Romney-Ryan And Immigration: It Could have Been Worse—But Not Much
[See also: Paul Ryan, Immigration Enthusiast, Donor-Driven Choice? By Peter Brimelow]
My first thoughts when Paul Ryan was chosen as Romney’s VP pick: “It could have been worse.”
Worst, in this case, would be Marco Rubio. As the most prominent Hispanic Republican and sponsor of the GOP DREAM Act, Rubio would have reinforced the narrative that Hispanics are the future of the party (and the country) and that the GOP needs to pander to them through amnesty.
However, compared to the other picks being seriously considered—Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, Rob Portman—I think Ryan is the worst, both from a strategic standpoint for the GOP and from an immigration patriot standpoint.
None of these men were particularly distinguishable. Tim Pawlenty had been relatively solid during his short-run presidential campaign, but he never said anything solid enough. Jindal, is of course, a second generation American, and so there would have been the inevitable talk about how immigrants are the future of the party, but quite frankly Indians do not excite the Main Stream Media as much as Hispanics. Furthermore, Jindal actually had a good voting record in the House of Representatives (B+ Numbers USA grade) and reasonably good record as governor (he signed an E-Verify law.) Rob Portman had a horrendous immigration record in the 1990s with a D+ career grade, but has been pretty unobjectionable for the last decade or so. Furthermore, like Mitt Romney, he oozes “whiteness,” and having two old white WASPs (or a WASP and a WASM to be more precise I guess) would perhaps send a signal that they are still the Generic American Party.
However, regardless of the differences between their records on immigration, none of these candidates have a reputation as being either a patriotic immigration reformer or an unpatriotic immigration enthusiast.
Of course, you can also be sure that no matter who Romney picked, the MSM will portray the candidate as some sort of extreme immigration restrictionist. (Paul Ryan has already been described as “strict on immigration” by the BBC) [Paul Ryan: Romney`s Republican vice-presidential nominee, BBC, August 11, 2012]. And Conservative Inc., which will obsess about whether a candidate is sufficiently pro-life or will cut taxes, will not make a peep about the V.P. candidate’s weaknesses on immigration.
I wrote about Ryan’s immigration position in depth last year (Paul Ryan: “Common Ground” With Obama On Immigration?, May 17, 2011)
I pointed out that Ryan’s C Numbers USA career grade is tied for the fifth-worst of the 242 Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Among the worst things Ryan did was introduce the New Employees Verification Act, which would have ended E-Verify and replaced it with a watered-down system, as well as nullify all state immigration laws such as those in Arizona and Alabama.
He has voted for or co-sponsored 8 different amnesties, most notably being one of the co-sponsors of the House Version of the 2006-McCain Kennedy amnesty. And while most Republicans utter platitudes about supporting legal immigration, Ryan has voted for and cosponsored several bills to import hundreds of thousands of foreign workers.
The only good thing I had to say: Ryan voted against the DREAM Act (along with all but a handful of Republicans) in 2010. But he explained his vote by arguing we should increase legal immigration.
Has anything changed since I wrote that piece last May?
Ryan has made a few good votes on minor amendments involving border security and interior enforcement—all of which were in line with virtually the entire Republican conference—giving him a B– for the 112th Congress. However, that has not been enough to offset his horrendous career grade: he still is tied for the fifth worst of the 241 Republicans in the House.
Astute readers will note that I said 242 Republicans when I wrote the original piece on Ryan. There are now only 241—due largely to Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which caused Republicans to lose an extremely safe GOP seat in NY-26th District, in the election to replace disgraced Congressman Chris Lee.
I will qualify this: Ryan will not have much of an effect on the Romney/GOP immigration strategy (or lack thereof) during the general election.
Ryan will likely toe the Romney line on immigration, in the exact same way Pawlenty and Portman would have. However, this is not to say we should not publicize Ryan’s subpar immigration record and try to get him, and particularly to get him, and also Romney, to distance themselves from it.
Nevertheless, by choosing Ryan as VP, Romney has clearly tied himself to what Ryan is best known for, his budget bill that would have gutted Medicare spending.
Both I myself, Ellison Lodge, Steve Sailer, and others at VDARE.com have already written about the incredible unpopularity of the GOP’s instinct to cut to Medicare—one of the few government programs that actually disproportionately benefits whites—while simultaneously refusing to do anything in the area of immigration, where even the most “controversial” policies such as SB 1070 and ending birthright citizenship poll at 2-1.
Politico has helpfully summarized all the negative polls on the budget. Significantly, far from “rallying the conservative base,” 54% of self-described conservatives opposed the plan. In contrast only 11% of conservatives oppose SB 1070.
Does this mean Romney is doomed to defeat? Not necessarily. I will admit that my skepticism about the viability of a libertarian political strategy was marginally changed by Scott Walker’s resounding victory in the Wisconsin recall election. Walker’s initial union reforms were extremely unpopular among the white working class, but he still managed to win by a large margin.
The Democratic Party has become such a left wing and openly anti-white party that the GOP has been able win the white vote overwhelmingly, in spite of itself. My guess: Romney’s campaign is assuming that elderly whites and working class whites—the two groups most opposed to the Ryan budget—are so anti-Obama they will vote for Romney regardless. Meanwhile, the campaign gets to rake in the money from wealthy donors.
This strategy may keep the GOP in power for a couple more election cycles. But if a future Romney administration does not do anything to stem the tide of immigration—or, even worse, increases it—the changing demographics that the party is doing nothing to prevent will doom it to go the way of the Whigs.
“Washington Watcher” [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway