Many on the right have remarked on the delicious video of Senator Chuck Schumer at yesterday’s Judiciary Committee markup of the amnesty bill saying “Do our Republicans have a pass on this one if they want?” with regard to one of the amendments being considered.
But the comment is about more than the jockeying over one amendment. All members of the GOP caucus in the Senate who end up voting for S. 744 are as a practical matter Chuck Schumer’s Republicans. The importance for the GOP of defeating this bill was inadvertently highlighted by comments from reporters last week; no doubt this has been said elsewhere, but my colleague Jerry Kammer watched Charlie Rose on Friday and here’s what he heard from Washington reporters regarding the relation of the immigration bill to the flurry of scandal facing the White House:
Bloomberg’s Al Hunt: “For the president to have a good second term, he has to get a good immigration bill through. That’s a sine qua non of everything. If he doesn’t get that through, it’s going to be really a dreadful year.”
CNN’s Jessica Yellin: “[President Obama] actually could have a very successful second term (despite) the controversies he’s facing today. If he gets immigration reform done, that would be a major legacy accomplishment. . . .They’re hoping here [at the White House] that if he does immigration that would break the narrative that he is entrenched in, this sort of swirl of ineptitude and controversy, and put him on a solid footing again.”
In other words, any Republican pushing for the passage of the Schumer-Rubio bill is working — in effect — to help Obama have “a good second term” and “break the narrative” of scandal and put Obama “on a solid footing again.” This wouldn’t matter if “a good second term” meant the president would push for a flat tax, entitlement reform, and strict-constructionist judges. But we know he won’t.
And I’m pretty sure increasing Obama’s political capital so he can more successfully press for expanded government is not what Republican voters sent people to Washington to do. The Obama administration has hit the mat, the referee is starting the count, and in rush Marco Rubio, Grover Norquist, and their fellow travelers to pick Obama up and get him back in the fight.
Nor is this just a matter of competing teams; conservatives also rose up when a Republican president, backed by a similar bipartisan group of congressmen, pushed essentially the same package.
In an echo of that 2007 uprising against Bush’s amnesty proposal, a large group of prominent conservatives and tea-party activists have signed an open letter, released today, calling for the defeat of the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill. It’s not actually titled this, but it may as well have been called “We Are Not Chuck Schumer’s Republicans.” Online at StopGangof8.com, the letter says “the Schumer-Rubio bill suffers from fundamental design flaws that make it unsalvageable.” Its bill of particulars:
We have a variety of concerns; some of us share only one, others share all. Among these concerns are that the bill:
- Is bloated and unwieldy along the lines of Obamacare or Dodd-Frank;
- Cedes excessive control over immigration law to an administration that has repeatedly proven itself to be untrustworthy, even duplicitous;
- Legalizes millions of illegal immigrants before securing the borders, thus ensuring future illegal immigration;
- Rewards law breakers and punishes law enforcement, undermining the rule of law;
- Hurts American job-seekers, especially those with less education;
- Threatens to bankrupt our already strained entitlement system;
- Expands government by creating new bureaucracies, authorizing new spending, and calling for endless regulations;
- Contains dangerous loopholes that threaten national security;
- Is shot through with earmarks for politically connected interest groups;
- Overwhelms our immigration bureaucracy, guaranteeing widespread fraud.
The signers include Gary Bauer, Eric Erickson, David Horowitz, Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Allen West, and dozens of others, including NR-niks Rich Lowry, John O’Sullivan, Victor Davis Hanson, Andy McCarthy, Stanley Kurtz, Peter Kirsanow, John Fonte, and yours truly. Also, lots of grassroots leaders from around the country, as well as some not-really-conservative opponents of the bill, like Mickey Kaus and David Frum (who’s been hammering away at the absurdity of the proposal at the Daily Beast and CNN).
The letter appears to be a reply to a recent letter supporting the Schumer-Rubio bill signed by Grover Norquist, Linda Chavez, Tamar Jacoby, Richard Land, Fred Malek, et al. The title of the that letter was “Statement from Conservative Leaders about Pending Immigration Legislation,” but it might as well have been “We Are Chuck Schumer’s Republicans.”