Where’s the Leadership?

On “Face the Nation” today, Bob Schieffer repeatedly pressed John Boehner on whether or not he supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Boehner wouldn’t answer!  Speaker of the House is supposed to be one of the most powerful positions in Washington, where you take a stance and work your will on your members.

His refusal to answer is a sad commentary both on Boehner personally and on the make-up of this particular House.

Boehner seems to be “leading from behind,” far, far behind.   You can barely see him way off in the distance.  Perhaps he’s searching for his testicles…

Rubio Gives Up

If Marco Rubio strikes you as weak, that’s because he really is.  Politics and policy aside, he’s never struck me as tough enough to be prez.  There’s something soft and doughy, cry-baby and scaredy-cat, about him.   You could see it in his eyes when he lunged for that water bottle during his response to the SOTU.  Hell, you can see it in his eyes any time he’s interviewed, even when it’s fawning Sean Hannity, for God’s sake.  We’re talking ciervo-in-the-headlights, people.

Anyway, today Rubio admitted to conservative radio talker Mike Gallagher that the immigration bill Rubio and his fellow Gang of Eight members have drafted doesn’t have a prayer in the House.  Way to get GOP votes in the Senate, Marco, by declaring your bill DOA in the other chamber.

The thing is, if the bill passes the Senate, it could well pass the House with mostly Dem votes if Boehner doesn’t invoke the “Hastert Rule”* and brings it to the floor.

I think Rubio is realizing that the “path to citizenship” and the path to the GOP nomination don’t converge, and he’s trying to avoid that Gang of Eight stench by destroying their work.


*  Only bills supported by a majority of the majority party get a vote.

Save the GOP by Destroying It

Talk about telling the emperor he has no clothes.  Dick Morris told CPAC the GOP must change on immigration, abortion, and balancing the budget!

Only about 50 people bothered to show up for Morris’ speech, but those who did got an earful.

First he said that the GOP must pass immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.  So he told the House GOP to go to hell.

Then he said they must stop trying to over-turn Roe v. Wade.  He said the party should remain pro-life as a matter of principle and focus on trying to decrease the incidence of abortion, through promoting adoption, birth control, etc.  So he told the base to go to hell.

He went on to attack the plan to balance the budget in ten years.  He said that the GOP should focus on lowering the deficit and emphasize the ratio between the deficit and GDP and give up on the “hypnotic phrase” balanced budget.  So he told Paul Ryan to go to hell.

Morris loves attention.  I think he got himself some today.  Basically he was saying we have to destroy the GOP in order to save it.

CPAC is known as a venue for red meat.  Morris offered a heaping platter of kale.

Jeb Repents

If a bunch of dead trees (specifically those used to print his book) fall on Jeb Bush, they definitely make a sound.

Poor Jebbie, planning a run in 2016 because, you know, two Bush presidents just weren’t enough, sent his book off to be published before the 2012 election, and executed a conspicuous flip-flop to put himself where the GOP was on a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  Having long supported such a path, he suddenly opposed it, trying to position himself for the presidential primaries.

But then Obama won, the GOP was annihilated among Hispanic voters, and there was a mad rush to do comprehensive immigration reform, including — sadly for Jeb — that pesky path to citizenship.

When Jeb’s book finally came out last week, he found himself in sort of a Rip Van Winkle situation, and under major assault from folks like John McCain and Lindsey “Butters” Graham.

Jeb went on the talk shows this morning and raced away from his own book and flip-flop, doing a flip-flop-flip that landed him right back where he started, on that path to citizenship that he hopes will be a path to the WH.  After all, it’s not as if any genuine beliefs or principles were involved here, the man just wants to be president.  Path, shmath.

Step aside Mitt, we have a new champion.  The Golden Flip Flops go to Jeb.


If Only Jeb Had Done a Quicky E-Book

In the time lag between Jeb Bush’s finishing his new book and the thing getting published, many in his party became, if not enthusiastic about, at least resigned to, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  One of the most prominent flippers was Jeb’s fellow Floridian and mentee Marco Rubio, who has been working along side John McCain and Lindsey “Butters” Graham to get the Senate to approve a comprehensive immigration bill including such a path, knowing full well they will face tremendous resistance in the Tea-Party-heavy GOP House.

Now Jeb has upset the apple cart (or taco stand) by flipping away from the path to citizenship he has long supported, leaving Rubio, who just recently flipped the other way, thinking he was matching Jeb, mortified.  Jeb is giving comfort — and ammunition — to those in Congress who oppose the path, not to mention the monkey wrench he has thrown into some 2016 ambitions.

Jeb’s book just came out today, and already he is walking himself back toward the “path” he abandoned, saying he could support a path “where there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally.”  When he wrote the book, Jeb thought he was flipping in a way that would clear away one obstacle (he still has his last name) to his running in 2016.  He thought he would make primary voters happy, but he’s made many powerful players in his party extremely unhappy with his disastrous timing.

The GOP has been trying to effect this change quietly, without calling a lot of attention to it, in a casual, oh-by-the-way manner as Sean Hannity has done.  Now Jeb has upset things not just by the substance of his position, but by putting an unwelcome spotlight on the issue itself.

Jeb’s book calls for a path to “permanent residency,” rather than a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally.  It’s interesting how some in the GOP, while constantly protesting that Obama is turning us into Europe, think it’s a wonderful idea to emulate Europe in this respect, where they have guest workers who have no way to become citizens, in effect a two-tiered society.

Since Europe doesn’t have our Constitution, guest workers’ children don’t become citizens if they are born in the country where their parents are working.  Here, either permanent residents’ children who are born here would be citizens or we’d need a Constitutional amendment preventing that.  Jeb says his lack of a path to citizenship would discourage illegal immigration, but it won’t work if their children would still be citizens at birth.  The prospect of your children being Americans would provide tremendous incentive to get yourself here, even if you know you’ll never become a citizen.

Keep walking Jeb — backwards — as fast as you can.


Here We Go Again

It’s been six years since the last attempt at comprehensive immigration reform died.  Even the very limited DREAM Act failed in 2010.  So now, with the GOP determined to do better among Hispanic voters, here we go again…

Eight senators have presented what Chuck Schumer calls a “bipartisan blueprint” for immigration reform.  The document is just a few pages, is very short on details, and is a long way from becoming a piece of legislation.  But the White House welcomed it, saying, “It’s a set of principles that mirror the president’s principles.”  Many in the more conservative House have already panned the thing as amnesty, but the House is currently working on its own proposals, so they too will have a plan soon.

Under the Senate plan, the border would have to be more secure before anyone got a more permanent status.

Illegals would be required to register, pay a fine and back taxes, and have a criminal background check, and then would be allowed to stay and work legally.  There would be an ultimate path to citizenship for those already here, but it would be a long and slow path.

For the GOP, just changing the rhetoric isn’t going to be enough.  It’s not the wrapping, it’s what in the package.  But changing their policies risks losing their base.  They’ve decided that it’s less damaging to give some on immigration than on other issues, like abortion.  They’ve decided it’s easier to go after Hispanic voters than African-Americans or women.  But the thing is that Hispanics aren’t as conservative as the GOP likes to think.  They don’t just flock to the GOP when you take immigration off the table.  When polled on abortion rights, for example, they tend to come out the same as non-Hispanics.