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Why The GOP Can’t Have Nice Things (Tea Party Ruins Hispanic Outreach)

June 20, 2013

Damn forners, can't talk English!Yesterday we took a look at new Republican approaches to blocking immigration reform. As difficult as it is to swallow that Ted Cruz cares about the humanity of “illegals”, or that Jeff Sessions is  suddenly against rewarding “job creators”, they gave it a shot. (Hey, they’ve gotta say something besides “our base doesn’t like immigrants and we don’t think they’ll vote Republican.”)

So demands and excuses continue to be made, primarily calling for even greater border security, all while launching a brand-spanking new Hispanic outreach campaign. Wonder how that’s going?

House Republican leadership’s outreach to the Hispanic community ran smack into a tea party wall on Wednesday.

Outside the Capitol, a tea-party-fueled rally on immigration put the spotlight on the dilemma facing Speaker John A. Boehner. The Ohio Republican met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday and hopes to cure his party’s huge demographic challenge with Hispanics by passing an immigration overhaul this year. But the tea party energy on display outside the Capitol, which catapulted him into power in 2010, has turned on the speaker.

The contrast was on full display at an ill-timed news conference held by GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington outside the Capitol in the House Triangle, competing with the larger, daylong anti-immigration-bill news conference and rally on the East Front. [Roll Call]

Yes, putting the inter-party fracture on vibrant display, we simultaneously had one set of GOP lawmakers attempting to reach out to Hispanic voters and Spanish-language media while, just across the lawn,  a second group of GOP lawmakers (including Steve King, Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann) fired up a Tea Party group to rally against any kind of immigration reform.

“I want to make a call for unity,” said Becky Keenan, a pastor with the Gulf Meadows Church of Houston, Texas, “a call for a tone that is civil, where we can discuss issues, see where we can compromise.”

Across the East Front lawn, a woman was shouting wildly into a much louder microphone, almost drowning out Keenan. Protesters wore T-shirts emblazoned with American flags and tea party slogans, and they waved homemade signs that read, “John Boehner: no amnesty, get a backbone,” “Boehner: go home,” “exporting illegals = importing jobs for Americans, stop socialism,” and “if we lose rule of law we become Mexico.”

Earlier, a mention of Boehner’s name brought a chorus of boos.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. So what are the big GOP issues with the Gang of 8 bill? Well, they do keep harping on about securing the border, for one thing. So as of this morning that portion of the bill has been beefed up to the point that one of the Republicans responsible for penning the amendment, Sen. Bob Corker, calls it “almost overkill.”

So maybe that will do it, eh? Nope. Because you still have the likes of Ted Cruz in the Senate, and the nutjobs out at that Tea Party rally, that will simply never go for anything which includes a path to citizenship. (Even a laboriously long and complicated 13 year path.) I love the way Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen puts it:

The single most popular provision — a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — is the one thing congressional Republicans say they oppose most. Indeed, some, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have characterized this element as the one thing Democrats need to give up on in order to get a deal done, as if the citizenship provision were some superfluous add-on, instead of the point of the endeavor. [Maddow Blog]

As Steve mentions, the path to citizenship is the most popular part of the whole effort. Just how popular? According to a new Gallup poll:

A majority of Americans would vote for each of six different policy changes that Congress is considering as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Support ranges from a high of 87% for a multifaceted pathway to citizenship that includes a long waiting period, taxes and a penalty, background checks, and learning English, to a low of 53% for a law that would vary the number of immigrants the U.S. lets into the country, depending on economic conditions. [Gallup]

87%?!?! You don’t get that kind of broad support for many things in this country. Yet still the GOP (or at least a good portion of the GOP) balks. And this, gentle readers, is why the GOP can’t have nice things. The Tea Party monster they embraced for short-term gain in 2010 just can’t be tamed.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 20, 2013 12:07 pm

    Reblogged this on Leaning Left and commented:

    The Tea Party monster strikes again!

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