RUSH: I want to start with illegal immigration. I continue to be stunned by this, but I want to start with a concept. Have you people who have been paying attention to this noticed that the conventional wisdom inside the Beltway is that we’ve got to get a bill? “We have to have a bill! If the Republicans don’t get a bill…” and this is primarily coming — I have to tell you; I’m going to call ’em out here; it’s primarily coming — from the White House spin machine and the Weekly Standard people, Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes and they’re all out there saying, “There’s gotta be a bill! Why, if there’s no bill, why, it’s the end of the president’s presidency! The epitome of lame duck. If he can’t get this done, why, it’s over for Bush.”
For a lot of people it’s already over for Bush when it comes to immigration and a number of other things, and I’m talking about in the conservative base. This notion that we have to have legislation for legislation’s sake is typical thinking from people inside the Beltway who believe that nothing good happens without it first originating in Washington and in government. As conservatives, ladies and gentlemen, this is anathema to us. It is pure anathema, and the idea that a bunch of conservatives are running around saying that, “Well, if we don’t get a bill, if nothing happens — in fact, nothing good can happen unless we get a bill,” and I think it is hilarious how all these people now insist that Congress has to do something, has to do “something.”
Even if it’s damage, even if it’s the wrong thing to do, Congress has to do something — and notice, though, in this whole concept of doing something, nobody is pressuring the Senate to accept the House version. Nobody is pressuring McCain. “Are you prepared to make some compromises with the House?” All the pressure is being brought to bear on the members of the House of Representatives. They don’t pressure the Senate to accept the House version or voters will respond by throwing out senators. They always say, “If the House doesn’t do the right thing here, why, voters are going to throw members of the House out!”
Well, for all of you who think that there has to be a bill in order for something good to happen, it’s time to go back to Limbaugh fundamentals. It’s time to go back to conservative fundamentals. Because this is the kind of thinking that grows government, the kind of thinking that disempowers average citizens, the kind of thinking that causes everybody to get up, and the first thing they do, look in whatever direction for them Washington is and ask, “How are you going to make our lives better today?” When the fact of the matter is they’ve got so little to do with making your lives better, most of that’s up to you.
Like, we love government shutdowns here. We love congressional recesses here. We love when nothing gets done, because odds are no damage is going to occur, and no taxes are going to be increased. No regulations are going to be written. It is classic fundamentalism here. The Weekly Standard is… Let me just read this from Mickey Kaus. Mickey Kaus is a blogger, and he says, “The bogus conventional wisdom on immigration crumbles. How wrong can you be?” he asks. “This wrong,” and then he quotes Fred Barnes from the Weekly Standard in April. “‘The immigration issue has flipped in President Bush’s favor. The public now firmly supports toughened border enforcement plus — and this is a big plus for the president — a system for letting illegal immigrants already in America earn citizenship. … (snip) …
“The ones with the politically untenable position are Democrats who want an immigration issue (but not actual legislation) to use against Republicans in November, and Republicans who want merely to increase border security. The upshot is that an immigration bill appears likely (but not certain) to pass when Congress returns from its Easter recess on April 24 — and probably in a ‘comprehensive’ form congenial to Bush and Republican congressional leaders. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have indicated they back this approach, not a bill simply calling for stronger border security. The turning point came in March.'”
That’s from Fred Barnes, “Bordering on Victory,” Weekly Standard, April 24th. Denny Hastert has flipped on this? Denny Hastert has said he’s not going to bring a vote to the floor unless the majority of his caucus supports it. I don’t know what they’re drinking over there at the Standard. I’ll tell you, you might want to go out and ask some people about this, ladies and gentlemen. You might want to ask people like Chris Cannon what he thinks in Utah. Chris Cannon is an open-borders guy. He had a scary primary. He’s got a runoff. Well, not a runoff. He’s got his general election in June, June 27th, and everybody is going to be watching that election. He’s polling right now 48-28 over his opponent, who is a get tough on illegal immigration opponent, and if Chris Cannon, if he loses this, or just slightly wins it, House Republicans are going to be looking at this and they’re going to be saying, “There’s no way we’re going along with the Senate bill.”
