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Could Scott Brown Be A Pete Wilson-Style RINO Immigration Patriot Presidential Candidate?
No-one yet knows if New Jersey’s rabidly immigration-enthusiast governor Chris Christie will survive Bridgegate, but his presidential ambitions may very well be ended and many in the GOP Establishment are looking for a fallback plan. Some are even speculating that the yet more appalling Jeb Bush may answer the call.
But more interesting, in my opinion, to patriotic immigration reformers: the possibility that former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown will join the race. Brown has moved to New Hampshire and is expected to run for Senate in 2014. In December, Brown responded to a question about his presidential ambitions by stating that he does not “think anything’s off the table at this point.” [Scott Brown Not Taking Presidential Run Off the Table, ABC, December 9, 2013]
The Boston Herald’s Scott Battenfeld recently noted that Brown had defended Christie, which could ingratiate him with Christie supporters, and that
Panicked GOP officials and moderate leaders, faced with a White House field that lacks a dynamic and electable candidate, might turn to Brown to come to the rescue. Brown and Christie are both Northeast moderates, and have compelling personalities that could attract Democratic voters in 2016. [Battenfeld: Scott Brown to the rescue?January 10, 2014]
I can already hear the reaction: “Scott Brown is a RINO.” And it’s true: Brown supported Dodd Frank, Democratic jobs bills, and legalized abortion.
But patriotic immigration reform is my key issue. I personally do not care about whether someone is a “real Republican” when most leading “conservative” Republicans support Amnesty.
And, while it may be hard for younger people to remember, just twenty years ago another RINO (then called “moderate”) Republican governor gave us what is still arguably the most powerful demonstration of the electoral power of the patriotic reform issue: Pete Wilson won an upset come-from-behind re-election race by allying himself with Proposition 187—and went on to feature opposition to (illegal) immigration in his 1996 Presidential bid, unfortunately cut short by health problems. [Wilson Opens Election Bid, Using Liberty As His Theme, By B. Drummond Ayres Jr. , NYT, August 29, 1995]
In today’s intensifying Political Correctness, the only public figures prepared to criticize immigration do tend to be battle-hardened conservatives. But opposition to mass immigration, legal and illegal, is intellectually compatible with positions right across the political spectrum.
So Scott Brown’s views on other issues aside, how does he stand on immigration?
However, I believe a closer look shows that Brown isn’t that bad (and perhaps calls for some thought on revising Numbers’ matrix.) Brown took no positive initiative on immigration in Congress, and the sole vote during his tenure was to vote against the DREAM Act, for which he deserves credit. However his inaction got him an F- for not “challenging the status quo.”
Brown’s sole “bad” mark: for introducing the IRE act, which would have created 10,500 visas for the Irish. As its name suggests, Numbers USA emphasizes that it is only concerned about the numbers of immigrants let in this country, so it thinks any increase is bad. However, I would much rather have 10,500 immigrants from Ireland than from Mexico.
In his 2010 election, and during his failed reelection bid in 2012, Scott Brown ignored immigration. However, his opponent Elizabeth Warren tried to use his votes against the DREAM Act against him. Keep in mind that, at this time, GOP Presidential nominee Romney had supported a version of the DREAM Act.
When confronted on the issue, Brown called it a “back-door amnesty.” [Brown emphasizes his opposition to Dream Act , By Russell Contreras, AP, December 14, 2010] He also opposed Obama’s administrative amnesty. [Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown Says NO to the DREAMers, NewsTaco.com, September 24th, 2012]
And after the election, in July 2013, Brown told talk radio host Jeff Kuhner that he would vote against the Gang of 8 Senate Amnesty/ Immigration Surge if he were still in Congress and that he thinks that any immigration bill needs to begin with increased border security and mandatory E-Verify before anything else is considered. [Video, July 1, 2013 ] The conventional GOP Establishment thing to do would have been to get on the band wagon.
Does this make Brown an immigration patriot? Not necessarily.
But it puts him leagues above almost every other GOP leader considering running in 2016. Christie, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Peter King, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum all explicitly support Amnesty.
