — prompting moderate white Western voters who are concerned about jobs to decamp to the GOP at least in the short term, political observers said.
“This is a tough issue for Democrats,” said former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, a Democrat who is co-director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver. “Politically, I just can’t think of any place in the West where this is going to play well.”
Obama started this whole political tangle, you will recall, when suddenly, with the election just months away and Hispanic support lagging, he decided to revive immigration reform as an issue. It was disingenuous from the get-go because there is no time for such an endeavor, and, in any event, he doesn’t have a bill he’s willing to propose and push through. So it’s fitting, really, as a matter of political karma, that he should get tied up in knots over a lawsuit, which exists only because states are so frustrated with federal inactivity on the issue that they’re trying out their own immigration legislation.
It seems that just about everything the Obama team tries winds up backfiring these days. I suppose governing really is different from campaigning.