In the wake of the 2012 election, Republicans have been treated to seemingly endless prophecies of doom. Many have come from liberal Democrats, who would happily see the demise of the GOP. But more than a few Republicans have also made the case that the party must either change or disappear, and they focus especially on immigration. South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham argued recently that unless the GOP does something on immigration, it will face a “demographic death spiral” as the growing Hispanic population turns on Republicans.
North Dakota senator John Hoeven, one of the co-writers of the supposedly tougher border enforcement amendment to the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, appeared Wednesday night on radio host Hugh Hewitt's nationally syndicated show. Once Hewitt began questioning Hoeven on the details of the border fence provisions of his amendment, the Republican senator had a tough time responding:
Paul Ryan has been pro-immigration since he worked for Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett two decades ago at Empower America, a now-defunct conservative think tank. When National Review ran a cover story, “Why Kemp and Bennett Are Wrong on Immigration” in 1994, Ryan wrote a 4,000-word rebuttal. It defended their opposition to Proposition 187, which denied any social services for illegal immigrants in California.
Nothing unifies the American elite like immigration. From Barack Obama to Paul Ryan, from the editorial board of The New York Times to that of The Wall Street Journal, from the offices of Facebook to those of Goldman Sachs, everybody who counts more or less agrees.
With an immigration bill finally on the table, Republicans would do well to stop and ponder how they have arrived at this juncture. Since the November election they have been preoccupied with how to approach Hispanics on this critical issue.