At the beginning of the month, I wrote about CPAC’s exclusion of opponents of amnesty for illegal immigrants from its panel on immigration. For those who don’t know much about CPAC and Grover Norquist, the absence of anti-amnesty participants must seem odd. After all, most conservatives oppose amnesty.
Mark Krikorian was present for the one-sided discussion. He reports:
[The] panel. . .was straight pro-amnesty agitprop. Entitled “Respecting Families and the Rule of Law: A Lasting Immigration Policy,” it was a commercial for amnesty and unlimited immigration, lacking even a token dissenter, and chock-full of cliches about immigrant family values and entrepreneurship and how amnesty will ensure victory in 2016. . . .
The audience reception was decidedly cool, with one member of the audience calling out “legally!” when a panelist was singing the praises of immigration. A lone person at the right side of the ballroom clapped on cue at several open-borders applause lines, but no one followed. Other than the usual polite smattering at the end of each presentation, only non-immigration topics got any meaningful reaction, like attacking government regulation of business.
Even without witnessing reaction to the panel, I can tell that amnesty is a loser as far as the assembled conservatives at CPAC are concerned. How? Because Marco Rubio neglected to mention immigration in his speech. In other words, Rubio was unwilling to advocate publicly to conservatives the position that underlies his signature legislative initiative. That strikes me as gutless.
I guess it’s easier to have your operatives tell Senate staffers, behind closed doors, that opponents of amnesty aren’t conservative than personally to argue for amnesty before actual conservatives.
Krikorian explains, correctly, that Rubio “didn’t want to pour cold water on his star turn by highlighting something he knows the audience doesn’t like.” But if Rubio seeks the presidency, the cold water will be poured by others.