You might want to go out and ask the former mayor of Herndon, Virginia, what he thinks about the conventional wisdom on illegal immigration or ask Congressman Tom Osborne in Nebraska what he thinks. He went down to defeat running for governor in Nebraska because he’s an open borders guy on immigration. We have this from the state of Washington. It’s from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “The Washington state Republican Party has adopted a resolution calling for an end to the Constitution’s guarantee of automatic citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Delegates supporting that platform said their concerns included the cost of public hospitals and expense of welfare for the children of indigent or deported illegal immigrants. ‘I think voters realize immigration is a problem and we are trying to grapple with solutions to the illegal-immigration problem,’ said Diane Tebelius, state GOP chairwoman, of the resolution adopted Saturday with little debate and few dissenting votes.”
So again in Utah we see Representative Chris Cannon face the closest primary of his career on this one issue alone. The sitting governor in Nebraska appointed after the former governor was named agriculture secretary by President Bush, sitting governor won a primary he was examined to lose to Congressman Osborne because the governor vetoes an in-state tuition bill for illegals. In Virginia, we saw the mayor of Herndon and most of the city council wiped out over this issue. There’s a rebellion going on out there within the Republican base, within the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which is its majority.
The people inside the Beltway don’t get it. They’re still stuck on this notion, “Gotta get a bill! If we don’t get a bill, why, it’s bad for the president! Why, why, why, the president will be a lame duck, and it will send a signal to Democrats that a do-nothing Congress can campaign on that.” This whole notion that even if it’s bad, even if it’s a mistake we’ve got to get a bill, is emanating from people who live, work, and breathe, drink, sleep, and drive inside the Beltway where what government does is first and foremost, second most, tertiary, it’s the only thing that matters, what’s happening in government every day, and that’s why there’s a huge disconnect here on this issue between people inside the Beltway and the voters and the citizens of this country.
RUSH: Over the weekend, I received a memo third hand. I’m not on the direct mailing list. Matthew Dowd, the senior strategist for the Republican National Committee, who has worked for Bush and worked for McCain, sent out this memo to the GOP: (paraphrasing) “Stop Worrying and Love the Immigration Reform Bill in the Senate. Stop talking about how this is the only way the Republican Party can advance, is if the Senate bill is passed, if the House finds a way to compromise with it,” and, I’ll tell you what, folks, what is going on here is real simple. The powers that be in the Washington Republican Party establishment are trying to come up with a way to accommodate both President Bush and Senator McCain, both of whom — well, McCain primarily.
The president’s made some recent immigration speech allusions to border security, but let’s be honest. Used to start talking about border security first and you lose the Senate. You lose the inside the Beltway Republican intelligentsia when you start talking about border security first, and that’s all that really is at stake here. I mean, that’s what people want first. It’s real simple. You know, we get all tied up here defending things, instead of advancing principles. Most of these issues like illegal immigration are far simpler than people would have us believe. Most of the time is taken up unraveling the spin of the other side and clearing out the clutter rather than just advancing principles and that’s because the Republican Party in power, inside the Beltway, has eschewed conservative principles for its own, you know, political hackdom.
So this memo goes out saying, well, the Republicans will go down to stinging defeat, lose everything, including the White House in ’08 unless the Senate bill is passed pretty much intact as is. Now, John Fund today in the OpinionJournal.com section of the Wall Street Journal’s website talks about Chris Cannon, the Utah congressman I opened the program talking about, and how close his race is, and he mentions the other candidates that I have mentioned to you also in discussing the vulnerability that Republicans face from their own base out there, outside the Beltway. He mentions Congressman Mike Pence and his compromise proposal, and as Fund writes about it, he said, “His proposal is already building bridges between the warring immigration camps. Tamar Jacoby, a pro-immigration scholar at the Manhattan Institute, says the Pence approach is a middle ground that bypasses the cumbersome federal bureaucracy. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a fierce opponent of President Bush’s approach to immigration, is also conciliatory. ‘A guest worker program I think can be on the table if it does not contain an amnesty,’ he says.”
