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Incompetence May Save GOP In 2014—But Showdown With Its Base Lies Ahead
With Treachery is brewing amidst the Republican leadership, as Speaker John Boehner, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte, and Congressman Paul Ryan are trying to sneak through nation-breaking Amnesty/ Immigration Surge legislation. However, patriots can take some solace in this astounding effort of political tomfoolery—for once, the GOP’s characteristic incompetence and short-sightedness may work to our advantage.
Goodlatte is a typical example of the kind of the tactical blundering that epitomizes the tragicomic performance art that is now the Grand Old Party. A key figure in any attempt to change immigration laws, Goodlatte quietly took anti-Amnesty language off his official House website earlier this year. Unfortunately for him, the news was reported on National Review and linked to by the Drudge Report. [Website of Top House Republican Drops Opposition to Amnesty, by Fred Bauer, January 10, 2014]
While we can only hope NR Editor Rich Lowry and the rest of the Kiddie Cons read the thousands of irate comments that this provoked, Goodlatte apparently did. Within days, the Congressman restored anti-Amnesty language to his website, with the absurd excuse that “Congressman Goodlatte’s website is updated periodically and unfortunately during an update early last year, his position on amnesty was inadvertently deleted.” [Goodlatte reverses statement on amnesty, again, by Neil Munro, Daily Caller, January 13, 2014]
While this is a small victory, it also shows the utter contempt and relentless hostility which the Republican leadership views its own voters. Like enemy scouts, the Republican leadership is probing at the defenses of its own political base, hoping to find even the slightest crack to send its forces through.
We know this because they told us—or, at least, Goodlatte told the Hispanic network Telemundo‘s “Enfoque” show, in remarks that obviously were not supposed to be heard by conservative voters, that
If we can have a way to get [enforcement] up and operating, I see no reason why we can’t also have an agreement that shows how people who are not lawfully here can be able to be lawfully here – able to live here, work here, travel to and from their home country, be able to own a business, pay their taxes.
[Bob Goodlatte pushes immigration solution, by Seung Min Kim, Politico, January 9, 2014]
At the same time, other meetings were taking place within the Republican Party Establishment. Congressman Jeff Denham of the formerly American state of California hosted a session, attended by 20 lawmakers, that featured Republican “consultant” Frank Luntz informing the audience on “polling and messaging on immigration," according to POLITICO’s Kim.
This is the same Frank Luntz who just sold the majority stake in his polling business because he was “fed up with politicians who don’t tell people what they really mean.” Speaking to Sean Hannity, another Republican with an astonishing ability to switch positions without acknowledging it (henceforth known as “Goodlatting”), Luntz said: “"It's alarming to see just how people have tuned off to politics, how resentful they are to a government where we cherish democracy and we cherish freedom.” [Frank Luntz: I Sold Polling Business Because I Did All I Can, by Greg Richter, Newsmax, January 10, 2014]
Well, why ever could that be?
Though the Main Stream Media dutifully reprints the moralizing tripe churned out by the Beltway Right’s propagandists, the GOP is not being especially coy about disguising its real motivation for an Amnesty/immigration surge. The Chamber of Commerce is bragging that it will “pull out all the stops” and the GOP leadership is dutifully clicking their heels and preparing to deliver the votes for the Slave Power. [Chamber to pull out “all the stops” on immigration, by Byron Tau, Politico, January 8, 2014]
More importantly, the GOP leadership is doing it in such a way as if they were trying to confirm Lenin’s famous jibe that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
Again, Bob Goodlatte provides the template, with a plan so short-sighted that it defies parody.
Goodlatte, anxious to deliver low-wage workers to the chicken processors in his district, “won committee approval for a bill that would create a permanent pool of 500,000 guest-workers for the agriculture industry – but keep them off the citizenship track.” As Neil Munro (bravely defying Daily Caller Editor Jamie Weinstein and the “Curse of Stein”) phrased it acidly:
Democrats would also get an opportunity to perpetually bind most immigrants and native-born Latinos to their bloc by arguing the GOP had relegated immigrant Latinos to second-class “Juan Crow” status, in which they could pay taxes but not vote.
