Does anyone notice the dog that doesn’t bark? Sometimes the dog is sleeping, but sometimes he’s been poisoned.
The missing amnesty debate in Congress is a poisoned dog. In place of an open debate, we have shameless politics of pandering and deal-making behind closed doors. The non-debate in the House over the Senate amnesty bill will never be used as a model of civic discourse in our history books or high-school civics classes.
The secretive maneuvers by House Republican leaders to get an immigration bill to a conference committee is a shameless escape from accountability and honesty. It fails every test for transparency, common sense and responsible decision-making.
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This is what happens to public policy when the political establishment decides that an issue must not be debated on its merits – the pros and cons of what is best for the country. Instead, the amnesty bill must be steamrolled through the Congress as a “bipartisan solution that is above politics.”
Whenever you hear that phrase – that an issue must be “taken out of politics” – you can be sure there is chicanery afoot. This means the losing side wants to disregard the polls, disregard constituents, disregard all past experience and open debate and push through Congress some new boondoggle the public does not support.
Let’s be honest and realistic about “politics.” The only nations free of politics are totalitarian countries, and even there, there is politics within the ruling clique. There is politics in private associations and sports organizations and charitable foundations. Politics will exist whenever and wherever there is disagreement about the best path to take, and that means there will be plenty of politics in a free society.
The choice we have in government is between open politics and closed-door politics. Today, on too many issues, and especially the amnesty issue, the Republican leadership in Congress has chosen closed-door politics hidden from public involvement and public scrutiny. That means hidden from accountability.
But every scam needs a cover story, and the amnesty scam has one, too. The cover story is that an amnesty bill is critical to Republican survival because of the growing size and importance of the “Hispanic vote.” This is a scam because only one half of the “success formula” is true, and the other half is a lie.
It is true that the Hispanic vote is an increasingly important part of the electorate, but it is lie that voting for another amnesty bill will solve the problem of poor Republican standing among Hispanic voters. In fact, doing so will more likely exacerbate the Republican problem by giving more legitimacy and more momentum to identity politics, which only digs a deeper hole for the Republican Party.
There are many Republican leaders who have bought the “amnesty is our salvation” lie hook, line and sinker. They honestly believe that once Congress passes an amnesty bill, then, “the immigration issue is behind us” and the party can begin to woo Hispanic voters more successfully. That is a false and foolish hope for many reasons.
There is no way the Democratic Party will allow Republicans to outbid them on immigration issues. Obama has already demonstrated this on the expansion of his original “Deferred Action on Child Arrivals” administrative decree. He has already expanded it to include the parents of the young people who were brought here “against their will” by – by whom? By their parents. Now he is giving the parents “deferred action” as well, which means amnesty.
Obama’s actions demonstrate very clearly – for all but the willfully blind – that Republicans will never be able to match the pandering of Democrats on immigration enforcement. No matter how many compromises Republicans make, Democrats will always up the bid.
The only truly smart path out of that box for Republicans is to take a stand on principle, the principle of the rule of law. That means appealing to Hispanic voters on the same issues and with the same sincerity and realism with which they appeal to other voters. A Pew Center poll in June revealed that 40 percent of Hispanic voters support amnesty only after achieving meaningful border security. That 40 percent is who Republicans should be talking to, not the purveyors of the newest Potomac Snake Oil, the politics of endless amnesties based on endless lies.