Don’t Be Fooled, Amnesty Is Part Of An Effort To Drag The GOP Further To The Left
Notice how we don’t hear much about how Hispanics are “natural conservatives” anymore? Lately all the talk is about how the GOP has to “change” and “adapt” to the reality of minority voters.
I cite Jennifer Rubin not because I think she’s particularly insightful but rather because I think she’s a useful mouthpiece of a certain kind of Republican. I’d call them Bob Dole/Bob Michal types others use the catchall of “the establishment”. Whatever you call them, there’s a certain strain of Republican who sees Ronald Reagan as the outdated rightward fringe marker of the GOP and is trying to bring the party back to what they see as its rightful place…a sidekick for, not a competitor of, the Democrat party.
He’s Rubin laying out what she sees as the GOP”s problems.
So let’s recap. The GOP stopped reaching out to minorities. It adopted a harsh tone, opposing immigration reform and threatening to round up anyone here illegally. And its extra-harsh rhetoric on the evils of government (rather than the reform of government) didn’t connect with minority voters, who saw no obvious appeal in a message that castigated all receivers of benefits as moochers.
The exceptions, not surprisingly, have been the governors. In 2009, Chris Christie took 32 percent of Asian voters in New Jersey. In 2010 Rick Scott got 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida. In 2010 Brian Sandoval got 33 percent of the Hispanic vote and 40 percent of the Asian vote in Nevada. Rick Perry got 11 percent of the African American vote and 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in Texas. And in 2012 Mike Pence got 14 percent of the African American vote in Indiana.
In other words, when Republicans eschew harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on improving health care, schools, etc. they can make the case to a much greater percentage of minorities. This should surprise no one, but the bearers of the anti-immigration reform and anti-government (as opposed to pro-reform) message don’t seem to get it. Hopefully GOP primary voters do and will choose candidates wisely.
First and foremost I’d like see Rubin name a single figure of any import in the GOP who ever suggested rounding up illegal immigrants. But let’s put aside a “conservative” who is so quick to smear her alleged compatriots using the same tired lies as Ted Kennedy and focus on what she advocates.
Beyond that, it’s clearly the goal of some Republicans to strangle in the crib any efforts at controlling, let alone shrinking the government. They simply want the GOP to be the Tory party…control some of the wilder impulses of the left and manage the welfare state better but under no circumstances actually rock the boat by challenging the shared big-government assumptions of the political elite.
2010 was a scary wake up call that almost spiraled out of control.
Mitt Romney’s nomination was a good check on the wilder impulses of the right. Here was a guy who had implemented ObamaCare at the state level. Romney never ran on shrinking government, he ran as a competent manager who would tinker at the edges but basically keep the ship of government moving along nicely.
Once the darling of the right, with amnesty Rubio has managed to marginalize himself nicely. He’ll help deliver amnesty in the Senate and be key to pushing the GOP House to cave and join the “right thinking people” who know best. As a bonus, when this is done he’l have damaged himself with the right to point he won’t be a rallying point for those unfashionable tea party types.
Notice how Rubio hasn’t been hit in the MSM for his 180 degree change on amnesty? There are rewards and protections for playing ball. I predict we’ll see more “growth in office” by Rubio as he realizes how badly damaged his brand is on the right.
To be clear, I don’t believe this is some sort of nefarious plot run in the shadows by a cabal of puppet-masters. It’s simply the natural tensions created in a large political party. What we are seeing is a massive disconnect between the party in government and it’s permanent infrastructure on one side and the activist base on the other. While I think while it is destructive of the country as a whole, a move even further to the left makes perfect sense for the GOP.
I used to think the GOP needed better liars, candidates that sounded liberal and reasonable back home in purple states but voted hardcore rightwing in DC. The Democrats are great at producing these candidates. Guys like John Tester, Tim Johnson or Joe Manchin talk all sorts of good ol’ boy crap back home but vote hard left as they are told when necessary back in DC.
The reason the GOP doesn’t produce candidates like that is most professional politicians are go-along, to get along types. They want to be liked, to be seen as one of the “right kinds of people” . While the cultural cues and rewards remain firmly in control of moderates and liberal, most people will want to be seen as part of that tribe. It takes a special kind of person who will stand up for years on end while being hammered by local and national media, by accomplished people they respect or who will provide a cushy job when all is said and done. Conservatives simply don’t have sufficient rewards to offer compared to what liberals and moderates do.
2010 marked the greatest victory of the grassroots in a generation. That the other side was able to co-opt one of the stars of that victory is prof that it it’s a fight the grassroots can’t win. In the end, the power of the permanent professional political glass to woo and reward defectors will always trump the base’s greatest threat…a primary challenge. For every Mike Lee, Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, there will always be many more Bob Corkers, Rob Portmans and sadly, Marco Rubios.