So there’s movement out there, but what the Fund piece points out is that Tom Osborne lost. Chris Shays, moderate Republican, is changing his mind on this in Connecticut after having all these town meetings. Chris Shays told Fund that “his recent town-hall meetings in his upper-income district have convinced him he must oppose citizenship for illegal aliens.” I mean, yeah, I’m not kidding. This is all being missed by the people inside the Beltway. So what Fund’s piece here is an attempt to do is to position Mike Pence’s suggestion that compromise is something that will work and save people, but this still misses the point because it’s still founded in this notion, “There has to be a bill.” Legislation for legislation’s sake. That whole idea is just, as I say, folks, it’s anathema. The idea that we have to have a bill just because we have to have a bill, even if it was bad, to me it would be hilarious if it weren’t so onerous, what is being talked about here.
By the way, the Washington Post, want to go back to what Fred Barnes wrote back in March talking about how Hastert had flipped and is now on the president’s side in this whole thing. There’s a piece I guess in Sunday’s Washington Post, “Republican House members facing the toughest races this fall are overwhelmingly opposed to any deal that provides illegal immigrants a path to citizenship — an election-year dynamic that significantly dims the prospects that President Bush will win the immigration compromise he is seeking, according to Republican lawmakers and leadership aides. The opposition spreads across the geographical and ideological boundaries that often divide House Republicans… Despite some national polls showing strong support for a comprehensive solution of the sort favored by Bush, nearly every GOP lawmaker interviewed for this article said the House plan to secure the borders and enforce existing immigration laws is unquestionably the safer political stand in his or her district. Many Democrats from vulnerable districts say the same thing, although the Democratic Caucus as a whole is more sympathetic to a Senate-style compromise.”
Well, of course they are. It’s a pathway to more Democratic votes. It’s a pathway to the eventual destruction of the Republican Party. That’s what’s so nonsensical about this. Yesterday on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Steve Scully, the host, talking to the editor and chief of the hotline, Chuck Todd. Scully says, “How will the immigration issue play out this year, Chuck?”
TODD: I tell you, I don’t think they’re going to come up with a deal. I think House Republicans in their own mind think this is their opportunity to excite the base. You have Rush Limbaugh going on the air saying forget the Senate, folks, the House is the only place where there are any conservatives left in Washington, and they’re the only ones fighting on immigration. I think these guys are going to use this as a wedge to make sure, because they think at the end of the day they can’t win without the base turning out, and they’d rather kowtow to the base on this and fire them up and figure that they’ll try to win with 51%.
RUSH: And, you know, there’s an addendum to this. Why is the House conservative Republican caucus, why are they so up in arms? There’s a whole bunch of reasons, and you could throw in the William Jefferson office raid here to explain some of the actions. The House leadership feels totally sold out by the White House on a number of issues. In the first place, Porter Goss. Porter Goss, a huge friend of Denny Hastert’s. He was thrown under the bus by the president, despite promises to Goss that he would not be dispatched in this way. On Iraq and illegal immigration, two issues that the House Republicans are most afraid of this November. House leadership has not gotten any help from the White House.
In fact, to the contrary, the House is hanging tough against the Senate amnesty bill, and the president sent Rove up there to try to talk the guys in the House out of their position on this. And then you have the situation with the William Jefferson search, and it all just came to a boil. But the notion here that the House is on the verge of compromising with the Senate, it’s just the exact opposite. And Chuck Todd pretty much has it right here, as does the Washington Post, amazingly so. That the conservatives in the House who are in touch with their base — you — understand entirely what they face should they do the wrong thing. It is not the case that legislation for legislation’s sake will save the Republican Party at the polls this November or 2008. Doing the wrong thing and in the process ignoring the expressed will of millions of Americans is what will do great damage, perhaps irreversible.
