Sunday, January 27, 2013

Inmigración... Einwanderung... Immigrazione... Imigracja...Göçmenlik... However You Say It, Boehner Wants To Welcome You To America


The reformers?

Until the GOP made their deal-with-the-devil pact with racists and Southern Know Nothing rednecks, the Republican Party has often been a pro-immigration party. The plutocrats who underwrite the careers of the entirety of Republican Party officialdom want, more than anything else, cheap labor. They want to destroy unions and worker solidarity and they want an economic system that gets as close to their model economic ideal-- slavery-- as they can get away with. Lots of immigrants willing to work for low wages was always a GOP ideal-- and one labor unions weren't thrilled with. Then came the Grand Bargain between the plutocrats and the bigots.

But with Hispanic immigrants fast becoming a key-- even decisive-- kingmaker in American politics, the Republicans have come to the conclusion they have to quickly end their war on Latinos. Take a look at what's happened in the ten states with the biggest Hispanic populations:
California- 14,013,719 (27.6%)- Obama- 60.24%; shriveled GOP locked out of all statewide races
Texas- 9,460,921 (37.6%)- Obama- 41.38%; GOP losing House seats as Democrats see light at the end of the electoral tunnel
Florida- 4,223,806 (22.5%)- Obama- 50.01; as elderly Cubans die off and young Cubans and non-Cuban Hispanics rise, GOP losses mount
New York- 3,416,922 (17.6%)- Obama- 63.32%; GOP locked out of all statewide races
Illinois- 2,027,578 (15.8%)- Obama- 57.60%
Arizona- 1,895,149 (29.6%)- Obama- 44.59%; tick, tick, tick, tick
New Jersey- 1,555,144 (17.7%)- Obama- 58.34%
Colorado- 1,038,687 (20.7%)- Obama- 51.49%
New Mexico- 953,403 (46.3%)- Obama- 52.99%
Nevada- 716,501 (26.5%)- Obama- 52.36%
Rapidly growing Hispanic populations are roiling electoral strategies for Republicans in states they like to-- or used to like to-- think of as red, particularly Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Will state parties in Georgia and Iowa persuade their base to not nominate loud, unreconstructed bigots and racists in the Senate races in Georgia and Iowa? Nope; the GOP base loves this:

Last Tuesday Boehner made a secret speech to the Ripon Society and, aside from making fun of Republican freshmen, he told them that after 3 years of secret bipartisan talks Congress “basically [has] an agreement” on the immigration issue.
In response to a question from the audience, Boehner said it is “time to deal” with immigration, a top domestic priority for Obama.

“I said it the day after the election. I meant it, and we’re going to have to deal with it,” Boehner said. “I think there’s a bipartisan group of members that have been meeting now for three or four years. Frankly, I think they basically have an agreement. I’ve not seen the agreement. I don’t know all the pitfalls in it, but it’s in my view, the right group of members.”

The Speaker did not name the participants, but he said they included “some of the hard heads on our side, and some of the people involved on immigration reform on their side.”

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a conservative in his second term who refused to vote for Boehner for Speaker, has emerged as an immigration point person in the House GOP. A longtime immigration attorney, Labrador has spoken with other House heavyweights on the issue in recent months, including the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and a leading Democratic reform proponent, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)

“My theory was, if these folks could work this out, it’d be a big step in the right direction,” Boehner said. “So I would think you’d hear a lot more about immigration reform on the House side soon.”

...Obama is preparing to launch a major push for comprehensive immigration reform with a speech in Las Vegas next week. Much of the spotlight has focused on the Senate, where a bipartisan group is reportedly close to announcing an agreement on basic principles for an overhaul of the system. That group now includes Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a potential presidential contender who laid out his principles for reform in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

Another potential White House aspirant, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), quickly signed on to Rubio’s outline.

Still, Boehner’s comments to the Ripon Society signal the most optimistic view of the climate in the House, the chamber where the last major immigration effort died in 2006. Since then, the House Republican conference has grown even more conservative, and Boehner said as recently as a year ago that action was unlikely in the short-term.
Many Republican senators, who have to get reelected statewide, not from gerrymandered, crazy little red districts, are urging the GOP to get over the anti-immigrant stand. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), for example: "On some issues, it's not just the way we talk about it, it's our position. On immigration reform, it's been our position that was wrong. Not just the tone of the debate." Earlier today on ABC-TV, his Arizona counterpart went all the way to a path to citizenship, still anathema to the Republican base. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is singing from the same hymnal: "I intend to tear this wall down and pass an immigration reform bill that’s an American solution to an American problem. But we have nobody to blame but ourselves when it comes to losing Hispanics. And we can get them back with some effort on our part.”

But how will House Republican backbenchers and their grassroots-- high on demagoguery from the likes of Limbaugh, Beck and Savage-- respond to the GOP wanting to end the war on Latinos and end the war on immigrants as well? (Remember, Republicans spectacularly lost group among Asians in the last cycle as well, another group that is growing rapidly in the electorate-- and voting overwhelmingly for Democrats in recent years.) This bright and early yesterday from a Republican Party opinion leader:

Jamelle Bouie actually agrees, somewhat, with one of Fischer's and other extremists' and hatemongers' complaints: immigration reform won't save the GOP since "Latinos, and other minorities, are mostly Democratic because they are mostly liberal."
I think Republicans are vastly overestimating the extent to which this would improve their standing with Latino voters. Latino Decisions held an online seminar on the political calculus of immigration reform. Two things stand out in their analysis. First, if Latinos had voted for Mitt Romney in the proportion they did for George W. Bush, he would be president. At the same time, however, only 31 percent of Latinos say they would be more likely to support Republicans if the GOP took a role in immigration reform-- and a lead one at that. For the large majority of Latino voters, there’s not much the GOP can do to earn their support.

Here’s the tough truth: Latinos-- like most other minority groups-- are more liberal than their white counterparts. The GOP can stem the bleeding with Latinos, and find ways to win Republican-leaning members of the group, but overall, there's no escaping the fact that there's only a small pool of conservative Latinos. What’s more, they’ll only make the difference in a small handful of states. At most, gaining a few percentage points among Latino voters nationwide will keep a few states competitive-- Colorado and Florida, in particular. What it won't do is transform the GOP’s electoral position.

Between this and the floated change to how state's allocate their electoral votes, I can’t help but think that Republicans want an easy fix to their electoral woes: Immigration reform, new rules or new rhetoric. But insofar that the GOP has a problem, it’s with their ideas. The party just isn’t responsive to the needs and concerns of working and middle-class Americans. While there is an emerging class of GOP “reformers”-- Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan-- there’s little sign they understand this.

To wit, Jindal has embarked on a plan to lower taxes on the rich and raise them on the poor, while Rubio and Ryan remain committed to a low tax, low service of the federal government. And the problem is even worse on foreign policy, where belligerence remains the language of the Republican Party, and few GOP leaders show any sign of remorse for the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The GOP will have to make real, hard changes before the public trusts it to lead again. So far, there’s no indication that Republicans are ready to take that journey.

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