I think we’re finally reaching the “immigration part” of the primaries now. Yeah, granted, Trump’s been talking about it for months, but he’s been the only one and he sometimes sounds like he doesn’t know his own plan. If you’re a low-polling candidate angling to get the drop on a guy in front of you in your lane, now is the moment to accuse him of being a squishy RINO on the border. Rick Santorum, who’s drowning in Iowa thanks to Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz, went after Cruz on the subject yesterday:
“It’s not just the Democrats. It’s Democrats and Republicans,” Santorum said. “It’s Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and, yes, it’s Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz wants to take the H-1B program and increase it by 500 percent. He wants to go from 65,000 to 330,000. Again, ‘Mr. Conservative.’ Everybody (says) how conservative he is. He wants to increase it by five times.”
Santorum says the program is used to bring in cheap labor and costs U.S. citizens job opportunities. In addition to opposing illegal immigration, Santorum has separated himself from much of the GOP field by also saying legal immigration ought to be limited.
Santorum also said that an amendment Cruz offered to a bipartisan immigration reform bill two years ago would have allowed people in the country illegally to stay after the border was secured.
Now here comes Christie targeting the guy who’s ahead of him in New Hampshire for the center-right vote. Why go after Rubio for being soft on amnesty instead of Jeb Bush? Simple: Christie believes, not unjustifiably, that if Rubio ends up derailing, centrist Republicans will prefer him to Jeb Bush. That’s how low Bush has fallen. His rivals actually want a head-to-head race with him in the expectation that the “Anyone But Bush” sentiment that’s coursing through the party will carry them to victory. It’s Rubio, not Bush, who’s Christie’s main problem now. And not only do he and anti-Rubio talkster Laura Ingraham know that, they also know — unlike Jeb and his advisors — that immigration is a more potent weapon against Rubio than missed Senate votes are. So they’re going to use it to try to blow him up.
Click here for audio of Ingraham’s interview with Christie. The first key bit comes at 7:10:
Ingraham: I want to play a sound bite for you, since Marco Rubio everyone thinks is the next big Establishment thing, Marco Rubio was on with your dear friend Jorge Ramos from Univision… and Jorge asked him about the President’s executive actions on immigration and what he would do.
RAMOS: Ramos: “Would a President Rubio revoke Deferred Action and executive action by President Barack Obama?”
RUBIO: “We have two executive actions. The first was DACA which applies to young people that arrived in this country very young age before they were adults and I don’t think we can immediately revoke that. I think it will have to end at some point, and I hope it will end because of some reform to the immigration laws. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States but I’m not calling for it to be revoked tomorrow or this week or right away.”
Christie: It’s hard to keep up with how many times Marco changes his positions on these things, to tell you the truth. I’ve said very clearly that the President’s conduct here is illegal. And, it seems to me, I’ve been talking about lawlessness, Laura, on the campaign trail a lot and it’s getting a lot of reaction; you can’t act in a lawless manner as the President of the United States and expect that people are going to follow you. And, not have a sense of the justice that applies to everyone in this country. If the President’s executive orders are illegal, which I believe they are, then they need to be revoked the first day you get into office.
Christie crowed about his strength among Latinos in New Jersey after winning reelection there, hoping to use that as proof in his run for president that he could expand the GOP’s big tent more than anyone else. Fast-forward to today and he’s now claiming he’ll torpedo Obama’s amnesty for DREAMers, the single most sympathetic class of illegals that America has. I half-hope he wins just to see the electorate call his bluff on that. A man who got elected twice in a deep blue state running as a centrist Republican is suddenly going to be the border hawk that conservatives have dreamed of, huh?
But I digress. Skip ahead a bit further to 10:10:
Ingraham: So is Marco Rubio’s comment that you can’t immediately move against these executive actions, is this a disqualifier?
Christie: I don’t know why anyone would want to have someone who is not going to enforce the law as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. You have to enforce the law, and if you believe, as I do, now maybe Marco doesn’t believe that the executive order is illegal, and if he doesn’t he should say that. And, he’s welcome to that opinion, obviously there’s lots of Democrats who would agree with that. But, he needs to say that.
Oof. I hope Fox Business brings that up to Rubio at next week’s debate. Christie’s not going to go gently into that goodnight onstage the way Jeb did after Rubio rebuffed his half-assed attack about Senate votes. Say this much for Christie too: He did a nice job here of integrating an attack on a key rival into his broader law-and-order campaign theme, which includes stiff opposition to legalizing marijuana. That theme doesn’t smell like a winner when Trump’s pushing American greatness, Rubio’s pushing Republican Hopenchange, and Cruz is pushing bold conservative colors over pale pastels, but you never know. Remember this poll? If something happens to make Republicans decide they need a strongman and that Trump’s simply not a serious enough man for the task, a Christie boomlet could happen in New Hampshire. He’d better take it to Rubio at the debate, though.