Yesterday, in a post titled “Kill The Bill,” Lowry and Kristol came out against immigration reform. Lowry defends his position in the above video. There’s nothing new in what he is saying. It amounts to the same arguments as the past (enforcement won’t happen, even after a bill that ladles resources into that under an administration that has deported illegal immigrants at record rates) and the same Kristol view of politics as the past: total warfare at all times against anything that might get signed by president Obama.
I have to say I am unsurprised by this. Lowry basically said (above) he’d be happy for next-to-no legislation to ever pass the Congress, regardless of the underlying problems. Notice too that for Lowry, the actual plight of the undocumented workers and their families is completely absent. And this is what, to my mind, rightly affects Latino voters. Lowry and Kristol cannot see past intellectual categories and Village pyromania to empathize whatsoever with close to half the country. They think the problem was this:
During the debate over immigration in 2006–07, Republican rhetoric at times had a flavor that communicated a hostility to immigrants as such.
They don’t even hear themselves, do they? As for the Latino vote, how’s this for communication of hostility?
At the presidential level in 2016, it would be better if Republicans won more Hispanic voters than they have in the past—but it’s most important that the party perform better among working-class and younger voters concerned about economic opportunity and upward mobility.
Whites First! How Douthat sees the Lowry-Kristol op-ed:
The core of the Lowry-Kristol thesis isn’t that the G.O.P. should necessarily resign itself to a Romney-esque performance among Hispanics in 2016 and beyond; it’s that a conservative party with an appealing, populist-inflected economic agenda will ultimately probably win more white votes and more Hispanic votes (and, for that matter, black votes and Asian votes) than a conservative party whose idea of rebranding is just a headlong rush to put President Obama’s signature on an immigration bill.
Notice that the motives include nothing of any substantive policy concern and are entirely about differences over partisan interest. And if Ross believes the current GOP is going to adopt any of the populist economic policies that could be attractive to working class white voters, he’s looking at a different party than I am. Repealing universal healthcare will reassure economically insecure whites? Gutting Medicare will do the same? Who is proposing anything but steep austerity and yet lower taxes in the GOP?
First Read wonders whether Republicans in favor of immigration reform have any cards left up their sleeves:
Given the growing conservative opposition to immigration reform, here’s a question worth asking: Can pro-reform Republicans strike back?
Today from his presidential library in Dallas, TX, George W. Bush will be delivering a speech on immigration. But is this going to help convince conservatives or make them even more resistant? Remember, the modern conservative movement hasn’t been too friendly to Bush’s policies or presidential agenda. The GOP-leaning American Action Network is up with a $100,000-plus national TV ad campaign, urging Republicans to support the Senate’s immigration reform bill. But is $100,000-plus enough? And GOP immigration supporters have released a poll showing that Republican primary voters want to fix the immigration system and prefer an imperfect solution to no solution. But is releasing a poll going to do the trick? Right now, the Republicans who want immigration reform to pass have been VERY QUIET lately. Does that change?
Dickinson considers the risks of killing immigration reform for Republicans:
Waiting for 2015 … means Republicans will have to live with the collapse of immigration reform for the next year or so. Perhaps voters will applaud that Republicans didn’t rush a bill that was bad policy. But given Congress’ approval ratings and willing Republicans ready to point fingers, it’s also just as possible that the independent voter might conclude that the GOP cannot apply reason to the problems of the day to find a workable solution.
How could any voter not see that?