On Thursday’s Hugh Hewitt radio show, conservative commentator Mark Steyn reacted to off-the-cuff remarks House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) had made regarding immigration reform at a speech he made in his home district.
Hewitt suggested Boehner’s seeming willingness to pursue immigration reform stems from a desire to have a legacy as House Speaker, to which Steyn was critical of Boehner.
Partial transcript as follows:
HEWITT: Well, here’s how the article begins. House Speaker John Boehner theatrically mocked his fellow Republican Congressmen for being afraid to reform immigration policy when he spoke Thursday before the Middletown Rotary Club in his home district. Here’s the attitude. Oh, don’t make me do this, oh, this is too hard, Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown’s Run Country Club in Madison Township. We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems. And it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. They take the path of least resistance. I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy. Not the best way to mobilize your colleagues, Mark Steyn.
STEYN: No, and the problem here isn’t his representatives and the members of his caucus. The problem here is the Republican base. The problem here is in fact the American base, who throughout the country have to live with the hard consequences of vast, illegal, low-skilled, transformative immigration, which has all kinds of implications for school budgets and hospital emergency rooms. And unless life has been as good to you as it has been to John Boehner and to the political class, you’re at the sharp end of what for the political class in this country is mainly a problem of pool boys and the nice ladies who leave the chocolate on the bed in your hotel room in the evening. And I would be in favor of immigration reform if it was serious immigration reform. I just, a couple of weeks ago, I was in Ottawa, and I played the, effectively, the Canadian version of CPAC, the big conference of Canadian conservatives that is held in Ottawa every year. And one of the big differences of that was it was much more diverse, as we now say. That’s to say there were persons of ethnicity all over the room, and they came up after my speech, and were photographed with me, and there were people of many different hues. It was a total rainbow coalition in there, very different from Republican ones. And the reason for that is that Canada has an immigration policy that attracts, makes it easy for entrepreneurs and people to come into Canada, and they’re the kind of people who when they get there, they want to run their own businesses. And they’re interested in conservative policies from the get-go. That is not the case with what has happened to U.S. immigration. And everybody knows, everybody knows that this is essentially the Democratic Party during the old Bertolt Brecht line of, as he famously said after the East German election, maybe it’s time for the government to elect a new electorate. And essentially, that’s what’s going on here. The Democratic Party is importing voters. And John Boehner doesn’t get that.
HEWITT: One of my friends in the caucus said that the Speaker’s so out of touch on this issue that it’s not that people don’t want to do immigration reform. They don’t trust the President to do whatever is passed. They think he’ll just do whatever he wants further. Even John Boehner’s staff doesn’t want to do this. It’s really the Speaker looking for a legacy, and I think that’s the most dangerous thing in the world, is an elected leader looking for a legacy, Mark.
STEYN: Yeah, I don’t even know where we get that kind of thinking. Who cares about his legacy? He’s the Speaker of the House. And what’s important is what’s in the interest of this country, and more specifically, the interest of the people who are existing, legal, U.S. citizens as of this moment. That’s to whom the Speaker of the House of Representatives owed his duty. I don’t believe…I’m here legally. And believe me, I wouldn’t make that mistake again if I knew everyone would be wooing me for the amnesty.
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