Lou Dobbs’ rumored political career has gotten off to an inauspicious start.
First, the former CNN host left the network for having become too opinionated for its purportedly neutral news reporting. Next, he quickly flip-flopped on his formerly rabid anti-immigration views to tell a Telemundo anchor that he was for legalizing undocumented immigrants, even inviting her to work with him for legalization. Perhaps, he hoped no one would notice — but word got out and the interview (which began with Dobbs apologizing that was not able to give his answers in Spanish) was soon seen by all those who care.
As a consequence, the conservative group Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) decided to withdraw its support for its once beloved advocate of proposals to reduce immigration.
ALIPAC used to like Dobbs so much that it launched a campaign to draft him as a presidential candidate and, according to the Daily News, “in 2008 raised $660,000 in pledges” towards that goal. But on Friday, the Draft Lou Dobbs for President website read: “Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is withdrawing support for Lou Dobbs after years, including the suspension of websites calling on Dobbs to run for President due to the perceived change in Mr. Dobbs’s stances on immigration issues.”
ALIPAC head William Gheen said on the website,
“While Mr. Dobbs claims his positions have not changed, however, that is not the perception of many of our mutual supporters.
“His recent comments on Telemundo and his national radio show supporting some kind of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is inconsistent with positions of ALIPAC and the views of most American citizens.”
It seems an ironic twist that Dobbs abandoned one of the controversial positions that caused his exit from CNN… as soon as he left the network.
The move has been read as an electoral calculation, since Dobbs has he hinted he could run against Democratic Sen. Robert Menéndez (who is Cuban-American) in New Jersey , a state with considerable Latino and immigrant populations.
Dobbs had become popular among some groups for espousing xenophobic anti-immigrant claims — like the Reconquista, the charge about leprosy-carrying immigrants, and others. (You can read comments from Dobbs’ supporters him on this blog.)
Now Dobbs has alienated an important group among those supporters and his nascent political career appears in doubt.