On issue after issue, the Republican Party’s leadership is out of step with the party’s conservative base. The really bad news is that Republican elites think this is a good thing. It’s not.
On Obamacare, the public and the Republican base want to defund it now. Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and 14 others have a plan to do that through the House’s appropriations power and the annual continuing resolution that funds the entire federal government, but the Republican elite says, no, that’s too risky.
On amnesty for illegal aliens, a majority of the public and 90 percent of the Republican Party’s conservative base oppose amnesty without genuine border security, but the Republican elite says, no, we have to do another amnesty even if the border security provision of the legislation will never be enforced.
On developing our energy economy through expanded oil and natural gas production, the Republican base says full speed ahead, but Republican elites refuse to force Obama’s hand by mandating reasonable permitting for drilling on federal lands.
On education reform, conservatives and the Republican base want to repeal the failed No Child Left Behind program and return to the no-strings-attached block grants of the Reagan era. Yet, we see Republican elites pushing the National Common Core Standards, which are being promoted through the extortion of threatened withholding of federal funding for states that do not adopt those national standards.
And to top it off, this past week, we see the cynical use of Republican deep-pocket donors to push federal legislation favored by the Republican establishment but opposed by 80 percent of the party’s voters. A “Letter from Republican Donors” has been sent to Republican congressmen demanding support for amnesty legislation. Some people can’t recognize a turkey even after it lays a giant egg in their lap.
Of course, all this is being done in the name of “smart politics” by the same people who told us John McCain would win over independents and Mitt Romney could win on the economy alone. They are the same people who told the Republican base that Mike Lee could not win in Utah, that Ted Cruz could not beat the Republican establishment’s candidate in in Texas. In fact, this same crew in 2009 told a Florida state senator named Marco Rubio he could not beat incumbent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
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In truth, despite their wealth and their great accomplishments in the private sector, these deep-pocket Republican donors are not immune to the same kind of bait-and-switch shenanigans the Republican political elites practice on the grass roots every day. Deep-pocket donors want to invest only in winners, so they listen to the same group of consultants and party hacks who have been wrong over and over again. Sadly, they listen to the same media-anointed wizards, the same Karl Rove Fan Club Chorus, who keep telling the Republican base, always condescendingly, “Listen to us, we know what’s best: we can pick winners and losers.”
If these people were selling automobiles or pizza, they would be in bankruptcy. But if you have the liberal media propping you up, apparently, you can stay in business forever.
To illustrate how profoundly misguided the “Donor Letter” to Republican congressmen was, consider one little piece of recent polling data from the Pew Hispanic Center. This will come as shocking news to the political consultants who make a living selling third-rate advice to lazy politicians.
In June, Pew asked Hispanic voters about their views on the pending amnesty legislation, and Pew published the results on June 23. The poll revealed a well-guarded secret: 43 percent of Hispanic voters said that illegal aliens should be allowed to apply for legal status “only after borders are effectively controlled.”
If Republicans will simply start speaking to that 43 percent, voters who care about jobs and gasoline prices and terrorism and education, and stop listening to the La Raza lobbyists who do not speak for all Hispanic voters, the Republican Party will not only survive in 2014 and beyond, it will prosper.
Contrary to the story line the Republican establishment is pushing, the current battle over the amnesty bill is not a battle between “smart politics” and “losing the Hispanic vote.” Amnesty legislation that repeats all the mistakes of the1986 amnesty is neither good policy nor smart politics. Republican candidates who sell out sound policy and our national sovereignty for a fantasy scenario based on stupid politics will suffer the very predictable consequences.