From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Conservative politicians and opinion-makers say their not-so-fond farewells to Gov. Charlie Crist as a Republican. And both sides tackle the issue of illegal immigration, driven by Arizona's passage of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws last week, with camps divided as to whether the bill will promote racial profiling.
At conservative bastion RedState, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee makes his case for electing three conservative politicians by comparing them to Gov. Crist, who is, at the moment, still a Republican. "On a day when a candidate with no principles is about to switch to 'No Party Affiliation' it's nice to celebrate and support three conservative candidates [Chuck DeVore, Marco Rubio and Marlin Stutzman] who know what they believe - and why they believe it," Huckabee writes.
And at NRO, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer weighs in on which party Crist should caucus with should he run and win as an independent. "The fact is that you could ask him today and no matter what answer he gives you won't believe him because we now know that the pledges he makes have a three-week expiration date," Krauthammer said.
The Huffington Post editorial board doubts that the Arizona immigration law, which is supposed to take effect around July or August, will ever be enforced because it will be found unconstitutional. Citing organizations like the ACLU and The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, who have already announced their intentions to file lawsuits against the state, the editors write, "However well intentioned the Arizona law is in preventing immigrants from pouring through the borders illegally, the law as it is written, is open to different interpretation on what constitutes a 'reasonable search,' which carries with it the potential of civil rights court challenges on grounds that it violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against 'unreasonable searches.'''
AMERICAblog posts excerpts from an assessment from the Southern Poverty Law Center: "Arizona lawmakers have created a system that guarantees racial profiling. They also have usurped federal authority by attempting to enforce immigration law. Quite simply, this law is a civil rights disaster and an insult to American values. No one in our country should be required to produce their 'papers' on demand to prove their innocence. What kind of country are we becoming?"
DougJ at Balloon Juice considers the political implications of Republican-led states passing legislation similar to Arizona's: "'Secure the border first' seems the most likely position for Republicans here and it's probably viable, if not brilliant, politically, at least for the time being," he writes. "But I wonder how long they want to sustain the damage of Republican legislatures alienating Latinos with crazy legislation. Another four or five years of this could be catastrophic to Republican long-term prospects, even if the short-term politics aren't bad for Republicans. There will be no way they can compete in places like Arizona and Texas in ten years if this keeps up."
Neil Stevens at RedState suggests that fears of racial profiling - the standard liberal argument -- are evidence of a difference in perception of immigrants between the East Coast and Western states. "It just doesn't occur to the Beltway folk just how impractical their vision of the law really is," Stevens writes, comparing the proportions of "government-declared 'hispanic[s]'" in D.C., Maryland and Virginia with the much higher statistics in Arizona and California. "Do you east coasters think that we, living in states where government-defined 'minorities' are the majority (or quickly becoming so) of the population, stare at everyone who looks 'hispanic' and suspect something? That's just not how life is out here. Those names, those accents, those complexions are all perfectly normal to have out here. People with Mexican and other latin American heritage don't stand out!"
[EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this post inadvertently but incorrectly identified the state from which Mike Huckabee was governor. It has since been corrected.]