Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nativist Republican Candidate Jim Oberweis Loses in Safe Republican Seat

On March 8, 2007 something extraordinary happened in Illinois. Republican candidate and avowed nativist, Jim Oberweis lost a safe Republican (Ill-14th) seat to Democrat Bill Foster. The seat had been the domain of Republicans for 20 years, and has been occupied for most of those by the former Republican majority leader J. Dennis Hastert. In fact, Oberweis had the strong backing of Hastert as well as that of John McCain, who campaigned for him. The loss stunned the Republican Party – Karl Rove compared it to voter backlash following Watergate. What is most heartening for the pro-immigrant community is that Jim Oberweis was an avowed nativist. “Illegal immigration” was not merely a part of Oberweis’ platform, illegal immigration was Oberweis’ platform. Illinois blogger, archpundit, succinctly described Oberweis’ status:

What’s most interesting about the Illinois-14 race is that hardcore immigration opponents lost again and with one of their standout candidates….

Oberweis staked out the hardcore send back 12 million people immediately and no exceptions kind of policy and not only embraced the position, but embraced fairly radical anti-immigrant activist organizations.

Most amazing is that John McCain, long a reasonable voice on the immigration debate embraced Oberweis as McCain’s flip flop to the dark side of several issues continues.

Oberweis is a Board of Director for NumbersUSA which is one of the leading right wing anti-immigration groups.

He’s spoken at Illinois Minutemen meetings such as this one on May 6, 2006 mntmn017.wav
(http://archpundit.com/blog/2008/03/10/oberweis-extreme-immigration-record/_) Oberweis' campaign in 2004 campaign was notable for a television commercial where he flew in a helicopter over Chicago's Soldier Field, and claimed enough illegal immigrants came into America in a week (10,000 a day) to fill that facility. The stadium seats 61,500 people. Almost, no other candidate is more closely identified with an anti-immigrant platform than Oberweis. His loss, in what is a very Republican district, indicates that the politics of hate don’t sell well even in Republican suburbs.

Needless to say, the nativist websites have been apoplectic over this loss. Michelle Malkin has written numerous screeds calling Oberweis’ critics and commentators “delusional.” The hate-group V-Dare has decried the fact that Oberweis lost despite the strong backing of the powerful retiring incumbent, J. Dennis Hastert. (Ill-14th)

As we have stated in previous posts, undiluted anti-immigrant rants will not carry the day as a wedge issue. This should put the Republican Party (and stray Democrats) on notice that the anti-immigrant wave has crested. Reasonable immigration policies may carry the day following the November election. All those who believe in a humanitarian policy towards immigrants can take heart in Oberweis’ loss.

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Vikki said...

Obviously there much need for a more humane approach in dealing with illegal immigrants. The views of conservatives like Oberweis are not shared by a majority. There is need for comprehensive immigration

Anonymous said...

nfuzjkObviously we are a nation of laws and we need to Enforce immigration laws no matter what the ethnicity!