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Mark Shields
Mark Shields
13 Feb 2016
Make America Great Again -- at Torture!

The undisputed front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination who, like every other remaining … Read More.

6 Feb 2016
Cracking the Code of Campaign-Speak

"Do you ever get the feeling," asked humorist Robert Orben, "that the only reason we have elections is to … Read More.

30 Jan 2016
Is There Only One True Progressive?

Mark Shields is off this week. The following is a column by Joe Conason. In our polarized politics, the … Read More.

Forgotten, but Not Gone


Last weekend, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and his wife, Ann, were in Washington, where they met with friends and supporters and attended the annual Alfalfa Club dinner, an exclusive black-tie event.

One of the more memorable lines from last year's closed-to-the-press dinner was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's needling of his most famous sibling, when — while addressing the then-unsettled GOP nomination contest — he reported that at one point his brother even thought about running again: "'George,' I said, 'the Constitution prohibits you from running again.' He said, 'Wow, they put my name in the Constitution?'"

The weekend's real political news, however, was being made by the GOP's 2008 standard-bearer, Arizona Sen. John McCain, along with GOP Senate colleagues Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, all of whom had been working with Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Dick Durbin of Illinois to produce a comprehensive compromise immigration plan.

That plan — which said that after measures were taken to secure the border, undocumented immigrants could obtain legal status on a probationary basis once they had undergone a background check, and paid a fine and any back taxes owed — was proudly unveiled by the eight senators.

By losing the growing Hispanic vote nationally 71 percent to 27 percent to President Barack Obama after running a fierce get-tough-on-illegal-immigrants campaign, Romney not only made the senators' bipartisan immigration proposal possible. For his fellow Republicans, Romney made the switch on immigration imperative.

As McCain put it on Wednesday at a breakfast hosted by Politico, "If you have a large bloc of Americans who believe you're trying to keep their ... fellow Hispanics down and deprive them of an opportunity, obviously that's going to have an effect."

What sort of an effect? McCain: "The trend will continue of lack of support from Hispanic voters, and also, as you look at the demographics of states like mine, that means we will go from Republican to Democratic over time."

One irony is that McCain was one of Romney's most important 2012 endorsers for the nomination.

This surprised some of us who remembered the Romney TV spot four years earlier that charged that McCain had "pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here permanently — even voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security. And Mitt Romney? He opposes amnesty for illegals."

Earlier in 2007, Romney test-drove his 2012 campaign when he attacked an Arkansas plan that enabled the children of undocumented immigrants to apply for college scholarships. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee counterpunched: "I'm standing here tonight on this stage because I got an education. If I hadn't had the education, I wouldn't be standing on this stage, I might be picking lettuce. In all due respect, we're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did ... ."

In 2008, Romney got even tougher on Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Lone Star State's Dream Act: "One of the things I still can't get over is the idea that a state would decide to give $100,000 discounts to the children of illegals to go to school in their state."

According to projections from the respected Pew Research's Social & Demographic Trends, Hispanics, who constituted just 3.5 percent of the U.S. population in 1968 and 17 percent in 2011, will jump to 29 percent of the U.S. total in 2050. Asian-Americans, who were a tiny 0.6 percent in 1960, will increase to 9 percent. With African-Americans growing to 13 percent of the nation, this would mean that whites — who had been 85 percent of all Americans in 1960 — would shrink by the middle of the century to approximately 47 percent.

A bipartisan immigration bill staking out the path to citizenship will not, by itself, be a political silver bullet for a GOP still trying to shake off the anti-immigrant baggage the Romney candidacy saddled it with. But it could mean that Republican candidates might eventually, after hard work, hope to reach the 40 percent of the Hispanic vote George W Bush won in 2004.

To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... The republican party is like the Titanic that has hit the iceburg of reality, and had its crew decide to paint the ship...
We have always been inclined in this country to follow the rich out of the principal that if it was good for business it was good for America, and it has been good for America if you only consider the rich as Americans... They have brought a few along; but that few hangers on, farmers, wealthy wannabees, immigrants reaching for the American Dream, small town businessmen of the sort Walmart has made history, are now few... It is republicanism that is making real republicans an endangered species... As long as they can gerrymander their way into state government, and keep the gerrymander to keep enough house districts, they will be a party to failed government and an impediment to good government...
I used to think, back when Reagan was president that feeding money to the rich was likely to spur the dead horse of the economy into an approximation of life... It is too late for that now... The republican economy has always come in at the expense of some one, some group, or as now, was laid upon the entire people... Look at how miserable we have become even while the debt was run to the rafters... It did not help our economy, but made its more perilous...All those parasitic rich who have come to look at the people, and the government that can rob those same people as a cash cow they can milk or bleed at will- are pushing the whole situation to the absolute extreme of common sense.... Mr. Greenspan remarked on the failure of enlightened self interest in stopping people from over inflating, and then bursting the housing bubble... Well, why shouldn't they???... If it is all some great ponzi that the first in can get first out of rich, then devil take the hindmost, and full speed ahead... Our economy is no farsee... Rich people cannot look beyond the next quarter, and while it is government that should consider the long view, the government has grown attached to the economy, and let the economy govern government to such an extent that it has no greater far sight than the profiteers...

If the people are beginning to recognize the mismanagement of the rich in government, then good for them... If they are beginning to see that their interests are in no sense in the best interest of the rich; then all the better...The rich are in one business altogether, and it is the ruin of America, the trashing of our freedom, and the making off with our commonwealth... If the poor can see this now; how long will it be before we break out the gillotines??? They used to call it a republican haircut, and If we offer it to every republican, how long will it be before they offer us justice???
The people are forced to struggle by... It is not as necessary to do something -as to think something, and give breath to the thought...We can pay through the nose for what is ours, or in the national debt, pay the debt due to another out of the goodness our own sweet hearts...Or we can talk about it... Small words like: Nationalization, might lower the price of many things we now find dear... As you can see; the rich who want all things of value privatized, want their debt nationalized... Why, pray tell, should I pay for nothing??? Why should I buy wars that were foolish to begin with, and be made poor to see others made dead, and a few rich made richer... If we can talk, we can think, and if we can think, we can talk, and if we think well, and talk well, it is possible the rich might take a lesson from it without the necessity of ever being taught...
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Feb 7, 2013 7:38 AM
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Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 13 Feb 2016
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