EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Now Is Not The Time for the Senate GOP to Divide Republicans
Not a day goes by these days that I don’t hear more about Senator Marco Rubio’s immigration plan and get asked my thoughts on it. The plan is just that — a plan. To my knowledge there is no legislative language yet. But from what I have heard I like the plan with some reservations.I am to the left of many of RedState’s readers when it comes to immigration. While I oppose the DREAM Act and amnesty, I have a moral problem with telling a child brought into the country by his or her parents and who has subsequently been raised here that the child, because of the parents’ actions, must now be sent back from the only country the child has known.I like most of what I’ve heard of Senator Rubio’s plan, though I still have some substantive problems, including my foundational belief that we should pursue no plan until we have secured the border.Nonetheless, I write not to praise or defend Senator Rubio’s plan, but to point out that should the Republicans in Congress actually pursue this plan this year, they will have fully become the stupid party and do more than any Democrat Super PAC to aid in Barack Obama’s re-election effort.A party, now united behind Mitt Romney, will suddenly find itself yet again divided through self-inflicted wounds dealt by Senate Republicans who, at the same time, are more and more willing to also consider raising taxes.
There is no good strategy to get Senator Rubio’s plan passed this year. Sadly, some in the Republican Party have decided they need to do what the Democrats do and embrace identity politics. For years the GOP tried identity politics issues to try to break the Democrat monopoly on the black vote. They finally gave up and have moved on to hispanic voters.The calculus is that if the GOP offers up an immigration plan, hispanics will fall all over themselves to become Republican. It’s almost as ridiculous as now publicly talking about being willing to raise taxes.Let me break down the politics of this for you.The Senate Republicans offer up the plan. Some Republicans will reject the plan as amnesty. The PrObama press corps will seize on every objection, no matter how legitimate, as crazy, racist bigots who hate brown people. You need to understand that there are many, many legitimate objections to a lot of what is out there publicly related to any Senate GOP immigration proposal. There are legitimate concerns about the rule of law. There are legitimate concerns that, given the birth dating issues, etc. there will be a whole industry of new counterfeit documents springing up to illegitimately grandfather people into the country who really are not supposed to qualify.Perhaps the opponents will outnumber the supporters. If so, the plan will die. The GOP will be dealt a PR disaster that Barack Obama will campaign on to paint Mitt Romney as the leader of a bunch of bigots. The PrObama press corps will seize on every objection, no matter how legitimate, as crazy, racist bigots who hate brown people. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.But let’s say the plan moves forward.There will be three scenarios.In the first scenario, the Democrats will push the plan’s supporters further and further left. The Democrats will insist more compromises be made. Many Republicans such as myself who might view the plan, as proposed, to be the ideal ultimate solution, will begin seeing the GOP cut deals to pass it that will undermine the deal and cause more and more objections from the base. The PrObama press corps will seize on every objection, no matter how legitimate, as crazy, racist bigots who hate brown people. Shampoo. Rise. Repeat.In the second scenario, the Democrats will push the plan’s supporters to cut deals and the supporters will decide they are being pushed out onto a bridge too far. The Democrats and prObama press will point to the GOP and say, “See, see, they want all or nothing. Everyone knows we have to compromise here and they won’t compromise. They are being . . . political.” Then the PrObama press corps will seize on every objection, no matter how legitimate, as crazy, racist bigots who hate brown people. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.In the third scenario, the PrObama press corps will seize on every objection, no matter how legitimate, as crazy, racist bigots who hate brown people. As the GOP soldiers on with the media and Democrats pointing out every objection as racist, the plan will pass. It will pass with a bipartisan majority in the House and Senate, but the Democrats control the Senate and, you mark my words, it would require Democrat votes to get passed in the House.The President have a huge photo-op. Marco Rubio will be on stage with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Democrat hispanic leaders, and President Barack Obama signing a bill the press will herald as a true sign of Barack Obama’s willingness to work across party lines for hispanic voters. He will get all the credit. Marco Rubio will get a handshake or maybe even a Presidential hug.Mitt Romney will not be seen.The goal of this election season is to elect Mitt Romney. Handing the Democrats multiple opportunities to paint the GOP as bigoted anti-brown people and potentially give the President a bi-partisan photo opportunity is definitionally stupid.The GOP should not dare trot this out this year.