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Bloggings: Obama's Weak Performance In The First Presidential Debate Is An Ominous Sign For Immigrants. By Roger Algase

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The word "immigration" was not mentioned in the first presidential debate on Wednesday, October 3, between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But does this mean that immigration supporters should write off this debate and go on to talk about other things? Only if one believes that there is no difference in the immigration policies that the two candidates would pursue during the next four years in the White House. 


But if one believes that there is, or might be, any difference between the two candidates on immigration, then the October 3 debate could turn out to have been one of the most critical immigration events of this entire year, if not the past four years. No one can seriously doubt that the debate brought Mitt Romney closer to the White House. 


It is not within the scope of these comments to discuss the details of the debate, or to suggest any conclusions about who was more accurate as to the facts or who made better proposals on the various non-immigration related issues. On matters of substance, many pundits and voters may feel that the president held his own or even won on various points. It might not be easy to argue with them.


But presidential debates are rarely about substance; they are about appearances. And no one can get around the fact that the president came across as unfocused and unprepared at best, and appallingly weak at worst, against a surprisingly confident, focused and aggressive challenger.


There can be little doubt that Romney, who was not all that far behind in most of the polls before the debate, will make significant gains or even pull ahead as a result of the president's disastrous overall performance. The prospect of a Romney presidency has to be taken very seriously and his views on immigration have to be looked at more closely than ever before. 


What are these views? This question is the most troubling thing about the prospect of a Romney presidency. Romney's views on immigration, as on most other subjects, change from moment to moment, depending on which audience he is talking to (or pandering to) at any given time. In this respect, Romney's posture at the debate on Wednesday was entirely consistent with his chameleon-like approach to immigration.


It is simply impossible to pin Romney down on any issue. His policy on immigration, as on almost everything else, boils down to two words: "trust me". But how far should we trust the leader of the party of Kris Kobach, Jan Brewer, Charles Grassley and Lamar Smith on immigration policy if he gains the White House? On November 7, this may be a more than theoretical question. 


Obama's weakness in standing up to Romney at the debate also mirrors his failure to stand up against the Republicans' deportation mania, which Obama has adopted as his own policy over the past four years. Even though immigration was not mentioned, the debate may be a warning of worse days to come for immigration supporters.


 



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