The Great Debate
Old vaudeville joke:
Man goes to the doctor. Says he has a pain in his arm.
“Have you ever had this problem before?” the doctor says.
“Yes,” the man answers.
“Well, you got it again.”
Now look at the Republicans’ immigration problem. Have they had this problem before? Yes. Well, they’ve got it again.
Comprehensive immigration reform still looks uncertain on Capitol Hill as the principles laid out by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and the other members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” slowly evolve into legislative text. But Rubio’s lead role in this has been crucial. Equally important, was the template Rubio provided by engaging with media of all stripes – conservative, mainstream and online – to sell the idea, and his party, to audiences outside the usual Republican comfort zone.
Heeding the Obama administration’s call for immigration reform, a bipartisan group of eight senators Monday released a proposal they plan to introduce as legislation. They wisely included legalization for current undocumented immigrants, but their plan will likely come up short on a guest-worker program for legal migrant workers.
Coming into tonight, the Tea Party’s big success has been knocking off a wide range of Republican incumbents or elected officials aiming for the Senate or the Governor’s mansion. This was nearly all to the benefit of candidates with minimal to no political experience. Even the Tea Partiers who held office, like Sharon Angle, were marginal figures in the legislatures in which they served. Whether a Mike Lee, Rand Paul or Joe Miller can actually translate their ideas into action in the Senate—whether they can be anything but marginal players—is an open question that will be resolved over the next six years.