Obama Scores on Immigration, but It’s Still ‘The Economy, Stupid’
Barack Obama’s surprise announcement on immigration this week - in essence, a DREAM Act end-run around Congress - had immediate political benefits for an incumbent president fighting to win a second term.
It knocked presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney off-message, forcing him to answer for his own very hard line on immigration during the GOP primary fight (“self-deportation”) and pretty much had him muttering his agreement with Obama about treating with mercy as well as justice young immigrants brought to this country by their parents.
It also went a long way toward solidifying Obama’s clear advantage among Hispanic voters - the country’s most rapidly-growing demographic - a vulnerability in their party clearly recognized by such prominent Republicans as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Haley Barbour.
“If you are a worker who has been here for any length of time, we have to have a path, not to citizenship, but a secure knowledge that they will be able to work,” former Mississippi Gov. Barbour said Friday at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters.
But immigration doesn’t overshadow the main question Obama faces: ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago,’ as Ronald Reagan put it in ousting Jimmy Carter in 1980.