The Financial Times reports that Mitt Romney may be in danger of losing the critical swing state of Virginia this fall because of a potential spoiler from the right by the name of Virgil Goode, a former Congressman and Democrat-turned Republican-turned- Constitution party candidate who is now running for president. Romney's attempt to keep Goode off the ballot as a third party candidate in Virginia has evidently failed.

Goode, as the FT reports, has proposed a "near complete moratorium" on green cards until the unemployment level is below 5 per cent. Goode has a well- documented history of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bigotry, 

In a letter which appeared in USA Today on January 2, 2007 entitled: Save Judeo-Christian Values, Goode, who was then a Republican Congressman, wrote the following as part of an attack against the only Muslim in Congress, Democrat Keith Ellison (who is not an immigrant, but was born in the US).

"immigration is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. At least 12 million immigrants are here illegally. And diversity visas, a program that was initiated in 1990 to grant visas to people from countries that had low US immigration at that time, are bringing in 50,000 per year from various parts of the world, including the Middle East."

"Let us remember that we were not attacked by a nation on 9/11; we were attacked by extremists who acted in the name of the Islamic religion. I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world."

For almost half a century, ever since the 1965 reform law which abolished the racist "national origin" immigration quotas which had been in place since 1924, anti-immigrant bigots have been looking for an issue to which they could link their agenda of hate. In the 1990's when IIRIRA, with its many harsh anti-immigrant provisions, was passed by a Republican Congress in the dead of night without debate (and signed by a Democratic president who was enthusiastically acclaimed by a strongly pro-immigrant audience at the DNC convention this past Wednesday night) the anti-immigrant slogan was "backlash". Everyone knew what that meant - too many brown people in America.

After 9/11, the anti-immigrant code word was changed to "terrorist". Later, around 2005, it became "bird flu", among others. Now, there is an even more popular code word - "unemployment". True, Mitt Romney has not endorsed Virgil Goode's call for a green card moratorium. But Romney's harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric during the Republican primary, not to mention this year's Republican platform, reflect the same willingness to exploit anti-immigrant hate that Goode has shown in his career. 

Virgil Goode's call for a green card moratorium may seem to be part of the right wing lunatic fringe today. But will it be a mainstream Republican rallying cry tomorrow, especially if the Republicans win in November?