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Thursday, October 26, 2006

More ads

I saw Hatch's immigration ad today for the first time. I don't know when it started running, but probably within the past couple of days. It's pretty much as commenter Mark described it on another post: Hatch starts out in front of some trailers that house transient workers, saying they sleep twenty to a trailer without windows. Then he says that Pawlenty hasn't done enough to go after employers who hire illegal aliens.

So yes, this is an immigration ad, but unlike other Republican ads it really doesn't bash immigrants. It does go after the employers who hire illegal immigrants, which is in my opinion the right tack to take. As long as there are drug users, there will be drug dealers, and as long as employers are happy to look the other way and hire illegal immigrants, there will be people coming here looking for jobs. If it costs less to hire illegal immigrants, even with the occasional fine, then businesses will do it. That's the free market, folks.

Personally, I like Peter Hutchinson's take on the issue as described here, where he says he is proud to support in-state tuition for resident immigrants. So do I. But at least Hatch's ad isn't as anti-immigrant as some others.

For the record, I am pretty pro-immigration. I believe that we need to go after employers who are hiring illegal immigrants so that it becomes more expensive for them to hire illegal immigrants. But I also think we need to normalize the status of those immigrants who are already here. We also need to drastically overhaul our immigration system and generally let more people in here. I am opposed to guest-worker programs of any sort; let them stay and become citizens and members of the community if you need workers. While some people see immigrants and see only a drain, I think, "There's another person paying for housing, paying for food, paying for clothing, and generating economic activity." That's just me.

Another ad I saw tonight is an independent one from the DFL tying Pawlenty to Bush. A pretty common tactic among Democrats this year.

So when it comes to negative ads, Republicans have immigration. Democrats have Bush, the war in Iraq, veterans issues, corruption and ethics...a pretty long list. Not looking good for Republicans.


At 10:41 PM, October 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read that Republicans and other "expert" observers are puzzled that Pawlenty hasn't pulled away by now. Personally, I think the reason is that Timmy made his first few attack ads about how Mike Hatch was saying he wouldn't raise taxes, but would once he got in office. They didn't work that well because everybody knows that's exactly what Pawlenty did himself.

At 1:09 AM, October 27, 2006, Blogger Mark said...

I haven't seen the Hatch ad, but I'm assuming it was filmed in one of two southern Minnesota packinghouse towns, either Austin (DFL stronghold in southeastern Minnesota) or Worthington (center-right town in southwestern Minnesota), where the meatpackers are the largest employers in town and are paying 35-40 cents on the dollar to the inflation-adjusted wage levels compared to 1985. While there's an undeniably nativist underbelly that both Hatch and Pawlenty are appealing to, taking this stand was a necessary one for Hatch as he could not let Pawlenty win another gubernatorial election with a late-hitting anti-immigrant TV ad. And having grown up near Austin and knowing a number of people who still live there, I can attest to the fact that there is no shortage of justifiable outrage among the citizenry (largely displaced formerly middle-class packinghouse workers and their offspring) about the revolving door of immigrant labor that the current political climate permits and even embraces.

Pawlenty has run a horrible campaign thus far. I'm as surprised as the "expert" observers that the smooth-talking incumbent hasn't tamed the less-than-affable bulldog Hatch yet, but Pawlenty's complete unwillingness to play a serious game of offense is sinking him. Don't get too confident though. The last two Minnesota gubernatorial elections have been won via indisputable victories in televised debates, with poll numbers swinging wildly in the campaign's final 10 days in both 1998 and 2002. To my understanding, there are three remaining gubernatorial debates, and figure at least one of them will get widespread coverage from the Twin Cities media. Any combination of charismatic performances by Pawlenty or Hutchinson, and an underwhelming performance by Hatch could still change things dramatically to the bad guys' advantage.

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