Just some additional thoughts on several major issues percolating at the same time.
Issue 1: Eric Cantor’s defeat
As expected, there’s been no shortage of analysis on the Majority Leader’s historic — as in, the first Majority Leader in American history to lose a primary — defeat to Dave Brat. Sifting through the opinions, this one seems to make the most sense to me:
Dave Brat’s stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District cannot be reduced to a single factor, as most commentators have been quick to assert.
Primary voters’ opposition to amnesty clearly factored into the outcome, but that was hardly enough by itself to trigger Cantor’s downfall. Concerns about his failure to provide effective leadership to address the $17 trillion national debt and to defund ObamaCare were equally potent factors.
And there were other factors peculiar to Virginia at play this year. Cantor had declined to support Virginia’s 2013 GOP candidate for Governor, Ken Cuccinelli. Forces close to Cuccinelli took control of the Republican State Central Committee and voted to reverse the Party’s decision to nominate its gubernatorial candidate by primary and selected a convention process instead. Cantor’s political ally, Bill Bolling, withdrew as a candidate and refused to endorse Cuccinelli.
… The chief political consultant of both Cantor and Bolling went so far as to endorse the Democrat running against Cuccinelli in 2013.
Cantor also went to great lengths to attack and thwart various Tea Party candidates and actions, both in Virginia and on a national level. In short: he forgot who his constituents were, and they reminded him unequivocally by sending him packing. It wasn’t just about illegal immigration, though that did rear its head at just the wrong time (or right time, if you’re Brat). It was a combination of factors that can perhaps best be summed up in this opinion from John Hayward at RedState, who uses illegal immigration as the entryway into the bigger issue (emphasis mine):
There’s never a single, simple, unified answer to such a question, especially in a House race, where local issues and the candidates’ relationship with their constituents always play a big role. But it’s silly for the Beltway-Media axis to fall all over itself claiming that illegal immigration wasn’t a pivotal issue. Of course it was.
And it wasn’t just a big issue on its own merits, which are considerable. ”Comprehensive immigration reform” is also a powerful proxy issue for the growing divide between American taxpayers and their Ruling Class. It’s an issue where politicians, media shot-callers, and the people are so profoundly separated that we can’t even agree on what the words mean. Begin with that protean phrase “comprehensive immigration reform,” a thick mouthful of politicized hash designed to make people tell pollsters it sounds good, because nobody wants to be accused of either xenophobia or opposition to “comprehensive reform.” I mean, gosh, you want things to get better, right? Of course you do!
But then it’s time to grab a ballot and head for the voting booth, and suddenly we’re not just trying to turn a pollster’s frown upside down by saying sure, we want everything comprehensively reformed because we’re totally not racists and we want everyone to be happy. We’re looking at specific policies, and their monstrous effects. It surely played a role in the Virginia race that voters are getting a look at the humanitarian tragedy on the border, in which thousands of children from Central America have been dragged through unspeakable peril to languish in warehouses and military bases, often without their parents… explicitly and undeniably because they think they’ll be allowed to stay in America. They heard the Ruling Class talk about its determination to hand some form of citizenship to “dreamers,” and they’ve come to collect.
The more sinister elements of the Ruling Class wanted this to happen, because they believe those young refugees will give them the political muscle to ram amnesty through, completing the transformation of America into a form more amenable to Big Government and Big Business. (What are you going to do with these kids, amnesty opponents? Airlift them back to whence they came, and drop them into a crossfire between drug gangs? Leave them squatting in camps for the rest of their lives?) The more gullible elements of the Ruling Class scratch their heads and wonder why all these new arrivals didn’t hear their elegantly nuanced promises that amnesty would only be offered to “dreamers” who meet all sorts of residency conditions. The most opportunistic elements of the Ruling Class rub their hands together in anticipation of another $2 billion spending program to care for all these refugees.
And the working people of America, the taxpayers, look at this disaster and ask: When did I vote for this? Why am I expected to pay for it? Why am I carrying a burden that the squalid governments of South America don’t feel like dealing with? What about our tough economy, weak job market, and tottering welfare state?
Politicians love to sing the praises of “working families,” the “middle class,” and “people who work hard and play by the rules.” The Ruling Class obsession with amnesty is a slap in the face to those people. Working hard and playing by the rules is for chumps. The smart players form a political bloc and get some politicians working for them. Work hard, play by the rules… and get stuck with the bills.
American taxpayers see a mountain of laws hanging over their heads… imposed by the same politicians who can’t wait to reward scofflaws. We’re not even allowed to use words like “illegal” or “alien” to describe them. This all has nothing whatsoever to do with racism or xenophobia. It’s about the rule of law, which faithful citizens regard as a two-way street, binding both the people and the government. But every day we see our government bending and ignoring laws for the benefit of the powerful and their favorite constituents. Illegal immigration is a sharp focus for popular discontent because it’s one of the most glaringly obvious places in which law has thinned out into a set of suggestions. Frankly, people who take those laws seriously are more likely to incur the wrath of the Ruling Class and its pet media than people who break them.
