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In one of the uglier developments of the 2010 mid-terms, Idaho Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick is lashing out at his Latino Republican opponent, Raul Labrador, for being "soft" on immigration. 

Labrador, an immigration attorney and Republican state legislator who has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, can hardly be called a champion for immigrants. Still, Minnick is giving Labrador the full Tancredo treatment.

This is a far cry from 2008, when Minnick was an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform –  a policy supported by a whopping 88 percent of voters in Idaho’s first Congressional District.  His opponent at the time, Republican incumbent Bill Sali, was an immigration hardliner who advocated a deportation-only approach.  While Minnick argued for immigration enforcement, he also included a common-sense system for undocumented immigrants already here to pay a penalty and get legal. 

Minnick rightfully said Sali’s mass deportation plan would "overwhelm the courts and cripple Idaho's agricultural economy, which relies on migrant labor," while Sali argued that Minnick promoted amnesty to no avail.

But this time around, Minnick is looking a lot like Sali, blasting  his opponent with a relentless barrage of absurd attacks on immigration  in television ads  and statements.  This week, Minnick’s campaign is even touting support  from the extreme anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA - the Internet organization founded by the alleged white nationalist John Tanton

NumbersUSA  and its director Roy Beck go to great lengths to distance themselves  from their more blatantly racist sister organizations and supporters,  but Beck actually worked as the Washington editor of the white  nationalist-linked journal published by the Social Contract Press, labeled a hate group by the non-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center.  Under Beck’s leadership, the Social Contract Press published a variety  of disturbing titles such as one titled: "Europhobia: The Hostility to  European-Descended Americans" in which authors blamed  "multiculturalists" and immigrants for "hatred and fear" of whites.  Today, NumbersUSA mobilizes its internet followers to bombard Congress  with messages blaming immigrants for any number of national ills.

So,  what changed?  A tough political year can make politicians do crazy  things, but the polling, policy and even Minnick’s own experience should  have led his campaign toward a very different strategy.

In addition to being completely unnecessary, Kos points out that in light of Idaho’s changing demographics, Minnick’s approach may be a long-term liability:

His  state is changing, and changing in a way that will help his future  political endeavors -- if he could simply resist the urge to be a bigot.  Yet Minnick has decided, for no obvious reason, to run a hateful  campaign.

Minnick had it right on immigration in 2008, so it’s even more disappointing to see him hurtling off the deep end in 2010.

Cross-Posted at America's Voice.

Originally posted to Adam Luna on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:39 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Aren't you kicking our own? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't get this site's sense of internal consistency.

      Example: "Alan Grayson is losing because of massive GOP spending." Reality: Alan Grayson is losing because his district already felt offended by him and hated him, as measured by polling. "No, that's kicking our own!"

      Walt Minnick, like Alan Grayson, has very little chance of being re-elected. Both are now doing desperate-looking, alienating things to be re-elected. So when's it acceptable?

      I know Western politics and I know that Minnick's at least doing something that could work (not this late really, but it could). It's wrong, but then there's the question of if Walt should have just not bothered fundraising and campaigning much.

  •  actually we need his seat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks

    Every seat counts if democrats have any chance to hold the house. Stewart said last night that the GOP would control the house when he interviewed Cantor.

  •  Unfortunate news. (0+ / 0-)

    Hopefully he's getting an earful for it.

    (I added the ID-01 tag for diary rescue and easy look-up)

    More and Better Democrats

    by SJerseyIndy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 01:42:47 PM PDT

  •  Sun Valley residents won't pick the lettuce Walt (0+ / 0-)

    Walt Minnick, you are a bigot and a schmuck. I'm guessing agriculture is the number one industry in Idaho and guess which industry created the job market that all the "Mexicans" are doing. If big agribusiness actually cared if Americans had those jobs, they would pay a living wage.

  •  NumbersUSA was founded by Roy Beck, not (0+ / 0-)

    John Tanton, whose principal early political involvement was in environmental issues anyway. Tanton is a minor figure who has been involved with a little of everything over the years and who has been selected as sort of an eminence grise by the Southern Poverty Law Center in order to tar anyone who has ever been associated with him in any way.

    Here is a statement of principles from the home page of NumbersUSA: "NumbersUSA Action is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy organization that favors an environmentally sustainable and economically just America. It opposes efforts to use federal immigration policies to force mass U.S. population growth and to depress wages of vulnerable workers."

    I have found that the organization lives by those principles, and there is nothing extreme about NumbersUSA, an organization of more than one million members from all parts of the political spectrum.

    Roy Beck, by the way, has a lifelong and active commitment to civil rights and the environment that any liberal would be proud of. And, as any adult knows, political alliances on single issues often involve people one doesn't agree with on anything else.

    •  The Southern Policy Law Center has the details (0+ / 0-)

      Beck portrayed NumbersUSA as his own group, started up with his own money but incorporated as a program under Tanton's U.S. Inc. as a convenience — a way to get financial and legal services from the parent body in return for a small fee. He said that he raised all the money for NumbersUSA and set all its policies. He said similar things to Cannon, calling his group "programmatically autonomous."

      But that's not the way Tanton described the relationship. Until 2002, when Beck reorganized his group as a freestanding entity, Tanton repeatedly referred to him as an employee, subject to U.S. Inc.'s personnel policies. (In his testimony, Beck finally told Cannon that his paychecks came from U.S. Inc.) Tanton described Beck as guest-editing entire editions of The Social Contract, and, in 1993, helping to edit The Immigration Invasion, a book by Lutton and Tanton so raw in its immigrant bashing that Canadian border authorities have banned it as hate literature.

      http://www.splcenter.org/...

  •  If you want to understand Roy Beck, (0+ / 0-)

    read this  blog

    •  Come On! (0+ / 0-)
      1. John Tanton was a paid employee of John Tanton.
      1. He has spoken for the CCC (ultra right wing Council of Conservative Citizens).
      1. He has written for the Social Contract Press.

      Roy Beck is trying to be the "non-racist" front of a racist movement. He speaks for racists.

      •  You might try reading the blog before commenting (0+ / 0-)

        And, simply characterizing opposition to high immigration rates as intrinsically racist is nonsense. The environment and quality of life in our country that NumbersUSA defends belong to all of us, and the vulnerable workers who suffer reduced wages and unemployment because of the high influx of low-skill immigrants are disproportionately minority members.

        We all have some questionable allies. I probably agree with you on most issues. The Southern Democrats who were a critical part of FDRs coalition said things that John Tanton never did and that Roy Beck has sincerely condemned all his life.

        •  I'm specifically saying Roy Beck is a racist (0+ / 0-)

          I haven't said that there isn't a person who opposes immigration who isn't racist. That is an interesting question... it is theoretically possible to be anti-immigrant without being racist.

          That that is isn't the question. Roy Beck works for racists, represents racists and is lauded by racists.

          If you want to discuss the theoretical question, perhaps you could pick an example who isn't clearly a racist shill that we could examine. Roy Beck is not a good choice.

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