Water, Carried: Politico's Seung Min Kim and Carrie Budoff Brown sum up "How immigration reform died." Some questions for them:
Mickey Kaus | All Articles
Obama's amnesty strategy isn't a partial shambles: A few months ago, I punditized that (contrary to reports in the press and threats by his allies) President Obama would not take executive actions that amounted to any kind of sweeping de facto amnesty,** at least not before the November election -- even if Congress refused to give him the "comprehensive" immigration legislation he wants. I figured Obama would simply keep his base happy with an incremental cutback in deportations, along the lines suggested by former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Sandweg. Meanwhile he'd hold out hope for a bill.
My colleague Matt Lewis buried the lede in his account of that after-action Cantordammerung robo-poll, which found that for a majority (52%) of Dave Brat voters the issue of "Cantor's position on immigration reform" was either the "main reason" or "a significant part of the reason" for their vote. (Breitbart's Tony Lee did not bury this lede.)
Mad Non-Libs: One thing President Obama is good at is baiting Republicans. I'm not sure he's not at it again with immigration.
You knew Majority Leader Eric Cantor was vulnerable--the press had already reported a non-trivial Anybody But Cantor vote in his district. But I would have settled for his challenger, Dave Brat, getting more than 40%. I was all ready to (legitimately) spin that as a warning shot across Cantor's bow. Instead, Brat went and actually beat Cantor--decisively, by 10 points, 55% to 45%. He and his campaign manager Zachary Werrell obviously ran a very effective race with minimal resources--against Cantor's millions. Independent anti-Cantor actors like the We Deserve Better group -- and various local conspiracies we don't even know about -- probably played a role as well.**
Bottom-Up Bipartisanship? Yesterday Dave Brat, the conservative economics professor who is challenging Majority Leader Eric Cantor in today's primary, sent out what I assume will be his final pitch to voters. Here's a sample:
"Muchas Gracias, Senor Cantor!" ** Famous ambitious positioner Eric Cantor probably thought he'd hit a Solomonic sweet spot last year when he dramatically announced his support of immigration amnesty for "the kids ... those who were brought to this country as children." The MSM would predictably love it -- compassion from a Republican leader! Yet conservatives might not hate him -- after all, he wasn't endorsing a general amnesty of all 11 million undocumented immigrants.*** And who doesn't like "kids"?
My friend Matt Miller, who's running for Henry Waxman's congressional seat, must be doing well in internal campaign polls because attacks on him are suddenly coming out of the woodwork. There's a last minute hit piece by Lee Fang in leftish Republic Report riddled with embarrassing errors which have now been corrected, but in a way that prevents readers from seeing how bad they were.
Trust Me! I Told Them Not to Screw You Until August: Twice now--on deportation policy and on admitting young illegal immigrants into the military -- the Obama administration has set in motion concessions to immigrant activist groups only to put those changes on hold in order to not inflame Republicans who might, left uninflamed, pass an immigration bill.
There's a lot of discussion (in my admittedly distorted Twitter feed) about whether embattled House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is duplicitously campaigning as an anti-amnesty fighter, given his heavily publicized initiative to confer citizenship on illegal immigrants who entered the country as children -- a proposal he defends with impressive pomposity ("One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents"). Cantor has continued to push his "DREAM"-like kids plan during his reelection campaign -- e.g. on Cavuto last week -- even as his website has been scrubbed of all mention of it..
Cheesy Kabuki -- Panicked Cantor Claims He's Anti-Amnesty Champion: Now we know how embattled GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor plans to hold on to his seat against a primary challenger. A week after lobbyist Haley Barbour praised
Cantor** the House GOP leadership's team for its commitment to passing an immigration amnesty -- and claimed that Republican voters support it -- Cantor dropped a mailer into GOP voters' boxes claiming that he's ... a fighter against amnesty! ("CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN ERIC CANTOR IS STOPPING THE OBAMA REID PLAN TO GIVE ILLEGAL ALIENS AMNESTY").
1) On Friday, the spokesman for GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the AP there would be no floor vote on the so-called ENLIST Act, a seemingly narrow amnesty (for young illegal immigrants who serve in the military) that could nevertheless be expanded into a much broader immigration amnesty by the Senate, which has otherwise been unable to get such a bill through the House. The Cantor camp's statement came after he had been (accurately) criticized for supporting amnesty by his primary opponent, Dave Brat.
Attention, GOP Presidential Candidates**: We're always told there's no magic bullet to solve difficult policy problems. But there is something close to a magic bullet for Republican presidential candidates looking for a way to protect borders and wages without conceding Romney-sized losses among Latinos. The bullet is Enforcement First, with its implicit promise of Amnesty Second.
A Cantor-First Immigration Policy: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to be in a real race to retain his seat in the GOP primary. His challenger, economist Dave Brat, has attacked Cantor as soft on immigration amnesty. The charge is accurate: Cantor's actually written his own version of the DREAM Act, legalizing young undocumented immigrants. He supports the ENLIST Act--a seemingly appealing measure (limited to DREAMers who enlist in the military) that would nevertheless give the Democratic Senate a chance to push a much larger amnesty in "conference." And he was reported to be a driving force behind including ENLIST in the defense authorization bill, which would give Harry Reid the opportunity to insert that larger amnesty in a must-pass bill.
Let's Run Old '98: If you're a top White House political aide, things look bleak for the 2014 mid-terms: slow recovery, stagnant wages, Obamacare distress, serial foreign policy humiliations and a sense that social change is maybe proceeding a bit too rapidly for universal voter comfort would seem to give Republicans an advantage in a relatively low-turnout election in which enthusiasm matters. A Republican Senate and lame-duckness looms.
Amnesty al Fresco: Buzzfeed scoops the Democrats' internal debate: Should Obama should grant de facto immigration amnesty-by-decree now or wait, lest Republicans use any decree as a reason to say they don't trust Obama and therefore won't move an immigration bill. (Aside: Of course they shouldn't trust Obama! They shouldn't trust the administration whatever it decides regarding a decree's timing. The mere fact that Obama is thinking about another de facto amnesty decree shows he is way too solicitous of Latino activists to reliably implement any enforcement provisions in a future amnesty bill such as an employment-verification system.)
Underestimated: When I started reading Tom Friedman's latest foreign policy op-ed, I didn't think he'd have the space to say that if only Congress passed immigration amnesty Obama could stand up to Putin. He only has a few inches, after all. But he got there! ...
... and the whole Clinton dynasty ... and maybe the Bushes too: Now that we are all Marxists, we need to uncover the materialist basis of even seemingly non-economic phenomena. Take Hillary Clinton's campaign/non-campaign for President. Is she running or not? Why won't she say?
What's the secret, Mario? For a while now, Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has been boasting he's arrived at some sort of Magic Secret Formula that will win the support of enough Republicans to get an immigration amnesty bill through the House. He tends to surface in the press every time the spirits of amnesty supporters need a boost. Here he is back in February ("We have legislative language"). Here he is last week: