SINCE HE LEFT HIS JOB as CNN anchor a few weeks ago, Lou Dobbs has cast around for something to do with all his new-found free time. He has hinted at running for President of the United States or for U.S. Senate from New Jersey in 2012, against incumbent Robert Menendez. Then, according to a New York Times blog, there were rumors the other day that he has been in talks with CNBC "to conceivably host a prime time program for CNBC. He could also become a commentator for the business news network."
To do any of those, he will likely need to change his image as a fire-breathing anti-immigration zealot, and he has appeared to retreat from some of those positions in recent public statements.
For example, on the Spanish-language Telemundo network last week, he said he was there "to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue and work with those who will work toward a real solution, and not simply a continued dialogue. I think we've had an ongoing dialogue in this country for a number of years, two failed efforts at comprehensive reform. I think we need to honestly come together, those who have different views on the issues of illegal immigration and border security and make some real progress toward an understanding and a compromise that will be helpful to those who are in this country illegally."
Asked whether he thinks its fair that many in the Latino community see him as an adversary because of his oft-stated views on immigration and characterization of illegal immigration as the source of many problems in the U.S., Dobbs said no. "[I]t has been the efforts of the far-left to characterize me in their propaganda as such. But my record is clear. I've written three books, best-selling books, that lays [sic] out my views on illegal immigration clearly. I've spoken about illegal immigration for six years. I have said from the outset that I wanted a rational, effective, humane, immigration policy in this country. And I have also said that we have to have control of our borders particularly between the United States and Mexico if we are to be able to control immigration. Without being able to control immigration, there is nothing that can be done."
For many in the pro-immigration community, it will take a lot more for Dobbs to rehabilitate his reputation. There is enough ambiguity in these words to enable him to advocate exactly what he has in the past, and there is so much for him to retreat from. But in the anti-immigrant community, they read his remarks much more clearly, and they sense betrayal, which means Dobbs is a bit betwixt and between right now.
On the Web site DraftLouDobbsforPresident.com, its proprietor, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said it "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.
"While Mr. Dobbs claims his positions have not changed, however, that is not the perception of many of our mutual supporters,' said William Gheen of ALIPAC. '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.'...
"...Dobbs created shock waves last week when news broke about his pro-Amnesty comments on Telemundo that appear to be a departure from his prior support for existing immigration laws. ALIPAC circulated the video of the entire Lou Dobbs interview on Telemundo to over 30,000 national supporters."
Does this mean we'll see DraftTomTancredoforPresident.com sometime soon?