Heilemann on Newt’s Border Crawl

Photo: Roberto Parada

In the magazine this week, John Heilemann considers the dangers of the Republican Party’s position on immigration, both for new GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich and for whoever ends up winning the nomination. Gingrich’s debate assertion that the government should “be humane in enforcing the law” against illegal immigrants will continue to be exploited by Mitt Romney’s team, which, because of Gingrich’s big, late surge, now plans on “bringing down a ten-ton shit­hammer on his head.” While immigration is a vulnerability on Gingrich’s path to the nomination, the primary’s tea party leanings also risk alienating Hispanic voters in 2012 swing states. Heilemann recalls the words of Karl Rove, who after the 2008 election said, “An anti-Hispanic attitude [would be] suicidal” for Republicans.