Remind me to never hire Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona to coach a football team. Congressman Salmon, a member of Speaker Boehner's "Border Crisis Working Group," recently took to Breitbart.com to urge Republicans to approve the group's recommendations, which include an amendment to the 2008 Wilberforce law (which the Obama administration has interpreted to guarantee semi-judicial hearings to virtually all of the Central Americans who show up at the border):
Mickey Kaus | All Articles
The 'Down Payment' Ploy, Coming Right Up: Immigration "comprehensivists" claim Obama's promised executive actions to protect illegal immigrants constitute a kind of doomsday weapon directed at the Republican party. If Obama acts boldly to offer de facto legalization to, say, "up to half of the undocumented population" of 11 million illegals living here, it will cement an unshakeable bond between Latino voters and their political champion -- or so the argument goes. The more Republicans complain and stamp their feet the more they'll "lastingly" alienate this growing ethnic bloc, predicts Ron Brownstein. **
Just when anti-amnesty forces thought they'd won ... It looks as if "comprehensive immigration reform" is dead for 2014. Everybody's saying it! Republican voters in Virginia and Alabama have spoken forcefully on the subject. Eric Cantor is now a promising young lobbyist. Meanwhile the chaos on the Texas-Mexico border demonstrates vividly that if you promise an amnesty, lots of people living abroad in unpleasant circumstances will heed the signal and come here whether or not they technically qualify under all the fine print of a law.
"Trust" is for Con Men: The reaction to the border chaos in Texas has accomplished one thing: It has exploded the lie at the heart of current "comprehensive" immigration reform plans. The basic structure of those plans is a swap of a) near-immediate legalization for b) increased border security in the future. The appealing idea is to let current illegals stay while taking the steps necessary to prevent further waves. The lie is the assumption that, once current illegals get their legalization, pro-immigrant activists in both parties will continue to support the second half of the bargain, the increased security.
Car and Pollster: I don't even want to think about the intricate political calculations involved in picking out Malia Obama's new car. The poor girl's going to get stuck with a Cruze... Update: A Volt, you say? She'd be lucky to get a Volt. People who have them like them. But it seems a little upscale, and would remind voters of Obama and GM then-CEO Dan Akerson's insane projections for electric vehicle sales. ...
Triangulation Beats Coalition Maintenance, Part XVIII: Major Garrett produces an excellent account** of Obama's meeting with immigration activists last Monday, before the president announced he'd take "aggressive" executive actions to "fix as much of our immigration system as we can" without going through Congress. Highlights:
Water, Carried: Politico's Seung Min Kim and Carrie Budoff Brown sum up "How immigration reform died." Some questions for them:
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.