Lou Dobbs, Looking at Public Office, Says He's in Favor of Policy He Used to Spin as "Shamnesty for Illegals"
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First, under pressure from above, Lou Dobbs gave up on the birther conspiracy theories.
Then he said that perhaps he'd been wrong to assert that illegal immigrants were spreading leprosy far and wide across the U.S. ( or at least he claims to have said he'd been wrong).
And now, in the ultimate betrayal of the faux-populist shtick he's been riding all these years, Dobbs told Telemundo (in an interview caught by the Wall Street Journal) that he now favors the very legalization process for unauthorized immigrants that he's long derided as a brain-dead "amnesty" policy pushed by pernicious liberal elites in order to keep down the wages of good, hardworking Americans.
If you've followed Dobbs' career at all, you'll understand that this is no standard-issue flip-flop:
Former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, pondering a future in politics, is trying to wipe away his image as an enemy of Latino immigrants by positioning himself as a champion of that fast-growing ethnic bloc.
In a little-noticed interview Friday, Mr. Dobbs told Spanish-language network Telemundo he now supports a plan to legalize millions of undocumented workers, a stance he long lambasted as an unfair "amnesty."
Mr. Dobbs twice mentioned a possible legalization plan for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., saying at one point that "we need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants under certain conditions."
Perhaps reports in The Onion are accurate, and Lou Dobbs really is an undocumented Mexican immigrant named Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez who's been passing as an American citizen since 1961.
The only other explanation for Dobbs' eye-opening reversal on comprehensive immigration reform is that the "fiercely independent" talk-show host is one of the greatest hypocrites the universe has ever known. Dobbs is reportedly eyeing a senate run in New Jersey. And here's a fun fact: in the 2000 census ( PDF), Jersey was one of just six states with a foreign-born population of more than a million! And according to America's Voice, it was one of the three states in which Latinos represented the highest share of new voters since 2000.
But I'm sure Dobbs' sudden embrace of what he's long derided as " shamnesty" is heart-felt, and a result of sober introspection on the issue rather than some crass political calculation.
One has to pause for a moment and consider how Dobbs' most loyal fans must be taking this news (in the unlikely event they're fans of Telemundo). He's always sold himself as a fearless, plain-spoken everyman whose lack of mushy-headed political correctness drove him to call it as he sees it, never mind the repercussions. And this ostensibly put him a world apart from those craven political elites who would sell out the white working-class in a heartbeat for a few dusky "new voters."
That straight-talking right-populism has always been his appeal, and Dobbs' most ardent supporters lapped it up. What a sad joke it is -- sold out by their most passionate and visible champion. And how insulting it is to those fans that Dobbs even thinks he can hold onto their devotion and also try to soften his image with Latinos by going jiggly on the very issue on which his' hard-line stance has long defined him.
He won't be able to do it. Dobbs' problem is one shared by anyone who goes too far with the anti-immigration rhetoric and then seeks public office -- it reliably pleases the base and loses general elections ( PDF). Dobbs' rants averaged 650,000 viewers out of a nation of more than 300 million; to grab a Senate seat he needs over half of New Jersey's 3.6 million voters.