On election night 2012, when Hispanics decisively deep-sixed Mitt Romney in at least four states once deemed to be solid Republican strongholds — Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia — and awarded him a pitiful 27 percent of their votes nationwide, I wrote this:
“One of these days (maybe), the Republican party will wake up and realize that it can’t win national elections by narrowcasting its appeal to aging white people. But apparently this realization will require multiple head-hammerings with a 2-by-4.”
Clearly, a slab of lumber isn’t big enough. How about a bank safe?
Last Friday’s House GOP hijinks provided fresh proof, as if we needed more, that the party is haplessly hostage to its right-wing primitivism. Tasked with crafting an immigration policy on the eve of the August getaway — naturally at the last moment, having dithered all year — House Republicans came up with a bill to crack down on the border. The leaders wanted it. But conservatives, goaded by de facto House leader Ted Cruz, naturally insisted that the bill wasn’t sufficiently draconian, so the leaders withdrew it.
Instead, late Friday night, the rank and file passed several send-a-message bills that have zero chance of ever becoming law (a House specialty), but they aptly reflect the radical conservative mentality. The bills grease the wheels to send the new child migrants back to their home countries, and, more sweepingly, they seek to deport roughly half a million current undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children (and are therefore blameless).
In other words, the party that got hammered by the burgeoning Hispanic electorate in 2012, after Mitt Romney called for “self-deportation,” is now the party of forced deportation. Hillary Clinton should send Republicans a thank-you note, because apparently they’re determined to aid and abet her ’16 ascent.
Nearly 18 months ago, the Republican National Committee released a detailed autopsy report on the ’12 debacle. It warned: “If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs, or the economy; of Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.”
So what does the GOP do, in the one chamber of government it controls? It OKs a crackdown measure drafted in part by the likes of Michele Bachmann (she’s ecstatic about the House action, which tells you all you need know). In short, the GOP has opted to become known as the deportation party.
That condemnatory slogan was coined this weekend by the rabidly conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page. Apparently the House GOP ‘tude is too extreme even for the Journal. Check out these excerpts:
“(T)his latest immigration debacle won’t help the party’s image…A party whose preoccupation is deporting children is going to alienate many conservatives, never mind minority voters…the Deportation Republicans played right into Mr. Obama’s hands…Readers may recall that the last Republican in an election year to support deporting immigrant children brought here through no fault of their own was Mitt Romney. A splendid voter attraction that was.”
Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist who has arguably the worst job in politics (wooing Hispanics to the GOP), was blunter the other night on Twitter. (Twitter requires bluntness.) Navarro summed up the House deportation bills this way: “dumb symbolism; won’t be law; antagonizes Latinos; energizes D base; emboldens GOP ‘No’ Caucus. Indefensible.”
But hey, the House GOPers can’t help being who they are; most are cocooned in safe districts, and their main aim is to ensure that they never get primaried from the right. The ’16 presidential race is not their concern. The problem is, they’re making life increasingly difficult for the ’16 candidates.
If the candidates applaud the deportation of children, and the deportation of immigrants who came here as children, they’ll appease the right-wing base — but alienate Hispanics anew; yet if they try to distance themselves a wee bit from the House deportation stance, they’ll (maybe) attract some Hispanics – but they’ll get savaged by the right-wing base. Any bets yet on who will get booed by the audience yahoos at next year’s Republican debates?
One last passage from the GOP’s autopsy report: “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.” But last Friday, deaf and dumb to its own warnings, the party shrunk yet again.
To mark the impending 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation — on Aug. 9, for sweeping and unprecedented crimes against the Constitution — this week I’m highlighting noxious Nixonian nuggets from his White House tapes. Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States:
“All right, I want a look at any sensitive areas around where Jews are involved, Bob. See, the Jews are all through the government, and we have got to get in those areas. We’ve got to get a man in charge who is not Jewish to control the Jewish…The government is full of Jews. Second, most Jews are disloyal. You know what I mean?… Bob, generally speaking, you can’t trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?”
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