RNC Chairman Reince Preibus Reverses Field from 2012 Post Mortem; Embraces GOP’s Lurch to the Anti-Immigrant Right
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairmen don’t typically endorse specific policy recommendations. But following the 2012 election in which Latino voters rejected Mitt Romney and the GOP, Chairman Reince Preibus and the RNC’s post-2012 autopsy report broke with precedent and made a specific policy prescription on only one issue: comprehensive immigration reform. As the report noted:
“We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform…If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.”
That was then and this is now. Less than two years later, Chairman Preibus is singing a different tune on immigration. In a clear demonstration that anti-immigrant forces are ascendant within the Party , here’s what Chairman Preibus said to a Tea Party-affiliated conference call last night, as reported by Breitbart News:
“’It’s unconstitutional, illegal, and we don’t support it,’ Priebus replied when a Tea Party activist asked him about the president’s plans for an executive amnesty on a conference call hosted by TheTeaParty.net on Monday evening.
“‘I don’t support it. It is wrong,’ Priebus said. ‘It is un-American for a president to try and do such a thing. I want to make it clear: There is no part of me, there is not a molecule in my body that agrees with the president on executive amnesty.’
“Priebus promised the hundreds of activists on the call that the Republican Party, if it takes the Senate on Nov. 4 in the upcoming midterm elections, will do everything in its power to stop Obama from proceeding on the executive amnesty. Priebus even boldly predicted that Republicans can and will succeed in stopping Obama if elected on Nov. 4.
“‘While I can’t speak for the legislature, I’m very confident we will stop that,’ Priebus said. ‘We will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen: Defunding, going to court, injunction. You name it. It’s wrong. It’s illegal. And for so many reasons, and just the basic fabric of this country, we can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen. I don’t know how to be any stronger than that. I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we will.’”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “There’s really only one conclusion to draw from the retreat of Reince Priebus and the GOP from its embrace of immigration policies favored by Latinos: the GOP really doesn’t care about Latinos. Given the 2014 map, this may make sense to some. But what will the next GOP autopsy say if the rejection of the fastest growing parts of the rising American electorate leads to a wave election in 2016? While Republicans will attempt to make executive action on immigration a referendum on President Obama’s popularity and a debate about process, Latino voters will view it as a matter of keeping immigrant families together and providing long-overdue relief and respect to a community under siege. Goodbye welcome mat, hello closed door.”