[GOP splits over Obama’s immigration offer, Daily Caller, October 20, 2013]
So it is, with the current Republican leadership. No wonder, in Luntz’s words, “people are tuned off to politics.”
Luckily, patriots can take heart that there is a pushback, however small. Sixteen Republican Congressman sent a letter to President Obama arguing that a mass Amnesty and immigration surge would disproportionately hurt low-wage American workers and the unemployed. Tea Party Republicans are prominent in the list, including Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and (interestingly) Beltway Conservative favorite Tom Cotton. Congressman Steve Stockman, who is challenging John Cornryn for the Senate, is another big name on the letter.
However, the most important name on the letter may be the most significant—Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. Barletta is a model of how Republicans can take over formerly Democratic districts with a populist message on the National Question.
And the letter represents a definitive break with Conservatism Inc. ideology, putting American workers ahead of purely economistic considerations which end up transferring wealth from the middle class to the wealthy Republican donor class.
But this is a message that the Beltway Conservative Establishment movement absolutely does not want to hear. Donors, parasitical consultants, and Affirmative Action conservatives are all pushing the GOP away from a winning strategy of “inreach” to its white base.
Self-styled conservative pundits also reject the idea winning American workers. As Christopher Chantrill [Email him] wrote at Rare in an article entitled “GOP future is not the white working class,” the “pre-capitalistic mindset” of “delusional” workers makes them unsuitable for inclusion in the big tent. [October 23, 2013] Instead, Chantrill argues, the real target should be the “middle-class Millennials.”
(Note that a contributing editor at Rare is Jack Hunter, who recently wrote yet another “future of the GOP” article assuring conservatives that everything will be ok if they just embrace gay rights and weed: This is where conservatism is heading, January 13, 2014)
The problem with plans like Chantrill’s: the GOP is still dependent on its white, mostly socially conservative base, including the religious Right, for—you know—votes.
To end as we began, let’s look again at bumbling Bob Goodlatte.
He is currently receiving criticism because of his nonsensical claim in the debate over an anti-abortion bill that it is
“very very true that having a growing population and having new children brought into the world is not harmful to job creation… it very much promotes job creation for all the care and services and so on that need to be provided by a lot of people to raise children.”
[GOP Congressman: Limiting Abortion ‘Promotes Job Creation,’ by Laura Bassett, Huffington Post, January 15, 2014]
The GOP is profoundly divided against itself. As the Goodlatte retreat shows, even pro-Amnesty forces are confused and hesitant.
But, amazingly, this may work to the Republicans’ overall advantage. The Obamacare rollout has been disastrous of Obamacare. Democrats are on the defensive around the country. Leading Democrats are declining to run for re-election—an ominous sign for Team Blue.
Doing nothing on immigration is now clearly the easiest political option. Passing an Amnesty/ Immigration Surge might please GOP donors, but it would alienate the base and depress its turnout even further. But the Goodlatte-type incompetence of the Republican leadership is making passage more difficult. And, ironically, this may save them—and the country.
Of course, that’s only if grassroots Americans keep up the pressure against the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge. If they do, the latest push can be defeated. Once that occurs, Conservatism Inc.’s bigwigs can go off sulk on K St. and moan about how they were foiled once again by their benighted constituents.
However, the ultimate battle for the soul of the GOP lies ahead. And the battle lines are becoming increasingly clear. One future is as a nationalist, populist, pro-worker Republican Party. On the other is a party of Politically Correct corporate lobbyists, hoping to squeeze out a close victory (or at least more consultant fees) for a few more election cycles.
As the pro-worker caucus within the GOP shows, there is a foundation for immigration patriots to take the offensive.
But first they must beat Amnesty one more time.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.