It doesn’t happen very often, but on the Monday morning edition of “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough broke with the elite media and GOP Establishment to speak a truth: Republicans joining Democrats to pass immigration reform this year could be the one thing that derails the GOP’s chances of retaking the U.S. Senate in 2014.
It was guest and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol who brought the subject up:
Bill Kristol: Just let immigration go this year. It’s not an issue of urgency, it can be passed next year. A better immigration bill can be passed by a Republican House and a Republican Senate, perhaps next year. You have no leverage in this debate if you go to conference with this bill that passed the Democratic Senate …
The Republican establishment, the Republican consultant class in Washington, and big business really want immigration reform, and they may try to jam it down the throats of actual Republican grassroots this year, and I think it’s the one thing that could actually cost Republicans the Senate [in 2014].
Scarborough: I want to double down on that one … The Washington Establishment, the New York Establishment, they all suggest that passing immigration reform is going to help Republicans with Hispanic voters this year. I can’t think of a single thing they could pass that could hurt them more in the midterm election than passing an immigration bill framed by Barack Obama and Harry Reid and a weakened Republican House.
Kudos to Scarborough for popping his head out of the bubble that at this same time last year had him screaming for months that the GOP would be doomed if they didn’t cave to Barack Obama and the media on gun control.
The fact is this: No one cares about immigration, and by “no one” I mean 98% of the American people. They are worried about jobs and ObamaCare.
Moreover, while the well-honed media myth is that George W. Bush saw his second-term approval ratings plunge into the twenties because of his handling of Hurricane Katrina and Iraq, the truth is that what really buried Bush was losing his base due to his push for comprehensive immigration reform.
There are plenty of conservatives like myself who believe that our immigration system is a mess and that a path to legalization for the millions of illegals already here is the right thing to do. But that doesn’t mean we can be emotionally blackmailed into believing that the House entering into a conference committee involving the abomination that is the Shumer-Rubio Senate immigration bill is anything close to sanity.
Those of us sympathetic to immigration reform must first be reassured beyond any doubt that the border will be secured as a way to ensure this never happens again. In that respect, the Shumer-Rubio bill is an unqualified failure – nothing more than a bloated, crony-capitalized ObamaBorderCare.
Rubio got rolled by Shumer and Senate Democrats, and politically it cost him plenty with his base. The same will happen to the GOP as a whole if they go near this issue this year.
If the GOP is eager to tell the base that going out to vote in 2014 is a big waste of time, nothing will send up a bigger flare announcing just that than caving to Chuck Shumer, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama on anything, much less immigration.
If the GOP wants to win the Hispanic vote, start with jobs, school choice, and putting an end to late-term abortion.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC