Yesterday, Mitt Romney’s health care advisor Avik Roy appeared on Up With Chris Hayes, where the conversation veered toward President Obama’s recent comments that if he wins a second term, it will have been because Republicans “have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”
That means, Hayes said, that there is a political case for passing immigration reform, as Republicans reconsider the consequences of continuing to block legislation important to the Latino vote. Hayes asked if Roy agreed, and Roy responded by going into Republican talking points:
“Geoge W. Bush proposed bipartisan immigration reform, and it was sunk by the base in both parties–”
“Oh that is just not true!” Hayes interrupted (Mediate made sure to take a screenshot of Roy’s shocked expression). “Labor, which had always historically opposed these, did the tough thing, bit down, went to their members, members that are really suspicious of this, and sold them that comprehensive immigration bill. This is McCain/Kennedy we’re talking about. It was not killed by the left base, it just wasn’t. It was killed by the right base, and the reason you know that is, in 2008, when the candidates were running, John McCain took his name off the bill. It’s not true it was killed by both parties.”
Roy then tried to pivot into an attack on the Obama administration, bringing up the oft-used but completely nonsensical Republican attack point that Obama has failed to do anything on immigration reform. While Obama did make a promise to tackle immigration reform, which he did not keep, it’s Republicans who have truly run away from the issue—Republicans who withdrew their support despite having supported legislation just a few years earlier, Republicans who filibustered the DREAM Act when it came to the Senate in 2010, and Republicans who stood against Obama’s recently announced deferred action program. Besides—how does it make sense for a party to attack a president for not doing something that they didn’t support?
Hayes didn’t let Roy get away with that pivot, either. He brought up the GOP primaries earlier this year and how Romney deliberately attacked both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich for talking about less-than-extreme immigration policies. As Hayes said:
Romney, we all saw him get up there and take the wood to Rick Perry in the primaries on immigration. ‘You want to spend $100,000 of taxpayer money on these illegals that are coming into the country? it’s what you want to do?’ That’s what he said! The question is, why did he do that? The answer is clear. The incentives are to use that language, beat up and get to the right of people. If those are the incentives, why are they going to be any different? When are they going to change?
Chris Hayes shut down Roy’s talking point that it was Obama or the Democrats, rather than Republicans, who have been the real impediment to passing immigration reform. The sooner Republican leaders get over this collective brainwashing and history revisioning, the sooner they can realize that demographic realities will force them to do something about immigration reform, and the sooner they can get to work. As Mediate put it, eventually Republicans will have to choose “between asking people for their papers, and asking them for their vote.”
You can’t have both.
Watch the Up With Chris Hayes segment below: