The most interesting outcome of the last Republican debate, well, besides the Cain/"Blitz" exchange, was the dispute between the newt and Mitt on immigration. The newt evidenced a slight sense of compassion in an attempt to remain consistent with his Reagan-era immigration-reform record. The newt injected "humane" sentiments back into the immigration debate much to the consternation of some of the other candidates and the Republican base as well.
Lest we forget, the Utah Compact is a broad-based approach to influence the tone of the discussion about immigration in the State of Utah. It calls for humane treatment of our fellow human beings as we recognize some general principles that illegal immigration is a national problem of the civil law - not local, criminal law enforcement, and that families are important along with a free society and free markets. I signed it. Have you?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave some encouraging support to the Utah Compact, also to the consternation of the Republican base (try reading the letters to the editor in the SL Trib or the D-News on this subject some time - yikes!) And it warmed the hearts of minority Mormon Dems. It's nice to feel a little love sometimes.
While noting the newt is more "humane" on this issue than Mitt, I don't want to give too much encouragement to the amphibian candidate. He still lacks a lot of humanity in his bizarre theories about our President being some kind of Kenyan anti-colonialist and his general jihad against his fearful fantasies of sharia law imposed on the U.S. You would think the people who have trouble imposing Christianity would realize it's not that easy to impose religious law here. But then, the whole point of imposing religious law is to make people fear God, or satan, or each other. I guess if you want to fear-monger against "the other," you may get more mileage with disfavored religions than with other disfavored minorities, especially when you have voted for amnesty status for them in the past (The newt supported Reagan's amnesty laws - his defense now is that Reagan was somehow "duped" by Congress on this.) Let's watch and see if he starts throwing out little dog whistles on Romney's religion like Huckabee was so good at.
Mitt falls into another trap against his better self trying to play to the Republican base on immigration. Remember, this is the same Republican base like that in Utah County that defeated very conservative Congressman Chris Cannon because he supported the Bush/McCain reasonable approach to immigration (1. Secure the border; 2. Pathway to Citizenship; 3. Guest Worker Program). Romney's greatest failure as a potential candidate for president, in my opinion, is this pandering to the Republican base when he should know better. (His dad was better than that.) We'll discuss this in more areas as we go along, but this positioning on immigration is a good example.
People don't like to be reminded (scolded) by someone like the newt or anyone that they are less than "humane" or "heartless" as Perry also suggested with regard to Dream Act principles of humanity (and then had to apologize as his campaign crashed around him). I suppose people don't like to be called amphibians either. It's causing me some consternation that it was so easy to de-legitimize Gingrich by use of his first name when he was a "fringe" candidate (in a field of fringes). Now that he is riding to the top of the polls as a contender against Romney inevitability, he could actually end up as the party standard bearer, maybe even President! Yeesh! I'm going to have to start treating him more humanely too!