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Do you sense it?

I wrote here about the plan of the House Republican leadership to push for immigration reform that includes amnesty. Subsequently, there have been several strong critiques from conservative opinion-writers such as Bill Kristol, the NRO editors, Peter Kirsanow, and Quin Hillyer.

I was most struck, though, by this excerpt from an email that someone wrote to Mark Krikorian:

To me, the House immigration effort proceeding is also, somehow, not to be over-dramatic, but . . . really, the end of the Republican party as we at least hoped it to be. . . .It feels like the final straw. I feel that. I have heard grassroots people saying it. But I wonder if you all sense this too.

I have sensed it for some time, though I haven’t been in a hurry to say so. Krikorian captures my line of thought:

Passage of amnesty could be a recipe for the kind of anti-establishment political surge we’ve seen in Europe. And it would be caused by the same elite contempt for their countrymen that has long shaped immigration policy both here and in Europe.

I consider myself neither pro nor anti-establishment. The “establishment” — to the extent it makes sense to speak of one — gets some stuff right (from my perspective) and some stuff wrong.

But caving on amnesty before new measures have been shown to prevent illegal immigration (and have survived legal challenge) would be a startlingly craven bow to business interests and “elite” opinion. And caving on a path to citizenship would signal gross indifference to the GOP’s long-term status as a conservative party because Republicans probably could not compete as such a party in an electorate containing tens of millions of additional low-skilled, low-wage voters.

I would be hard-pressed to remain affiliated with a party that commits such consequential and essentially unforced errors.

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