I believe this really sums up illegal immigration in particular:
And we’re not just insisting on the rule of law as some irrational fetish, which is how the Ruling Class sees it, when they’re feeling charitable enough to forego accusing us of racism. We know the system only works if the laws are balanced, and everyone accepts their responsibilities. We know the welfare state doesn’t have the resources to take on millions of new dependents, and the job market doesn’t have enough opportunities to handle millions of new employees. We have ample evidence to support the belief that people whose first encounter with American law involves willfully breaking its citizenship requirements have a tendency to ignore other laws they find inconvenient, too. Not all of them, of course, but sorting out the more lawless individuals is a difficult process… which is exactly why nations must have effective border-security provisions and deportation procedures.
But the Ruling Class doesn’t understand or acknowledge any of this. What you and I see as common sense, they either miss entirely or see as nothing more than a curious backwoods phenomenon espoused by a bunch of kooks. Rush Limbaugh hit on a similar thread today, too, in a couple of segments (emphasis mine):
[The liberal media] don’t know how out of touch they are. …
This is the point. None of them do, and they insult their audience. Reports like these two are insulting to people, which they don’t get. So then Savannah Guthrie said, “Look, this is gonna have broad implications in the political world. I mean, there had been so much talk this election season that maybe the Tea Party was over, because it hadn’t been able to unseat major establishment candidates.”
Here we go. There is no Tea Party. There is no leader. There’s no convention. There’s no Contract with America. There is no Tea Party. It’s just average Americans fed up and feeling like they don’t have any representation anymore. That’s all it is. That’s why you’ll never get rid of it. The Tea Party is American citizens who have lately been told they are the problem. Yet they see themselves getting up and going to work every day.
They see themselves as not the problem, and they’re being told they’re a problem because of what they think. They’re told they’re the problem because of what they believe. They’re told they’re the problem because of where they live. They’re told they’re the problem because they believe in God. They’re told they’re the problem for whatever number of reasons and they simply are fed up with it, but there is no Tea Party.
Yet these people… The first sound bite of the program today was me earlier on this program back in late May thinking on the ruling class thinking they had wiped out the Tea Party, and there isn’t one. I mean, there are people that raise money for it. I don’t mean to be insulting Tea Party people, but there is no Tea Party. You don’t see “Tea Party” on a ballot. Here’s Brit Hume on Fox. Megyn Kelly said, “Look, this was driven in large part by an anti-establishment, we’re-sick-of-it attitude among constituents.” …
When we hear Barack Obama talk about “immigration reform,” … we hear “amnesty.” We know amnesty! … The DREAM Act. There are any number of things. When we hear any Democrat talk about immigration reform, we know what it means. We know that they want a constant inflow of poorly educated and economically poor people who are gonna vote for them once they become citizens.
This is what the Democrats want. That is why they want immigration reform. Immigration reform is simply voter registration drive for new Democrats. That’s all it is… When we hear any Democrat talking about immigration reform, it’s a voter registration drive, which is why we do not understand Republicans supporting it, when it is going to mean the end of the Republican Party. It’s mathematics. It’s not even politics.
Now, consequentially, if there is a substantive immigration reform proposal, movement, idea in the Republican Party that secures the border first, then, yeah, you’ll be able to get away with saying Republicans support immigration reform. Immigration reform is a different thing, depending on who you say it to, or depending on who is saying it. I’m just telling you, the people of this country are not idiots. When Democrats start talking about immigration reform, we know damn well what they mean.
When Republicans talk about immigration reform it used to mean something else. It used to mean securing the border. It used to be mean letting in certain people at certain times and they would assimilate, and everybody would become Americans. That’s not what the Democrats mean by it. So we don’t understand why, frankly, the Wall Street Journal and the Chamber of Commerce and every Republican in Washington wants to help the Democrats succeed with their definition of immigration reform. And, frankly, we don’t understand why you don’t see that.
What we think is that Republicans, conservatives, whatever, inside-the-Beltway are so cowed, they have been convinced that they can never win another election unless they get a majority of Hispanic voters voting for them. And the only way to do that is to send a message to Hispanic voters that we Republicans don’t hate you and that we’re not racists. And the only way to do that is to open the borders say, “Come on in.” And we don’t like approaching everything from a defensive position wherein we must assume guilt and then have a policy which assuages that guilt.
We resent that, and that’s what immigration reform has become on the Republican side. It may as well be the Republicans admitting the Democrat charge that we’re racists and bigots, and so to prove that we’re not, come on in. Here is immigration reform. And, by the way, XYZ company wants to hire you at 80 cents an hour. Come on in.