RUSH: Don’t forget what I told you last week, folks. I sized this immigration bill up, and when I was making jokes about it, I was closer to being right than I even knew at the time. I ought to take advantage of my own example. Every time I make a joke about something or somebody it seems to always come true. In this case, the joke was that we were looking for extended numbers of Democrat voters and the Democrats needing new victims, and, lo and behold, that’s what this bill is, the Senate side of this. It’s not even about immigration per se as we have always known it, but there’s something else going on here, too. As we know the liberals are doing their best to destroy conservatives.
That’s their game, and that’s predictable. I think the Republican country clubbers and blue-blooders are trying to do the same thing, are trying to ace out conservatives. I think there is a deep resentment among the Republican elites, and has been since Reagan took over the Republican Party and made it a conservative party, there’s been a deep resentment for the fact that so many conservatives are Christians, evangelicals. They’re pro-life. These things are embarrassing to the elites who have to go to these cocktail parties and defend their association with these kind of hicks. In light of this, I want to go back and play Chuck Todd’s question and answer, his answer to Steve Scully from C-SPAN’s Washington Journal again. Listen to this.
TODD: I tell you, I don’t think they’re going to come up with a deal. I think House Republicans in their own mind think this is their opportunity to excite the base. You have Rush Limbaugh going on the air saying forget the Senate, folks, the House is the only place where there are any conservatives left in Washington, and they’re the only ones fighting on immigration. I think these guys are going to use this as a wedge to make sure because they think at the end of the day, they can’t win without the base turning out, and they’d rather kowtow to the base on this and fire them up and figure that they’ll try to win with 51%.
RUSH: Now, what’s wrong with this? What’s wrong with this is this whole notion that conservatives, the House conservatives are going to try to use this as a wedge because they think at the end of the day they can’t win without the base turning out, and they’d rather kowtow to the base. Notice that listening to your boss, listening to the person who elects you, listening to the person you represent, is kowtowing. Now, what this means is that inside the Beltway we are all thought of as a bunch of hicks and a bunch of hayseeds. We have to be “kowtowed” to. We have to be “pandered” to and so forth. Well, the truth is, we didn’t pick this fight. We don’t look to create a wedge issue here. We are not into wedge politics. We’re standing on principle. This is what conservatives do. We have long-held positions about the rule of law, long-held positions about border security, long-held positions about limiting entitlements.
There’s so much wrong in this Senate bill that offends our principles and our sensibilities. We don’t believe in expanding government as conservatives. We don’t believe in legislation for legislation’s sake. We don’t believe in expanding entitlement programs and the social safety net. We’re for reducing it because that’s real compassion when it comes to human beings teaching them to fend for themselves, those that are capable of it. Border security is a principle. It’s not a wedge issue, for crying out loud. Without a border you don’t have a country. Whenever conservatives take a stand we are said to be looking for hot-button issues or wedge issues, and the people that talk about us have no clue who we are and what we stand for even after all of these years.
Don’t get caught up in the same mindset that the inside-the-Beltway crowd gets caught up in, folks, because it’s something that’s entirely foreign to — well, not entirely. But it’s largely foreign to the hubbub and the daily activity of everyday life in this country. If anybody is out of touch and if anybody is trying to wedge anybody, it’s the Senate, led by Senator McCain and the missteps that have taken place in the White House on this and other Republican elites who want to cast us as restrictionists, nativists and all that. As I say, things are much simpler than they usually appear to be. This is an issue about border security and it’s not being dealt with. It’s just that simple. All this other stuff is, “Well, we got a labor shortage. We need keep this labor.” We can deal with that but we’ve gotta have border security first.
I say, “Well, let’s do it all at the same time.”
“You can’t do border security and wait a couple years.”
“Yes, we can. It’s a principle. It’s the right thing. It is what’s the best thing to do, is to secure the border, especially when you look at the sad sack state of the Mexican economy.” There is nothing down there that’s going to stop these people from heading this way other than our own border security. Here’s Carol in Kirkwood, Missouri, near St. Louis. Great to have you on the program, Carolyn.
