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Mitt Romney, Cynic-In-Chief

When immigration finally came up as a topic in a presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s response earned him the title of Cynic-in-Chief...

When immigration finally came up as a topic in a presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s response earned him the title of Cynic-in-Chief.

He continued to attack President Barack Obama for failing to pass an immigration reform bill that neither he nor the Republican Party supports; he said that he doesn’t plan to “round up” 12 million undocumented immigrants and deport them, even though his campaign immigration adviser, Kris Kobach, is the architect of Arizona law SB 1070 and of the concept of making life so impossible for immigrants that they opt to “self-deport” instead (a concept Romney also supports); and yet again—as he’s taken to doing every time he discusses the issue—he mentioned that his father was born in Mexico.

The Cynic-in-Chief got away with the same thing he always does: responding in generalities. He managed to avoid saying what, exactly, he plans to do with the 12 million undocumented; he managed to say yet again that there needs to be a path to permanent status for undocumented young people, or DREAMers, without explaining exactly how he would create one (with the exception of specifying that military service could be one possible path to status).

Obama, who improved on his performance from the last debate simply by showing up to this one, hit all the right points: Romney supports “self-deportation;” Romney has promised to veto the DREAM Act, which would create the very path to legalization for undocumented youth that Romney claims he wants to create; Romney has said that Arizona’s SB 1070 is a model for the nation. Romney attempted to contest the last point by clarifying that his “model” comment referred to a separate Arizona law mandating the E-Verify system to check workers’ status, to which Obama responded by pointing out that the man who designed SB 1070 is now an immigration adviser to Romney’s campaign.

On the subject of the DREAM Act and the Deferred Action program announced by Obama in June, which grants temporary protection to DREAMers in the absence of legislative action, Romney has said that his administration would honor work permits already given to DREAMers before his inauguration, but he would immediately stop granting new permits in favor of promoting a legislative (and, of course, as-yet-unspecified) “permanent solution.”

The president responded that he, too, has been looking for a permanent and bipartisan immigration solution, but he hasn’t managed to gain support from Republicans—even those who have supported reform in the past.

“It’s very difficult for Republicans in Congress to support immigration reform if their standard-bearer [Romney] has said this is not something I’m interested in supporting,” Obama pointed out.

While the president has his own cross to bear on immigration—he is still trying to atone for his unfulfilled 2008 promise to introduce reform in his first year, and his administration has set deportation records—he demonstrated last night that he was on the right side of the argument, while his ambivalent opponent, Romney, looked so uncomfortable even talking about immigration that he took the opportunity at one point to respond to a previous question about his investments.

Obama was correct in saying that it’s very hard to make progress on an issue that’s been politicized—which is exactly what Romney is doing in faulting Obama for not presenting an immigration reform bill Republicans weren’t going to support anyway, just like they killed the DREAM Act in the Senate in December 2010.

Earlier in the debate, one of the undecided voters in the room asked Romney what distinguished him from George W. Bush.

In his answer, Romney failed to mention that Bush supported comprehensive immigration reform—indeed, that he advocated for it vigorously; that Bush never defended the concept of “self-deportation;” and that Bush understood the importance of the Latino vote to maintain the long-term viability of the Republicans as a national party, which, weeks from the election, Romney still hasn’t grasped.

Bush had no shortage of faults, but he understood, perfectly, the importance of immigration and the Latino vote.

But on Oct. 16, his party’s new figurehead—the Cynic-in-Chief—demonstrated once again why his abysmally low numbers among Hispanic voters aren’t climbing up to sea level anytime soon.

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Chuck Page October 23, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Thank you, Irene, for adding a dose of reality to the idealogical war going on in this blog. As for statistics, you can take any set of data and totally spin it in the direction that you want the numbers to play out. At a national level, we all learned that when Ross Perot ran for president.
Mitt R October 24, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Jazzinickle- take your 1960's hippie ideas and get on back there. The rest of us will live in the here and now, thank you.
Julian Groft October 24, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I dont believe people are not aloud to step foot on other pieces of our world, lets just get greed out of the way and welcome people and smile and live everyday like its your last and you wont care about other people in a bad way! please no hate crimes on my statement like up above! thanks so much, have a beautiful day everybody!
Brian Hickman October 25, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Cynic-in-chief implies that Romney is cynical. Nothing in the article is about cynicism, so I assume the author just thought it a catchy title. So Romney is against deporting illegal aliens, but will also not allow those who came here illegally to transition easily to citizen. Sounds like a reasonable compromise to me. He thinks the e-verify part of the AZ law is good, but doesn't endorse the law in its entirety. That also sounds reasonable to me. It's not exactly the balance I would personally strike... I favor a road (albeit a tough one) for illegal aliens to gain citizenship. I also favor making it easier to come here legally (which Romney also favors). I predict that under Romney, we'll have more immigrants than we have had in many years (good!), and that a much higher percentage of them will be legal (also good!)
Susan October 25, 2012 at 03:42 PM
If not a cynic, then what might we call Mitt Romney? "Cynic, noun: he was a cynic who deflated all the hopeful aspirations of his children: skeptic, doubter, doubting Thomas; pessimist, prophet of doom, doomsayer, Cassandra, Chicken Little. ANTONYMS idealist, Pollyanna." Mr. Romney has promised to veto the DREAM Act; his response to immigration during the Presidential debate was to attack the President for failing to pass an immigration reform bill -- that neither he nor the Republican Party supports; he believes Arizona's SB 1070 is a model for the nation, and he supports the concept of making life so impossible for the undocumented that they simply “self-deport." And yet he never fails to pander to Latinos by mentioning that his (Caucasian) father was born in Mexico, even dyeing his face orangish brown during a Spanish television interview (see uploaded photo). The latter would actually qualify as Panderer-In-Chief. Brilliant video: "Easier as a Latino? Actually…" http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EVIrNxba0ls

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