I concluded my July 12 post by warning that Mitt Romney would be an even more dangerous president than Barry Goldwater promised to be with regard to liberal or "centrist" values, including the rights of racial minorities, which is what the immigration issue is all about.
Immigration was not a particularly important issue in the 1964 election, even though it would become so the following year, when, as I mentioned in my previous comment, President Lyndon Johnson signed the greatest immigration reform law in America's history to date, abolishing racial "national origins" quota restrictions which had been in effect since 1924.
But what was important in the 1964 election was ending racial segregation against African-Americans. On this issue, Goldwater was on the wrong side of history. This is one of the main reasons why he carried only six states that year (not ten, as I mistakenly wrote in my previous comment). All of these states were in the deep South, except for his own state of Arizona.
As I also pointed out last time, it is no accident that the six states which Goldwater carried in 1964 included those which sought to impose the most racially oppressive immigration laws in the nation now (before the Supreme Court intervened, much as it did in the case of the segregation laws then).
Yet, in my last comment, I concluded by stating that Mitt Romney was an even less attractive candidate than Barry Goldwater, at least for everyone who is not on the extreme right of the spectrum. How could this be true, especially since Goldwater, as we all know, openly embraced the idea of extremism in his famous comment, wanted to abolish the New Deal, supported the Southern segregation laws, did not seem to shrink back from the prospect to touching off a nuclear war, and had the support of every right wing "kook" (as the nut cases were called back then) in America?
So how could Mitt Romney, who is distrusted by his own right wing which has to keep whipping him back into line through Rupert Murdoch's tweets, and Wall Street Journal editorials; and who was at least willing to let himself be booed at the NAACP (or perhaps deliberately seeking to be booed), be worse than Goldwater?
The answer is in one word - character. Goldwater believed what he said and said what he believed. Some of it may have been, or seemed, crazy, but at least it was real. He did not change positions from day to day, or moment to moment, in order to pander to whatever group he was facing at the time.
Barry Goldwater, for all his shortcomings, all his potential dangers to the causes of racial equality, social justice, world peace and even democracy itself, did not have a "reset" button. What you saw was what you would get.
What a contrast with Romney, who has no shame about changing his positions every five minutes and then misstating his previous views and his entire record, who hides his investments and his tax returns, who claimed to be in charge of Bain Capital between 1999 and 2002 in an official SEC filing and then denied it in his public statements, and, more to the point, promises immigration "reform", while holding up Arizona's immigration law as a model for the nation and urging Hispanics to "self-deport"?
Even in those rare times when Romney may veer over to a "moderate" position, as he did when he called the health care mandate a "mandate", or a "penalty", rather than a "tax", which both the Supreme Court and the Republican right wing have seized on (for very different reasos), he was immediately yanked back into line by Fox News, William Kristol and the rest of the far right wing elite which controls and finances the Republican party.
Even if Romney had any principles, he would have no freedom to put them into practice if elected president. The real rulers of America would be the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove's bundlers and the Republican state politicians who do not want to let African-American or Hispanic US citizens vote, and whose immigration policies can be summed up in the single word "attrition" (as contained in the preamble to Arizona's immigration law).
Romney and his fellow right wing Republicans would also increase the divisions of wealth, power and class which are already tearing America apart. Many more middle and working class Americans would sink below the poverty line, even as the social safety net is ripped apart. As happened in Europe and America during the Great Depression, the search for scapegoats would intensify.
We are already seeing this in America. Obama is already deporting record numbers of brown people every year, using police-state tactics such as "Secure Communities". But this is not enough for the Kris Kobachs, Jan Brewers and Justice Antonin Scalias of America, or the rest of the Republican party, who are shouting that the federal government is deliberately refusing to enforce the immigration laws.
If Romney becomes president, the calls for punishing and expelling scapegoats will become even louder. Any idea who these scapegoats might be?
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.