The August Amnesty End-Run Around the Conservative Base
One difference between the two major parties is that Democrats harness the energy of their base to fight legislative battles; Republicans make end-runs around their base to obviate their energy.
Let’s examine the GOP’s strategy for dealing with immigration. Instead of harnessing their energy to fight amnesty and hang it around the necks of Democrats in the red state electoral landscape next year, they are trying to outflank the conservative base with subterfuge in order to pass amnesty. National Journal has an inside story of the strategy:
House Republicans head home for the August break having done little to pass immigration reform, falling well short of Speaker John Boehner’s goal of voting on legislation before next week’s monthlong recess begins. But far from a failure of leadership, top House Republicans are casting the inaction as a tactical play designed to boost reform’s chances.
Keeping immigration on the back-burner helps avoid a recess filled with angry town-hall meetings reminiscent of the heated August 2009 protests where the backlash against health care reform coalesced. Doing nothing also starves Democrats of a target, Republicans argue.
“August was a central part of our discussions. People don’t want to go home and get screamed at,” a House GOP leadership aide said.
Just in case Members get screamed at by some Tea Party leaders, leadership has put out an amnesty kit to help propagate Obama’s talking points. Neil Munro of Daily Caller has the details:
Instead, the 24-page document highlights the House leadership’s strategy of reassuring GOP supporters with a step-by-step approach to passage of a comprehensive bill. This strategy highlights popular proposals for enhanced border security, but obscures the fact that any bill must be reconciled with the demands by Democrats for increased immigration of low-skill immigrants.
Judiciary “Chairman [Bob] Goodlatte believes that enforcement needs to come first before any legalization happens, and the immigration August recess packet makes that clear,” said an aide at the judiciary committee.
The talking points document touts the drafting of some popular immigration legislation that would boost enforcement of immigration laws in workplaces, borders and airports. It also provides a favorable description of bills favored by the GOP’s business interests, which would provide an amnesty to many illegal immigrants, and also increase the annual inflow of skilled guest-workers and immigrants.
As I noted last week, we’re in a sorry state when we can’t even pass good bills for fear that leadership will use them as shell games to up-end us with amnesty first. And in another ‘see, I told you so’ moment, take a look at what Chuck Schumer had to say about this “step by step” approach of House leadership.
“We would much prefer a big comprehensive bill, but any way that the House can get there is OK by us,” Schumer told CNN Wednesday. “I actually am optimistic that we will get this done.”
The fix is in. And remember, once this bill arrives in the Senate, we all know that Mitch McConnell will work in the shadows to ensure that McCain and Graham adulterate the House bills with amnesty, albeit without his fingerprints on the deal.
So just in case you thought that Republicans would be spending the August recess plotting how to hang Obamacare around the necks of the Democrats, think again. They are plotting how to distract the public from Obamacare and join with Schumer to pass amnesty.
It’s becoming clear that the powers that be within the national party are beckoning for a new base of voters. It’s incumbent upon us to search for new elected Republican leaders.