Whatever you do, spending a lot of time debating how many shells you can carry is a monumental distraction and only helps the other side. Just roll your eyes and move on. They’re not going to do very much about this anyway. They’re only doing it for show — and that’s the point. They don’t even care about this themselves. They just care about making you look bad. Don’t let them. Don’t engage.

Practice the Japanese martial art of aikido in which you win by using your opponent’s energy against him — rather like a basketball player who steps back from the player he’s defending and lets him stumble and fall. It’s called “pulling the chair,” as Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers discovered, much to his chagrin:

The immigration debate is another area in which to practice this aikido and pull the chair. The obvious point of this debate is to paint Republicans as bigots and cement the growing Hispanic vote for Democrats. Conservatives get on their high horse about the principles of lawful immigration and they are of course right. But again, so what?

In reality, illegal immigration is less of a problem than it has been in ages for a reason most people know: the employment picture, for once, is better south of the border.

This will change, most probably, but before it does, Republicans should seize the so-called high ground and lead the charge to solve the problem as quickly as possible, take all the phony racist accusations off the table, even if it means the dreaded word amnesty (which, as we know, didn’t bother Ronald Reagan) or some euphemism for it.

Don’t like that? Well, ask yourself this. How in the world are we going to repatriate eleven million illegal aliens without organizing one of the biggest bureaucracies this country (or the world) has ever known? And what are we going to do with that bureaucracy after the illegals have gone (if they ever do)? Is that something small-government conservatives, of all people, should want?

Moving beyond gun control and immigration, I have one more suggestion for Republican use of that great reverse-English aikido. Start accusing Democrats of racism for not fixing the economy when African-Americans have suffered worst of all. Do it loudly and often. It would be justified.