State Rep. Mark Mustio drew a rebuke from county GOP chair Jim Roddey for his racially-tinged ads in the very negative 37th District state Senate race versus fellow Republican D. Raja, and the Post-Gazette's editorial board took the rare move of withdrawing its endorsement of Mustio in the race. "This breach of decency, this appeal to voters' base instincts, shows Mark Mustio to be a seriously flawed candidate who will stoop to racism to get elected. He's not one of us," the PG's editorial said.
The paper's ed board last did that in a state Supreme Court race in November 1995.
Roddey has no power to compel the Mustio and Raja forces to withdraw their ads, especially in the decentralized local GOP infrastructure, but the move had plenty of symbolic power and echo worries many other Republicans have voiced privately the last few weeks. And it's part of a greater battle within the GOP over immigration: is the party going to signal it's against it (targeting even a legal immigrant like Raja), or embrace the American Dream essential to Republican DNA?
The Pittsburgh area's turnaround lately in getting new residents is largely due to the influx of workers from India, and it's time that people from both parties wise up and embrace the trend, writes Pitt economist Chris Briem in a post titled "As with the Irish who came before them":
It really is an issue far beyond this one race. So even in a region which ranks about as low as you can get, you can still find angst over the most legal immigration flows that exist. I will admit getting annoyed at people who say they are all for 'legal' immigration, but are just opposed to 'illegal' immigration. Yet when push comes to shove their rhetoric against legal immigration is unabated.
As low as international immigration is into Pittsburgh, it still is a big part of the turnaround observed in net migration into the Pittsburgh region. American demographics are pretty simple in a sense these days. Growth is really only coming from immigration. If you don't want immigration, that is your perogative, but you should plan on decline.
It really is time for Pittsburgh to stop being afraid of the future. It is either that or we start to plan on not having a future at all.