Gabby Giffords' latest campaign video is causing consternation in some Democratic circles, including one which is a major base of her biggest, and arguably most important supporter, Raul Grijalva. Some immigration rights and Hispanic civil rights activists are concerned that Gabby's latest ad 'Safe' conflates the issue of homeland security to avert terrorism, with border security to control the flow of undocumented immigration along the Mexican border, to the great detriment of their own political work.
Conflating these two issues in the public mind is anathema to many in the immigrants' rights movement. Some feel Gabby's rhetoric makes their political goal of creating a humane, just, and sensible package of immigration and border reforms harder to achieve. Gabby's rhetoric, though possibly helping her chances of election in what already looks to be a likely cakewalk over Graf, is seen as a cyical betrayal of their political interests.
Few, if any, are going to jump off Gabby's bandwagon as a result, of course. They recognize that the alternative is unacceptable. But there are quiet remonstrations of the candidate and her staff occuring behind the scenes. And I wonder how may Hispanic voters, seeing Gabby talking almost as tough on immigration as Graf in some cases, will simply elect to stay home, feeling that Gabby doesn't present a real alternative to Graf's policies. That's bad for the entire ticket. There will certainly be fences to mend after the election if Gabby wants to hold the allegiance of this vocal, well-organized and influential grass-roots faction of the party.