Top Jeb Bush Adviser: Cantor Didn't Lose Because of Amnesty
Top Jeb Bush adviser Mike Murphy, who did not even pay attention to Dave Brat's campaign like Breitbart News did, has falsely been claiming that Cantor's embrace of amnesty for illegal immigrants was not the reason he lost last Tuesday.
Liberal writer Mickey Kaus had enough of Murphy's nonsense and slammed him on Twitter on Friday evening. Kaus became Brat's de facto press secretary and top advocate on Twitter in the last months of the campaign because Kaus, like Brat, opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants because it would hurt American workers. He mentioned to Murphy that talk radio host Laura Ingraham turned out 600 people at a midweek rally that was "all about amnesty." Even Mort Zuckerman and Eleanor Clift have said there is "no doubt" that Cantor lost his race because of the amnesty/illegal immigration issue.
Breitbart News reporter Michael Patrick Leahy covered that event in which Brat and Ingraham blasted Cantor for his embrace of amnesty. Contrary to what Murphy believes (Murphy has tried to diminish Ingraham's influence by saying Brat won in areas where her radio show is not carried) or perhaps stereotypically thinks of voters in Virginia's seventh congressional district, people can listen to talk radio -- and Ingraham's show -- on the Internet. That's how Dodger fans, for instance, can listen to Vin Scully calling Dodger games on the radio and wishing listeners a "pleasant good evening" on the east coast, even though east coast radio stations obviously do not carry Dodgers radio broadcasts.
As Breitbart News reported, Brat only started to surge in the race when he centered his campaign around amnesty. It was only then when Brat's broader message about crony capitalism that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been hammering for the last four years sunk in with voters who viewed Cantor as emblematic of a GOP establishment that was too cozy with big business and not for true free markets.
If amnesty was not an issue in the race, why did Cantor send mailers falsely depicting himself as an anti-amnesty warrior? Why did an independent PAC specifically attack Cantor for his embrace of amnesty legislation in the last week of the race? Why did Brat say that a vote for Cantor would be a vote for "open borders" and his primary was the "last chance" to stop amnesty legislation?
In fact, in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed in the last week of the race, Brat said that Cantor's belief illegal immigrant children should be given amnesty because one of the "founding principles" of the country was that children should not be penalized for the mistakes of their parents was "one of the most radical pro-amnesty statements ever delivered by a sitting representative."
Contrary to Murphy's contention, Brat, the candidate who actually ran and won the race, also said that Cantor's support for amnesty was the "central policy issue in this race."
"The central policy issue in this race has become Cantor’s absolute determination to pass an amnesty bill. Cantor is the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty," Brat wrote. "This is not the Republican way to fix our economy and labor markets."
As Breitbart News observed, "mainstream media reporters observed that Brat's message resonated with working-class voters but failed to note that Brat repeatedly emphasized that he, as an economist, was against illegal immigration and amnesty because it, first and foremost, lowers the wages of American workers in an economy that has left many of them behind. That was how he established credibility with primary voters who were not content with Cantor."
And in the final weeks of the campaign, Breitbart News noted that "it seemed like Brat was being tutored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has been the most prominent anti-amnesty critic in the Senate and has relentlessly fought for American workers during the amnesty debate. Brat was saying the same things about tight labor markets and policies that put American workers first that Sessions has been hammering."
After the race, Brat told Fox News that amnesty legislation represented the greatest divide between Main Street and Wall Street elitists.
But those who want to claim that amnesty had nothing to do with Brat's win may have ulterior motives for doing so. Murphy, for instance, is in Bush's "inner circle." Bush has gone "all-in" on amnesty legislation, even saying illegal immigration is an "act of love," and it is in Murphy's interest that gullible reporters who view a consultant who has not won a presidential contest as a "sage" believe that amnesty did not matter in the race. That allows him to try to set the narrative that Bush's full-throated embrace of amnesty will not hurt him while demeaning American workers and patriots from both parties who love their country and are concerned about the excesses of illegal immigrants as "nativists."
Murphy isn't alone in his post-election spin. Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly also said he did not think amnesty was a factor in Cantor's loss. But O'Reilly has reasons to spin Cantor's loss in that way as well -- he supports Senate's comprehensive amnesty bill.
This is nothing new for Murphy, a backer of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitt Romney, who routinely bashes conservatives every chance he gets even as the GOP has gotten more conservative over the last 14 years, according to a Gallup analysis.
This article has been updated to indicate that Murphy has been trying to diminish Ingraham's influence by saying Brat won in areas where her radio show is not carried.