As Iraq winds down, illegal immigration will be a major, perhaps even the major, issue in the 2008 presidential election, particularly among primary voters who normally vote Republican. If you don't agree with this premise, stop reading here as this posting is not for you.
This Washington Post editorial itemizes several ways in which Rudolph Giuliani was pro-immigrant (mostly illegal) as mayor of New York City. Now as he runs for the Republican nomination for President, he says he is anti-illegal immigrant. That constitutes a major flip-flop, of the same order of magnitude as several of those made by Mitt Romney as he moved from the liberal politics of Massachusetts to the much more conservative politics of the Republican primaries. If the WaPo's fact-checkers have done their job well, if the claims hold up, Giuliani's former tacit acceptance of illegal immigrants will come back to haunt him.
I believe many Republican primary voters will only pull the lever for candidates they trust to be tough on illegal immigration. That leaves out most of the front-runners: McCain, Romney and Giuliani. Of these three, McCain has the worst record but it appears the other two aren't reliable on this issue either. Does anyone know Gov. Huckabee's record on illegal immigration? I think Thompson is clean, but I'm not certain of it.