The House Meltdown is Not Just About Strategy

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration

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One of the most egregious aspects of Barack Obama’s presidency – if not the most egregious aspect, is his contempt for our borders and sovereignty.  Among all of Obama’s illegal and imperial acts as president – and there have been many – none of them have affected laws more fundamental to preserving our existence as a sovereign nation like his administrative edicts granting amnesty and inviting in illegal immigrants from around the world.

Yet, instead of using the power of the purse or even simply expressing outrage against Obama’s open borders policies, Republican leadership has remained indifferent for the past few years.  Concurrently, they joined with Democrats and publicly agreed with the premise that passing amnesty is one of the most pressing priorities of our time.  In fact, if not for those dreaded outside conservative groups and the fervent opposition of the GOP base, these same Republicans would have easily passed the Gang of 8 comprehensive amnesty bill.  Even after they were forced to oppose that bill, they merely expressed opposition to its comprehensive nature while echoing the core values and dyslexic priorities expressed in this odious piece of legislation.

At the time, we warned that fervent bipartisan support for amnesty would not only cripple our welfare system, it would perpetuate a vicious cycle incentivizing new waves of illegal immigrants. We were ridiculed, mocked, and marginalized by the broader GOP party elite.

Fast-forward a year later, and everything our side predicted came to fruition dramatically.  The forces behind open borders in both parties were completely repudiated in spectacular fashion in front of the entire nation.  As we predicted, once the other side of the debate would be properly articulated, the American people would side with us.  Indeed immigration has become the worst issue for President Obama, even factoring in a languishing job market and Obamacare.

Republicans had the opportunity to unite and stand firmly against amnesty while using the power of the purse to end the lawlessness once and for all.  Instead, they completely adopted Obama’s messaging about this being a humanitarian crisis exclusively related to unaccompanied kids.  They adopted his message that this was a crisis requiring immediate funding and changing of statutes related to “Bush era” laws.  They focused on everything except for the original culprit of the border surge, and indeed, they ultimately failed to address their own concerns with the statutes and made current law worse.

Why were they so recalcitrant to deal with Obama’s illegal amnesty, even as Obama promised to grant new waves of amnesty?  Why were they willing to grant Obama new money before he agrees to swear off amnesty?

It’s real simple.  The same forces behind their ill-advised and politically tone-deaf pursuit of amnesty last year are still running the show.  All of the leadership lobbyists, staffers, pollsters, and donors are still inexorably against true enforcement measures and desire more amnesty.  Hence, they were forced to walk a tight-rope in which they pretended to care about the border, but ultimately refused to act against DACA in any consequential way.  They needed to buy off conservative votes, but deep down they are still aligned with the open borders crowd.  Not surprisingly, Becky Tallent, the co-author of the McCain amnesty bill, was allegedly involved in drafting this flawed bill.  Talk about the fox guarding the hen-house.

Sadly, the vacuum of leadership that actually shares our values has created much acrimony among conservatives in the House.  Stymied by efforts to advance conservative proposals, individual members are confronted with tortuous decisions – whether to buck their own party and become marginalized or whether to eat the excrement sandwich and violate their principles.  Some members who choose the latter approach try to convince themselves that they are sincerely making progress moving leadership to their position.

Ultimately, what many members and beltway conservatives fail to see is that this is not a family disagreement over strategy.  The core movers and shakers within the party are completely out of touch with their party base, and frankly, the majority of the country, on this issue.  They have no intention to fight open borders because they are controlled by those very elements who have engendered this problem in the first place.

Amazingly, two of the members of Boehner’s “border task force” were part of the House Gang of 8 last year and are passionate supporters of amnesty.  Most notably, Boehner omitted DACA from his lawsuit against Obama’s lawlessness.

Some of these same members who are feigning outrage and expressing the desire to “do something” about the border were nowhere to be seen when the issue blew up last year. Many of them were on the wrong side of the issue.  Now they refuse to use their first point of leverage to stop Obama’s amnesty and are dismayed that conservatives were not fooled by their distractions and shiny objects.  They have no one to blame but themselves.