Aficionados of the Etch a Sketch will recall a certain flaw in the toy: If you use it often, some of the lines drawn no longer disappear when you shake the device, instead leaving an indelible trace of where you have been.So begin Milbank's column in this morning's Washington Post, Romney won’t be able to shake immigration debate, "inspired" by yesterday's testimony by recalled former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, the person most responsible for his state's passage of the infamous SB1070.
This is the problem Mitt Romney is encountering: He is shaking the device, trying to erase impressions left during this year’s primary contest. But he just can’t shake away the image of Russell Pearce.
Pierce, who lost his seat last fall in a recall election, labeled the Obama administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “unpatriotic.” He sounded the alarm about an “invasion of illegal aliens we face today — convicted felons, drug cartels, gang members, human traffickers, even terrorists” (never mind that border security has improved and violence has lessened). And he blamed the Sept. 11 attacks on “the failure to enforce U.S. immigration laws” (omitting the fact that the hijackers entered the country legally).It actually gets better - when hearing chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer verbally tied Mitt Romney and Pearce together on the bill, Pearce obliged, as he has done in the past, by not only doubling but also tripling down on harsh statements, who when asked of his willingness to punish children brought to this country as infants who lived here their entire lives responded mercilessly:
“You need to blame those responsible,” Pearce replied, “and not us for being a nation of laws.”Pearce is willing to profile to challenge people, including on dress, because he claims it is operating on probably cause. When asked why not simply check the immigration status of all persons stopped by police he responded that he didn't want to a police state. Milbank responds to this as he closes his piece
No, he only wants that for people who don’t look like him.If even the likes of Milbank say that, then it is likely the Main Stream Media will assist in reminding the American people of Romney's multiple statements during the primary supportive of such an approach in an attempt to win tea party voters.
Pearce, with a rare chuckle, allowed that it’s “usually the case” that he finds himself outnumbered when defending the immigration law. But he argued, correctly, that the law reflects “by far the majority opinion of my party.”
This is why Romney will have trouble making it disappear.
That will, as the column notes, reinforce the 40+% gap burdening Romney among Hispanics, a gap that even adding Marco Rubio will not overcome.
Even Romney recognizes a gap that size is fatal.
As I said, for once Dana Milbank nails it.