Laura Ingraham to Rubio: Stop dividing the GOP with immigration reform

She’s more cordial than the headline suggests, emphasizing that reform would be okay if Rubio and the Republicans were in charge of border security rather than Obama and Schumer et al. I’m … less confident about that than she is. Still, the clip’s useful as a demonstration of how even prominent border hawks are willing to cut Rubio slack for championing a bill that they dislike, which is remarkable insofar as passage would be impossible without his support. If you’re looking for one member of Congress who, more than any other, is singlehandedly making earned amnesty happen this year, it’s Rubio — and yet, despite the criticism ramping up lately, I think he remains basically unbruised. Partly that’s because of his conservative-media charm offensive, partly because he’s been shrewd in pounding Obama on other issues while this plays out to shore up his right-wing cred, and partly because smart righties like Ingraham don’t want to sabotage a guy with a legitimate chance to win in 2016. His response to her here, on the alleged economic benefits of mass legalization, is debatable on the merits and dubious insofar as virtually no one involved in this process in Congress is pursuing reform for that reason. Democrats wants to pad their electoral rolls with newly legalized voters and Republicans want to pass something as a goodwill gesture to Latinos. But he can sell it, can’t he? The only way he’ll be really hurt come 2016, I think, is if the bill passes and starts to go off the rails in terms of enforcement before then. Even Rubio would have trouble selling that.

He claims, by the way, that there still aren’t 60 votes in the Senate for it. At the Examiner, David Drucker’s sources are telling him the same thing:

Democratic and Republican sources working to build support for the bill agreed that garnering the necessary GOP votes would require amending the legislation to strengthen its border security components. Additionally, there are senators on both sides of the aisle who don’t support the current measure because of provisions other than border security who also must be appeased.

The bill’s supporters are now focusing their efforts on wooing as many as five Democrats who might oppose it and about two dozen Republicans described as “gettable” or “maybes” but who for now are far from a “yes” vote. (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is not among those targeted.) The bill is scheduled to hit the floor next Monday, and Senate Democratic leaders said it may go up for a final vote before the July 4 recess…

Republicans on the fence include Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, of Tennessee; Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire; Richard Burr, of North Carolina; Dan Coats, of Indiana; Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, of Idaho; Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, of Georgia; Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, of Utah; Dean Heller, of Nevada; John Hoeven, of North Dakota; Mike Johanns, of Nebraska; Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin; Mark Kirk of Illinois; Rand Paul of Kentucky; Rob Portman, of Ohio; and Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania.

That’s a lot of Republicans looking for ways to vote yes. Rubio himself is working on a way to bring them onboard by rewriting the bill’s enforcement provisions so that Congress itself, not DHS, gets to write the plan for better border security. If you read last night’s QOTD, you know how skeptical border hawks are about that. Bottom line: Schumer and the Democrats will never agree to suspend the path to citizenship until Congress, which might be controlled by Republicans in 18 months, officially confirms that the border has been secured. The Democrats might tolerate tighter security but they’ll never tolerate making amnesty contingent upon it. Which, if you go back to the beginning of this fiasco, is what Rubio claimed he’d insist upon when he talked about border-security “triggers.”

Here’s the clip, via Noah Rothman. Apropos of nothing, I’ve been wondering since Sunday night’s cultural eruption over “Game of Thrones” how long it’ll be before political media starts working “Red Wedding” metaphors into its reporting. Here, let me be the first hack out of the gate: Is the Gang of Eight bill a “Red Wedding” for conservatives? And if it is, is Rubio Robb Stark or Walder Frey? I’m leaning towards Stark just because I want Schumer to be Frey, but depending upon how the next month goes, I’m willing to revisit that analogy.

Jazz Shaw May 16, 2022 12:41 PM ET