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The Dem Playbook For 2006: No Amnesty

Stan Greenberg and James Carville are out with a new strategy memo for Democrats which is very interesting reading, as always. First, they outline the GOP playbook:

The Republicans have a strategy, which is familiar to us from 2002 and 2004, but in a very new context. Rove is working methodically, issue after issue, to energize Republican loyalists and above all, to consolidate the Bush 2004 voters - one-in-five of whom are now voting Democratic for Congress. Half of the undecided voters backed Bush in 2004. So, the Republicans will work "no amnesty," "cut and run," "gay marriage," and "tax and spend" because they have no choice. But it is important to understand how far they have to go. First, just 50 percent of Republicans "strongly approve" of Bush, down from 76 percent at the beginning of 2005 and 61 percent at the beginning of 2006. Recent efforts have left the number unmoved. Second, the number of voters identifying themselves as Republican has dropped from 37 percent to 34 percent since the last election (comparing the last five Democracy Corps polls), which may make the Republicans even more desperate. Expect that Rove and the Republicans will only become even more intense in the use of these issues.

Next Greenberg and Carville describe how to neutralize and/or undermine the GOP's most potent issues. The section on immigration was especially interesting:

No Amnesty; Enforce the Laws. The San Diego experience teaches us that Republicans can turn nuance into "amnesty". Indeed, in this survey, one of the Republicans' strongest definitions for the election centers on immigration and enforcing laws. However, the Democratic message (tested in earlier surveys), done right, can contest this effectively. It emphasizes no amnesty and a respect for the law, even as we allow a path to citizenship for the law-abiding. Democrats should attack Bush and the Republicans for losing control of the borders and no longer penalizing employers for employing illegal immigrants. We are for expelling the criminals and allowing a path to citizenship for the law abiding immigrants who pay taxes. Our approach is no amnesty and respect for the laws. [emphasis added]

Isn't the italicized phrase another indication of support for an "enforcement first" immigration policy? Remember, it was the Democracy Corps' own poll from last month that showed 48% of respondents "strongly supporting" Bush's decision to put National Guard troops on the border to "increase border security and limit illegal immigration into the country." Another 17% "somewhat" supported the policy, bringing overall support to 65% with only 31% opposed (11% somewhat against and 20% strongly against).