CALLER: Thank you. I agree with everything you just said. It’s completely right on, and I’m calling for two reasons. The first one is that I am so mad at this whole John McCain issue. I think he is a totally dangerous person. I resent the fact that the rest of the Republican Party has to kowtow to him, and I wish there was some way we could rise up and get rid of him or let the Republican Party know we’re not going to go for this placating whatever John McCain wants.
RUSH: There is. It’s called the presidential primary. That’s not going to get rid of him as a senator, but if you’re worried, it’s called elections. That’s how it happens in this country.
CALLER: Well, I agree.
RUSH: If he’s in the primaries in the 2008 presidential you and others will have a chance to express your just-expressed preference.
CALLER: Well, we’ll have to wait ’til then. But the other thing, I don’t hear anybody talking about but I think you mentioned earlier today that somebody was talking about is that I don’t think nine out of ten of the immigrants, the illegal immigrants that are in this country today came here because they wanted to be citizens. They came here to earn some money and improve their economic lives. I don’t know why everybody is worried about giving them citizenship. They didn’t even want that in the first place, and I think they would be just as happy if we just left them alone, the ones that are here, and let them earn money and pay taxes or go home or whatever and just forget about the whole citizenship thing.
RUSH: I think there is a certain element of truth in that. As judging by some of the protests that have occurred, the people on those protest marches have essentially asked to be exempted from US law, how dare we stand up for our own laws and enforce them against them.
CALLER: Yeah, they have no respect for us or our laws or our system. They don’t have any respect at all. So I don’t even think they deserve to be citizens, and I think if you come into this country illegally, you ruin your chances of becoming a citizen, period.
RUSH: Well, you should.
CALLER: That’s how it should be.
RUSH: I mean, you should, and you’re making judgment if they’re here illegally they’re here illegally and therefore trying to game the system and therefore not really trying to become citizens. Those who want to immigrate and become citizens go through the legal channels to do so. I don’t know for sure how many illegals there are in this country, and so I find it difficult to, on a grand scale, impugn them and their character. They, when you boil this down, are not the problem here in the sense of solving the issue. Nothing else in this is relevant right now except for border security, and the fact that so many people don’t care about that is troubling.
It’s problematic, and those people who elected officials who don’t really care about border security are going to have to face their voters at some time on that issue and they will find out just as Chris Cannon has found, just as Coach Osborne found out, just as Chris Shays in Connecticut is finding out from his town hall meetings. I’ll tell you what, if a moderate, liberal Republican in Connecticut is hearing about this from his wealthy moderate Republican constituents and Democrat constituents, then I guarantee you it’s an issue hotter in other parts of the country. But I think, you know, here we go.
Mike Pence — and I love the guy, but he’s come up with this compromise bill to bridge the gap between the House bill and the Senate bill, and I fear its purpose is to come up with a way to accommodate Bush and McCain, they are the two ranking Republican principals in this, and I’m sure there’s some thinking, “My God, we can’t let them go down to defeat on this! Why, what would it say about him? Oh, my gosh, if the president loses this, why, this is horrible!” So we’ve got to come up with legislation for legislation’s sake. So the political class is aligning to protect itself here down the road and under the rubric of legislation for legislation’s sake. Why, why, we have to get a bill. That’s what’s now guiding this on the — I guess, what would I say? — the pro-illegal immigration side of this.
Again, I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but this is fundamental, and it offends me greatly. This notion that only with legislation can decent things or the right things happen, could we look at recent Senate action and take a look at just how well it panned out. Sarbanes-Oxley is not panning out very well. How about McCain and Feingold and their campaign finance reform? Whenever the Senate puts reform, comprehensive reform in something, go back and look at it, and you tell me if what happened is what was supposed to happen in the legislation. It was not, and it hardly ever is, particularly when it comes out of this massive Senate reform blah, blah, whatever follows that, legislation for legislation’s sake is not the answer to serious problems.