From Robert Creamer in the Huffington Post:
Romney’s bad week began on Friday, June 15, when the Administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security would defer action to remove the “Dreamers” — undocumented young people who came to this country before the age of 16 and were less than 30 years of age. This includes the young people who would have been covered by the Dream Act that passed the House and received a majority vote in the Senate in 2010 — back when Democrats still controlled both bodies. Unfortunately, the Dream Act did not receive final passage in the Senate because it was blocked by a Republican filibuster. [...]
[A]s a political matter, it was also a game changer. President Obama already led Romney among Hispanic voters by ratios of two or three to one in most polls. But over the last three years, Republicans have successfully blocked all of his attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, and his bold action for the Dreamers sent a bolt of electricity through the Latino electorate. His action will almost certainly turbocharge efforts to boost Hispanic voter turnout that will likely be decisive in key swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida — and may still put Arizona in play. [...]
[R]omney spent the week dodging questions from reporters — and Dream students — about whether he would leave President Obama’s action in place if he were elected. The political impact of these events was on display at last week’s conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Romney was given tepid, polite applause. Obama received a thunderous ovation.
In his speech to the group, Romney pledged that he could be trusted to “keep his promises.” The next day, the President pointed out in his remarks that one of those Romney “promises” was a firm pledge to “veto the Dream Act” earlier in the campaign.
Creamer’s article was written prior to the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday on SB 1070. The Court struck almost the entire law save for the most controversial provision allowing police officers to check the immigration status of those they pull over, ostensibly for other crimes. The court deferred action on that provision, waiting to see if it is indeed applied in a discriminatory fashion, as it will be. If you don’t think so, and you think every blue eyed blond haired white person in Arizona is going to be asked their immigration status, then I will buy you a drink. So eventually, that part of the law will be struck down as well, unless of course the conservatives on the Court no longer think the 14th Amendment has any force and affect.
So what was Romney’s response to the Court’s action? When he finally gathered enough courage to take a stand after 12 hours of ducking the press and having his flunkies sound like automotons refusing to budge from talking points, he announced that is experiencing what you humans call “disappointment.” He wants the Court to give more latitude, not less, to the states. The rest of his statements on the court’s ruling had to do with President Obama’s failure to pass an immigration reform law, even though an immigration reform law (the “Dream” Act) did actually receive majority votes in both chambers of Congresss before his own Republican Party filibustered it to death.
Immigration is a horrible issue for Romney. His party, if it is to remain a competitive national party rather than a racist whites only Southern party in the generation, must attract Hispanics. But if he dares changes any of hardline anti-immigration and anti-Hispanic policies so he can appear moderate in the general election and appealing to Hispanics, he risks depressing racist White turnout, which is the base of his party. And he needs Bushian 2004 intensity of the party base to win this election. Any depression of the GOP base turnout will doom him to a landslide loss.
Hence Romney’s cowardly hiding yesterday. Hence his mealy mouthed response expressing “disappointment.” Hence his Obama bashing. I remember reading somewhere, and I have forgotten where, that GOP operatives’s worst scenario for this week was to have an immigration ruling striking down 1070 on Monday, while the Obamacare ruling waited until Thursday. The dream scenario for the GOP was to have both rulings together on Monday, so that the news on Obamacare would drown out any immigration news. But their worst case scenario happened instead. Such a pity.
Back to Creamer….
But last week’s development on the immigration and the Dream Act [and this week's Immigration ruling] did more than damage Romney with Hispanics and help mobilize them to participate in the fall election. It also turned around the political momentum in the race. In politics, like sports, momentum — the bandwagon effect — is a big factor. Last week it returned to the Obama camp after several weeks of bad economic news and Romney’s consolidation of his base as he secured the GOP nomination.
Romney had sought to continue his previous momentum through a bus tour that carried his economic message to New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan — all states the President had won in 2008 — all critical to the outcome in 2012. The first day of his bus tour was eclipsed by the President’s action on immigration. Day two, the big news was the campaign’s decision to wave off a planned stop at a Wawa store in Quakerstown, Pa., when 150 Democrats and former Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania gathered there to greet Romney’s bus.
Matters were made worse when, after diverting to a more friendly Wawa, Romney marveled at the “touch screen” sandwich machine that local Wawa customers had used for a decade — recreating the out of touch moment first experienced by the first President Bush when he was awestruck by supermarket bar code scanners in the early 1990’s. Of course, Romney had already shown his contempt for convenience stores early in the campaign when he complained that what turned out to be cookies made by a favorite Pennsylvania bakery looked like they came from a 7-11 store.
And things just kept getting worse for the GOP. On Monday of last week, a group of nuns launched their own press tour: “Nuns on the Bus — the Nuns Drive for Family, Faith and Fairness.” This two-week press tour — complete with a bus wrapped with their slogan and powerful testimony from Catholic Women Religious — focused on the fact that the Ryan-Romney-Republican budget does not square with Catholic values. The “Nuns on the Bus” tour generated press coverage of Biblical proportions everywhere it went — including key swing states in the presidential and congressional races. It continues until July 3.
Finally, at the end of the week, the Washington Post published a major story exploring how — when he was head of Bain Capital — Romney was a “pioneer” outsourcing American jobs abroad. All the Romney campaign could do to respond was quibble over the term “outsourcing” and “offshoring.”
In a campaign stop in Florida on Friday, President Obama argued that we don’t need a “pioneer in outsourcing” in the Oval Office. Instead we need someone who will work every waking moment to create American jobs. Obama campaign senior adviser, David Axelrod, tweeted that Romney is running to be “Outsourcerer-in-chief.”
There’s no other way to put it. This issue is devastating for the Romney candidacy. That’s because it simultaneously moves the two groups of voters that affect the outcome of any election: persuadables and mobilizables.
It is particularly important to white working class swing voters that are President Obama’s weakest swing demographic. At the same time it energizes his base — especially organized labor and progressives.
The campaign is going to be full of bad weeks for both sides. And Mitt Romney just experienced his first bad week, and his own actions on immigration has extended it into a two week event.
Will the Court striking down Obamacare save him?