The only candidate even rhetorically against Amnesty: Texas junior Senator Ted Cruz.
After Cruz’s election in 2012, I wrote that he was far from a trustworthy immigration patriot, but that he would likely be a leader in the fight against Amnesty.
I was half right. Cruz is worth a column of his own, but suffice to say I agree with Mickey Kaus’s criticism: while Cruz opposed the Gang of Eight bill, he wasted the time and energy (and more importantly, misdirected the conservative grassroots’ energy) to promote the unpopular and doomed-to-fail government shutdown, when he should have been leading the charge against Amnesty.
Moreover, Cruz has repeatedly stated that he does not oppose giving legal status to illegal aliens, so long as it does not include citizenship. Path to Citizenship Is Dead, Path to Legalization Still Possible, Immigration Reform Advocates Say By Napp Nazworth, Christian Post,November 22, 2013
Just last week, he bragged about how he wanted to “dramatically increase and improve and streamline legal immigration.” [Sen. Ted Cruz On Immigration Reform, Fighting The Establishment, And The Human Costs Of Illegal Immigration, By Kathleen McKinley , Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2014]
But the bottom line: I think that Hillary Clinton would crush Cruz would win in a landslide in the general election.
Now, I am fine supporting unelectable candidates on ideological grounds because they will bring important issues to the debate. That’s why I supported Tom Tancredo in 2008 GOP presidential race. However, I’m not going to support a losing candidate just so he can bring up the issue of increasing legal immigration and supporting Amnesty without citizenship.
The demographics in this country have tipped to the point that Republicans are going to need to increase the white turnout and win at least 60% of the white vote. But it is wrong to assume that whites who stayed home are just discontented Tea Partiers who were upset that Mitt Romney was a “RINO” upset about government spending (let alone abortion).
As Sean Trende noted,
For whites, the drop-off in voting was concentrated mostly among those living in Northern, blue-collar counties (the type of places that voted for Perot in 1992).
Yes, the Missing Whites Matter , RealClearPolitics,July 12, 2013
Romney’s private equity image turned these voters off, and Trende suggested that someone with a working class background like Tim Pawlenty would have done better.
As a man who made his working class background the center of his campaign (remember “I'm Scott Brown. I'm from Wrentham. I drive a truck”), Brown is poised to win these voters. His “RINO” votes for increased stock market regulation and unemployment benefits will actually help him win these working class whites.
This past fall, NBC /Esquire put out an important analysis on what they called the “New American Center.” [Why our nation isn't as divided as we think, October 2013] They came up with buzzwords like “MBA Middle,” “Minivan Moderates,” and “Pick Up Populists” to describe different types of swing voters. The aforementioned working class northern voters are “pick up populists” while the other groups consist of middle and upper class whites who are somewhat opposed to big government, but are socially liberal and generally afraid of anything smeared as “extremist” by the Main Stream Media.
As a candidate who supports abortion rights, and is widely viewed as a moderate, Brown could also win these voters.
Of course, socially liberal positions will make winning the GOP primaries an uphill battle—above all, favoring abortion. But opposing immigration is the one issue where Brown could credibly get to the right of all the other candidates.
VDARE.com does not endorse candidates. And even if it did, Scott Brown would not be worthy of an endorsement. If he runs, pro-Amnesty donors will fill his coffers and he will most likely hire the usual consultants. Indeed, I would not be in the slightest bit surprised if he eventually comes out in favor of Amnesty.
However, I am writing about Brown to encourage VDARE.com readers to think outside of the box of the Tea Party vs. Conservatism Inc.
Because many of our most trustworthy opponents of Amnesty like Steve King are down the line Tea Partiers, immigration patriots often make the mistake of assuming that anyone who the MSM brands a right wing extremist must be an ally, and anyone who does not toe the Tea Party line supports Amnesty.
RINOs are not necessarily the problem. The problem is “conservatives” like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who are willing to take on wildly unpopular and extreme fights on everything but ending mass immigration.
"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway