Gee, I’m starting to think that perhaps just maybe there’s some remote possibility—I’m sure it’s just a tiny chance—that this whole immigration reform thing might not work out too well for Republicans. Never mind the merits or demerits of the Gang of Eight draft (I’ll come to those separately); shouldn’t our deflector shields go up to full when we see so many pundits in the media telling us that Republicans simply have to embrace amnesty if they want to survive? Let’s see if I have this straight: we should heed advice from people who despise the GOP?
So, for example, we see Markos Moulitsas—founder of the DailyKos—writing yesterday that Republicans have to have immigration reform if “Republicans want to remain a viable national party.” Has Moulitsas ever wished the GOP well on anything? Ditto Jonathan Chait of New York magazine: “Republicans have to do something to rehabilitate their standing with Latino voters, or they’re sunk.” Republicans are “crazy,” according to the Washington Post’s Jonathan Bernstein about the GOP’s continuing opposition to Obamacare. And this is before you get to other social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.
All of this faux-sympathetic chin pulling is just a clever disguise for saying “All of your problems would go away if you’d just change your mind about everything and agree with liberalism.” Somehow people still fall for this. Too often such people are U.S. senators.
Occasionally someone slips and makes the tacit admission that the real problem is conservatism and the conservative movement. For example, there is the summary critique which says that conservatism is “anti-intellectual, insensitive to questions of civil liberties, hostile to reforms, more concerned with using political processes for social protest than with improving the quality of life in America by informed public policy and ameliorative social programs.”
Hold on a minute: this last blanket critique comes from Alan Crawford’s 1980 book Thunder on the Right, which was only one among a number of critiques circulating at the time about how Republicans under Reagan had lurched too far to the right, and needed to return to “the center,” which “center” somehow always corresponds to the current wish list of liberalism.
In other words, there’s nothing new under the sun here, and Republicans need to keep their head and have some patience. Republicans are always in danger of moving too far to the right, the establishment media tell us. I’m sure I can find similar quotations from the 1950s under Eisenhower, when pundits were saying that Bill Buckley and National Review were dangerous “extremists.” Nowadays there’s a whole cottage industry (Sam Tanenhaus, chairman) telling us how reasonable and responsible National Review conservatism of those years was compared to today. Somehow you almost never see any of these same media figures saying Democrats are in danger of moving too far left. The goal posts of American politics only move in one direction.
Unfortunately, in the hothouse atmosphere of Washington, too many Republicans fall prey to the DC version of the Stockholm Syndrome, and presto, you end up with Lindsay Graham and his sidekick. (Or is it the other way around?)