Drudge led this morning with multitudinous reports about the House Republican leadership’s determination to push forward this year with major immigration reform, apparently mostly at the behest of big-business executives. And now Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is weighing in, saying there is a “general consensus that something big has to happen.”
What sort of bubble is Priebus living in? The only general consensus to that effect is among the more leftist groups of the Latino lobby, the corporate chieftains, and the academic Left. Nobody would accuse Priebus, or John Boehner or Paul Ryan, of consorting with the first and third of those groups, but their coziness with the second group lends credence to the Left’s generations-long charge that the GOP is the party of corporate whoredom.
Now, that may not be a fair charge across the board, but this bizarre push for immigration reform, at a time when the Democrats are on the run on Obamacare and desperately want to change the subject, certainly lends itself to that interpretation.
The Buchananite Right is against doing immigration reform this year. National Review’s editors are against it. William Kristol is against it. Unions have historically opposed the idea — and most union and non-union laborers other than the illegals themselves still do. The Heritage Foundation is against it. Most conservative grassroots activists groups are against it. The always-wise Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is against it. The talk radio hosts are against it. Leading conservative (and centrist) bloggers — Michelle Malkin, and the folks at RedState, and Mickey Kaus — are against it. The libertarian Jack Kemp disciple Deroy Murdock is against it. Polls consistently show the public as a whole ranks immigration reform way down the list of priorities. Polls consistently show that most Republican voters oppose any immigration reform that doesn’t require absolutely secure our borders before any other reforms are considered. And the experience of President George W. Bush’s attempt at reform, which split the Republican party so badly that it played a big role in causing the loss of Congress in 2006, argues heavily against it.
If the House leadership wants its members to have their phone lines jammed with angry callers, their e-mail inboxes full of furious messages, their town meetings featuring absolutely toxic atmospheres, and (if anything actually is signed into law) their voters stay home in droves in November, then the leadership will continue to pursue this idea.
Or they could back off from immigration reform, focus on Obamacare, offer free-market fixes for the health-care system, and sail to victory in the fall.
Seems like an easy choice to me.