The tortoise in the race is now in the lead. After being almost immediately written off as yesterday's news and a target for redredging of twenty year old marriage difficulties, he has slowly and steadily climbed to the top with a message of thought-out policy statements, an aversion to knee-jerk press responses and an avoidance of trashing his opponents. That just might be what America is crying for.
If you live in Texas you can't help but be aware of the illegal immigration problem. We've got the longest shared border with Mexico of the four border states. We've got a growing Latino population, both legal and illegal. We've got towns, schools, businesses, ranches and farms that are directly impacted by the border and not always adversely. We encounter assimilating Latinos every day. They are hard-working folks, embracing the American dream and making significant contributions to the economy.
Watching Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts scion of wealth, privilege and politics or Michelle Bachman, the shrill voice of ultra-right policy from Minnesota express a position on illegal immigration you are almost compelled to ask if they have ever met a Mexican immigrant. Can they order a beer and a burrito in rudimentary Spanish? Who turns down the sheets in their hotel room, tends their lawn, or cooks in the kitchen of the coffee shop where they campaign? Do they know what they pay for vegetables or who builds most of the new houses in America?
Gingrich Speaks Common Sense
I think it is remarkably refreshing to hear a candidate say something that reflects a realistic understanding of a complex issue. I enjoy someone who says to the electorate, I won't pander to your simple desire but will tell you what you really need to do and if you choose to deny me support, then I will accept the outcome.
Rick Perry was exactly correct that the border must be secured. No question about that. But he also is realistic in acknowledging that an educated immigrant is more beneficial to society than one denied opportunity.
Bachman, spouts of "rule of law" and implies punishment, removal, isolation in society along with a desire for an easy way out. That sort of position will not deal effectively with the problem and while it may attract hard-core true-believers, it won't win in a general election where many states with significant Latino voting populations will flee to the left. That jeopardizes victory in states which would otherwise be firmly in the red column on election night.
If Gingrich keeps making sense, eventually intelligent people will notice. The worst outcome, which wouldn't be that bad, is that the other candidates learn from him.