Mario Lopez doubles down on smear of immigration hawks; where does Marco Rubio stand?

I wrote here about the disgusting attempt of some supporters of comprehensive immigration reform within the Republican Party to discredit advocacy groups that oppose such reform by claiming that their views on immigration are rooted in an anti-life agenda. The argument (and I use the term loosely) is based on evidence that someone called John Tanton, who provided funds to launch certain such advocacy groups including the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) many years ago, was also involved in groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, Zero Population Growth, and the Michigan Council for the Study of Abortion.

From this, we are asked to infer that the interests of Mark Krikorian of CIS, for example, are “in conflict with conservative policy goals” including the pro-life agenda. We asked to accept this indictment of Krikorian despite the fact that (1) he is known to be pro-life and (2) CIS does not support abortion, contraception, or any other “anti-life” measures.

I wasn’t the only conservative to denounce this smear. Ramesh Ponnuru put it best when he wrote: “These attacks are unimpressive, and the people making them — including, I’m sad to say, the editors of Human Life Review – should be embarrassed.”

But Mario Lopez, the man behind the smear, isn’t embarrassed; instead he has doubled-down on it in a post at NRO’s Corner. He complains that no one is refuting his “facts.” But the problem, as Ponnuru pointed out, is that Lopez’s facts don’t remotely support his conclusion that the interests of Krikorian, for example, are in conflict with conservative policy goals.

It is a fact that Lopez is part of something called the Hispanic Leadership Fund. But it doesn’t follow that his push for amnesty and a path to citizenship is motivated by a desire to expand his influence and the influence of his organization by bringing ten million new voters (one or two million of whom might turn out to be Republicans) into the electorate. Yet such an inference seems at least as plausible as the one Lopez wants us to draw about Krikorian.

John O’Sullivan cites additional flaws in Lopez’s argument. He urges Lopez to “modify his condemnation of immigration hawks,” as it is causing him to “go up in flames.”

But Lopez is just another operative on the make. The real question is, where does Marco Rubio stand.

According to the Washington Post, Rubio’s staff has been peddling the Lopez smear. It was Rubio aides who brought Lopez to a meeting of GOP Senate staffers so that he could distribute literature containing attacks on CIS and other such groups.

Accordingly, Rubio should disavow Lopez’s smear, acknowledge the good faith of conservatives who disagree with his views on comprehensive immigration reform, and acknowledge, as Krikorian does, that there are two legitimate conservative positions — one pro, the other con — on this issue.

If Rubio fails to do so, then (unless reports that he has sponsored the attack are erroneous) he must be deemed to have embraced the smear. In that event, I think it will be impossible for many who disagree Rubio’s position on immigration reform to consider him an acceptable candidate for the presidency.