SBC’s Land supports comprehensive immigration reform

I think that the press, and bloggers, sometimes misunderstand the power of people like Richard Land, an SBC leader. Today, according to the Hill, he joined Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina (and John McCain supporter) to help introduce a bill on comprehensive immigration reform:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) joined a group of Democratic senators and evangelical leaders in calling for action on so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

The lawmakers were also flanked by a group of Hispanic evangelical leaders and Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church.

Now, Hispanic Evangelical leaders shouldn’t be surprising, although, I should point out that they are probably Republican. Richard Land is the one that I want readers to think about.

He is considered a conservative leader. This probably tells us that the SBC will have, at least, a positive stance towards comprehensive immigration reform. Will they say that much about it? Probably not, and few churches are likely to mobilize over it. (although, speaking as the chairman of the Missions Board at my baptist church, some pastors and lay leaders are acutely aware of some of this because it may impact the legality of some of our programs)

Will this protect candidates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback from conservative criticism? My gut is, probably not. A leading Member of Congress on this issue even told me that social conservatives consider immigration reform to be as much a danger to the country as gay marriage. I told him he was over stating it.

However, will this help with outreach to social conservatives and religious voters? Maybe. Marc Ambinder at the Hotline wrote an interesting post on this question.

Oppo dumps before Club for Growth meeting

Well, people are certainly throwing trash out. Why? You better make your opponents stink before the Club for Growth meeting…

The problem for the Club for Growthers is that they are going to have to choose between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Both of these have gotten smeared with economic oppo. first. For Romney there is an article in the Hill about Romney’s economic record. The issue is:

Anti-tax advocates are scrutinizing Mitt Romney’s (R) record as governor of Massachusetts and focusing on the fact that he increased fees in the state by $500 million and proposed nearly $400 million in business tax increases.

The article also points out something that the Brownback team even put on their blog:

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a fiscal-policy report card for 2006 that gave Romney a C grade, ranking him behind 11 other governors, including Democratic White House hopeful Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico.

And, of course, third, is the picture at my right… Romney said that tax cuts were lower priority than … campaign finance reform, among other things.

Then there is Rudy. This is an important issue for Rudy, as Tony Fabrizio points out to the Journal, the Wire has another version for non-WSJ subscribers:

The competition for the mantle of top tax cutter could be crucial if antiabortion and other activists seek another champion, as many are threatening to do. "Giuliani has to be pro tax cuts….It is the only thing that would even keep him in the race," said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican strategist. The candidate has a record of endorsing gun control, gay rights and abortion rights. "If he went south on taxes, that would be the absolute ending," Mr. Fabrizio said.

I don’t completely agree with Fabrizio, precisely because Rudy is trying to transcend issues. But, Rudy is clearly pushing that, including in a radio ad in Georgia. And people are taking out the trash on Rudy. Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO is writing about it (here, here, and here). Even the NY Sun, PoliticoNY Times, and the DNC are playing the game. (did I just repeat myself? NY Times and DNC … get it?) The basic allegation is that Rudy was against the Flat Tax before he was for it. And he had a poor spending record for a while.

Maybe it was right for John McCain to skip this after all….

Chuck Todd on GOP money race

This is great stuff. I’m just going to quote:

McCain: Up until last weekend, I was convinced McCain was destined for second place for the quarter. But something about the way McCain softened his financial expectations personally has me nervous that his campaign is having some fun at Mitt Romney’s expense. His campaign team members are masters of the expectation game. Apparently $25 million isn’t out of the question and that just might top Romney, which would be a moral victory for the once-and-future frontrunner who has a press corps desperate to write "McCain doesn’t have it this time" stories.

Romney: No candidate has more so-called "low hanging fruit" than Mitt Romney, which is why so many folks expect him to raise big money. From Boston, to Bainiacs (ex-Bain Capital colleagues) Mormons and Olympic folks, Romney has a lot of rich friends. Frankly, the campaign needs to finish first because the other aspects of the campaign (namely message) have been suffering.

Giuliani: The leanest campaign of the Big Six is Rudy’s and therefore it’s possible that Rudy finishes third in money raised but second in cash-on-hand which would be a nice feather for the campaign and showcase the spending war and fat payrolls both McCain and Romney are sporting. (BTW: Don’t be surprised if one or more of the campaigns delays payroll until after March 31 just to simply boost their cash totals; it’s an old trick, but still a good one)

McCain, Daschle, and 2001

The Hill says that John McCain considered leaving the GOP. Actually, it appears that it was Daschle who said it. I think that Powerline got it right:

My guess is that after the 2000 election, McCain was understandably at odds with President Bush; like most Senators, he has friends on the other side of the aisle and probably did grumble to them about the Bush administration. In early 2001, the Democrats were desperate to convince a Republican to change parties, and McCain, as the loser to Bush in the 2000 primaries, was a natural choice.

I have two meta-comments. First, I thought this story would get more legs. Not because it is a good story — it is poorly sourced — but because the conservative blogs are supposed to hate John McCain. How have they come down so far?  Power Line, Hot Air, Captain’s Quarters, Influence Peddler, Brainster, and David Brody have all come out saying, "no story here." Some have come out more negative:  Mitt Romney’s former driver at TownHall, Outside The BeltwayQandO, and Ace of Spades have been more negative. That’s a pretty good day for John McCain on this story.

Perhaps most telling is that Drudge, who hates McCain, has not posted on it at all… Read some more excerpts and thoughts after the jump

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NH bill may force moving up

One of the little known and little understood dramas of this presidential race is the date of the New Hampshire primary. Earlier this week James Pindell of the Boston Globe’s Primary Source wrote:

Like we have before we are going to honor the Iowa law,” said New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to reporters before a dinner honoring those involved in the New Hampshire Primary. “I hope [Iowa] will honor ours as well.”

New Hampshire law requires that its primary be at least a week before any similar election. The Iowa caucuses, in which voters express their candidate preferences to neighbors in living-room settings, have not been considered similar enough to justify moving the date of the New Hampshire primary.

But this year, the Democratic National Committee has voted to put a second caucus, in Nevada, between New Hampshire and Iowa. Since the structure of the Nevada caucuses is unknown, Gardner has reserved judgment on whether to move the primary date ahead of Nevada — even if being a week ahead of Nevada meant jumping ahead of Iowa as well.

However, according to the AP, today, a bill passed the New Hampshire House that clarifies that Nevada would be a "similar election":

Now Gardner must decide whether the Nevada caucuses constitute a "similar election" under state law. In the past he has had the implicit authority to do that, but Rep. Jim Splaine, a Portsmouth Democrat, wanted to make that explicit for Gardner and future secretaries of state.

House Bill 272 passed as part of the House’s consent calendar Tuesday.

Splaine has said he worries that other states or political parties disputing the primary date could sue over the secretary of state’s interpretation of a "similar election."

The article points out just how crazy this could get:

Gardner has not told anyone what he plans to do, but he is widely expected to leapfrog ahead of Nevada and Iowa. Once he knows who will be on the ballot, he can announce the date as little as three weeks ahead of the primary. The bill also makes the candidate filing period more flexible, so he can move it earlier than in the past.\