At MSNBC today, Steve Benen points out the recent election-year Republican hypocrisy behind a series of ads attacking Democrats for supporting an immigration reform bill that 14 GOP Senators voted for.
First, there was Michelle Nunn, the Democratic Senate candidate in Georgia who was blasted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee for supporting S. 744, the Senate immigration bill which passed by a bipartisan, supermajority vote last year. The NRSC called the bill “amnesty,” making things awkward for the 14 Republican Senators who voted for the bill, including one Marco Rubio, who will likely find that label inconvenient if he runs for President next year.
That didn’t stop the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a Karl Rove-backed PAC, from running ads against Alison Grimes in Kentucky, calling the Senate bill the “Obama-Grimes Amnesty Plan.” Karl Rove himself, however, is a noted supporter of immigration reform — his old boss, George W. Bush, once said that not being able to pass reform while he was President his biggest regret.
According to Steve Benen, “all of this may seem like business as usual for Republicans in an election year,” but it also serves to remind us how far away Republicans are from their post-2012 mindset, when the RNC autopsy report included a call to pass immigration reform. Benen adds:
Up until very recently, it was best to be at least somewhat cautious when talking about the official Republican Party line on immigration. Sure, most of the GOP has adopted a striking anti-immigrant posture, but there was at least some diversity of thought within party overall, and the Republican leadership was generally reluctant to align itself with the far-right line.
That was true a few months ago, but that moment appears to have passed – and the diversity of thought is gone. Karl Rove’s group is now attacking one red-state Democrat for having the audacity to agree with Karl Rove, while the NRSC attacks another red-state Democrat for endorsing legislation co-written by Marco Rubio and John McCain.
Reform supporters were obviously outraged when President Obama delayed an announcement on executive actions from September to November, presumably creating an opportunity for Republicans to consider a new round of outreach to the immigrant community and its allies shortly before the election
But as these latest moves help make clear, Republicans don’t seem especially interested in such an opportunity. The GOP instead wants to make clear that it, on an institutional level, opposes immigration reform and will blast candidates and policymakers who disagree.
Indeed, the current Republican attitude on immigration is arguably even more extremist than the party’s last losing candidate, Mitt Romney’s, was. Romney came to regret his stance on immigration, as his party surely will as we head into another presidential election.