Over the past few months, I’ve been advocating for a proactive strategy on immigration. It would be great for conservatives to go on offense and highlight Obama’s callous disregard for the rule of law. They should pass enforcement bills and block funding for Obama’s amnesty programs in budget bills. Unfortunately, because we are not blessed with control over the levers of power, any attempt to address this issue – even in a conservative pro-active way – will backfire.
Earlier today, Politico quoted a leadership aide who summed up exactly what we believe to be leadership’s strategy on immigration:
“Our members, by and large, want to get something done. They'd like to get a solution, but we're not going to be taking up a comprehensive bill. So, to the extent that you really do want to get something done, you better start trying to figure out how to do it through a piecemeal process. We're not going to suddenly collapse into a comprehensive bill.
“The odds of this are very low, but at the end of a process -- if we’re able to advance some piecemeal bills -- you could potentially get something broader. There's the growing understanding in our party that we’ve got to deal with the legalization/citizenship issue, but that doesn’t affect the desire to get the enforcement right. So if you're going to go and start stitching something together, our guys are going to have to have the enforcement stuff under their belt -- border security, internal enforcement, E-Verify, all that.
“We are never, ever going to put immigration into an open-ended conference [committee with the Senate], because it could give rise to motions to instruct on the floor, and we're not going to expose our members to that. So, if you're going to have a comprehensive bill, you're going to have to get a bunch of stuff individually through the House, and then you're going to have to negotiate what we would call a pre-conference bill and it would basically have to be written. Then you would go into conference and come out right away with the bill.”
The amnesty shell-game really exposes the pitiful state of the party leadership. The establishment has become so out-of-touch with the grassroots of the party that we are now forced to oppose even bills we would like to support. Leadership will obviate our good will and use it to make an end-run around the base by going to conference, parachuting in bad provisions at the last minute.
We saw the same thing with the farm bill earlier this month. They co-opted our message of splitting agriculture from food stamps, only to add in more permanent subsidy programs. Moreover, we all know that they will reinsert the food stamps into the bill when they go to conference.
We are witnessing the same thing with the effort to defund Obamacare. Leadership is pushing its members to co-opt our defund effort by signing onto random defund bills, all the while undermining the only real effort to stop Obamacare – defund the behemoth through a must-pass bill.
It’s becoming clear that we will never effectively fight the Democrats unless we replace the current crop of leaders in the House and Senate. As long as the same obtuse leaders remain in place, even the best members will be forced to make tough choices against their better judgment. Why should we continue supporting failed leadership?