Via the Daily Rushbo, credit where it’s due: If this caller had pulled this on Hannity, he almost certainly would have been talked over/shouted down.
The caller wants to know why it’s not a big deal to Rush that Trump is (or was) backsliding on one of his defining issues, something he used effectively in the primaries to marginalize more conservative candidates as sellouts because their immigration views were more in touch with reality. Other Republicans have called for more fencing on the border but Trump was out there on a limb by himself this spring in insisting on mass deportation as a matter of basic sovereignty. If illegals can enter your country and stay whether you want them to or not then they’re dictating America’s immigration policy, not Washington. That view made him a populist hero. Americans decide how many immigrants America will accept, not Mexicans. So how is his recent slipperiness on mass deportation not a big deal? “I never took him seriously on this,” says Rush at one point in reply. Didn’t he, though? November 12, 2015:
[I]f you have 12 million taxpayers, and they all get together and decide, “You know what? Screw the IRS! They’re screwing us; we’re just not gonna pay our taxes.” Could we find them all? If we found them all, could we prosecute them all, and could we convict them all and put them in jail, and would we break up those families? And the answer is damn right we would! (snaps fingers) In a blink of an eye we would, ’cause it’s the IRS, and nobody gets away not paying their taxes. I don’t care what happens to your family if you get caught…
If the libs in this country, if the Democrats, if the left wanted to confiscate all the guns in the country, do you think you would hear any, “Nah, we can’t find all guns! Are you crazy? It’s crazy. We can’t find the guns. Are you silly? There’s millions and millions, hundreds of millions. We could never round up all the guns!” No. They’d go for it and they’d tried to find every gun in the country and they’d upset every law in this country to get every gun. If they got the go-ahead, they could find 300, 400 million guns inside of a month — or they would certainly try, right?…
I’m the mayor of Realville, and I do happen to react literally to things. So when people say things, I interpret what they say literally. I’m not gonna assume they don’t mean it. I’m not gonna assume they’re exaggerating. When somebody says something, I’m gonna believe they mean it. And if they say, “There’s no way we could do it! We couldn’t do it. We couldn’t round up people. We couldn’t find them! We couldn’t separate the families.” Well, there are people that know how to do it, and have been doing it for a long time. All we would have to do is ask them how they do it.
Sure sounds like he took the idea of mass deportation pretty seriously. Did he not take Trump’s desire or ability to implement that idea seriously? Why not? And if he didn’t take him seriously, why didn’t he make that crystal clear to listeners at the time, as Byron York says?
Here’s the latest in this week’s immigration follies, by the way:
Senior Trump adv on immigration speech: Secure border first. Then have conversation on what to do with undocumented "years from now."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 29, 2016
“Security first” is a commonly held position among Republican border hawks, to the point of operating almost as a default. (Note: I said among “border hawks,” not including comprehensivists like McCain.) In fact, irony of ironies, this is the position Ted Cruz held at the beginning of the primary campaign last year. Cruz eventually became more hardline and chose to rule out legalizing illegals altogether. Why? Because he was losing populists to Donald “Mass Deportation” Trump and wanted to show voters that he could be a hard-ass on the border too. Now here’s Trump completing the circle by seemingly shifting to a Cruz 1.0 position himself.
The same advisor quoted above supposedly also said there’ll be no path to legalization, but if that were true then there’d be no need for future discussions on what to do with illegals. They need to go home, period. What’s left to talk about? And why postpone the discussion on legalization for “years” in the first place? There’s no better time to hash out tough issues than right now, during an election. Rush, by the way, said elsewhere today that he thinks the great immigration debate will ultimately boil down to whether illegals are granted citizenship, not legal status, since citizenship is the key to whether they get to vote or not. I sure hope that’s not true. Once legalization is granted, citizenship will inevitably follow. If Trump understands nothing else about immigration politics, I hope he understands that at least.
You can read his full response to the caller here, by the way. It boils down to him saying that he doesn’t endorse in the primary because he doesn’t want to tie himself to any politician’s fortunes and he doesn’t feel it’s his place to tell his listeners whom they should prefer. Okay, but the charge here isn’t that he should have picked a favorite. The charge is that he should have spoken up and called BS on candidates whose policies either weren’t conservative (*cough*Trump*cough*) or simply weren’t feasible (*cough*Trump*cough*). To paraphrase Adam Sandler in “The Wedding Singer,” the idea that Trump wasn’t worth taking seriously on mass deportation is something that could have been brought to our attention yesterday. Why wasn’t it?