We don’t understand it. To us, common sensibly, it makes no sense. So when you say the country at large favors immigration reform, define it. Because there is no earthly reason, not a single reason that I can see for the Republicans ever supporting Obama’s idea of it.
The Tea Party is never going to die. The Tea Party’s made up of average, ordinary Americans who are all of a sudden becoming activist because of a combination of they are outraged, insulted, and frightened by what has become of Washington. It’s out of control. The spending, amnesty, everything being contemplated is simply antithetical to the founding of this country. … They’re trying to stereotype who the Tea Party is, and they will fail at that because they’re just patriots. They’re just people who want to save the country from the direction that it’s going. And not even for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren.
…The Tea Party is made up of people that used to be called citizens. They were standard, ordinary, every day people.
They were the voters.
They were who people Washington used to really care about.
…They love God, love the country, love its founding, and believe in a moral code. They don’t threaten anybody. They have been abused, impugned, lied about. They’re called racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes. They’re the furthest thing in the world from any of that.
They’re just people, and they live their lives as responsibly as they can. They do everything they can to follow the rules. Nobody’s perfect. They see the country careening out of control. So they became activists for the first time in their lives, political activists by showing up at Town Hall meetings in 2010. The fact that the Washington establishment is frightened of them, the fact that the Washington establishment makes no effort to embrace the Tea Party? …
They’re just the people who make the country work, and they’re scared and frightened ’cause they don’t recognize their government. They don’t see their government representing them. They see their government governing against their will, and they don’t understand it, and they don’t really know how to do anything about it other than organize and show up on Election Day and maybe raise money for candidates that they want to see elected.
The Washington establishment sic’d the IRS on the Tea Party! This is how out of touch Washington is. The Washington establishment sick’d the IRS on the Tea Party, and the Republicans of the establishment have done very little to defend people who have been set upon by the IRS for nothing more than wanting to organize politically. It’s not just immigration reform. It’s not just the Bergdahl prisoner swap.
It’s everything, combined with the arrogance, the snootiness, and the condescension with which establishment people talk about, deal with, and talk to the people of this country. And it’s everything. It’s the Republicans, it’s Democrats, it’s the Regime. It’s the administrative state, the regulatory state. It’s all over control. The EPA, with nobody objecting, is going to mandate a 30% reduction in carbon output?
That will kill things. It will destroy many people. It will impoverish people. It will literally impoverish people with their utility bills alone. But forget that. They don’t have the authority to do it. It’s always been that radicals want to do things like this, but [there] used to be reasonable, responsible, dependable people who’d stand up and represent you and stop it or try to. That’s what’s missing.
The Tea Party exists because nobody can see any effort to stop destructive direction the country seems to be taking. Lobbyists, Chamber of Commerce, media pundit celebrities. Same faces, same voices thrown in people’s faces every day on all the cable networks. The formula is the same, the interviews are the same, the guests are the same, the hosts are the same.
And the results are the same. It’s all become predictable, and more and more people are becoming insulted by it daily and see through it. But this gap or divide or whatever… You may have a better word for it than I do, but I think it is epitomized by the fact that the Tea Party is not really a party; it’s just people. It’s just average, ordinary Americans.
Issue 2: Illegal Immigration Fallout
Given the unavoidable ties between Cantor’s loss, the current mess at our southern border, and the current push for amnesty, there’s been a lot of verbal diarrhea regarding what will happen on illegal immigration, too. Some are suggesting that Cantor’s loss will scare Congress into backing away from amnesty for the time being. Some are saying that they’ll keep to the same timetable as before, and pitch an amnesty bill right before the August recess. Some are saying that it’ll happen right away in a last ditch, go-for-broke effort before a new influx of conservatives enter Congress to prevent such a thing. Who knows? It will be very informative in terms of the Ruling Class conversation, though, won’t it? Most Americans don’t want it, but the Washington Ruling Class does. Time will tell.
Still, there are a myriad of immigration problems to be dealt with right now. Specifically, that kids are dying to try to make their way in. Huge sections of the border are completely unprotected, meaning the drug cartels are in charge. And more and more people are pointing the finger at the White House, saying this was a deliberately orchestrated political move. If it wasn’t already obvious, we have but to look at VP Joe Biden, who just called for a “constant, unrelenting stream” of new immigrants — “not dribbling [but] significant flows.” He claims that will provide desperate help for our national economy.
How is it that children who cannot speak English, are sick and starving and in need of immediate government assistance are going to spur the economy? That’s an answer I’d love to hear! Aside from the mind-bogglingly obvious legal, health, wealth, and communication barriers, there’s also a little thing called history. As in, never before in history has this sort of influx caused an economic boom. If only there were some real reporters around to ask Biden to walk us through the logic here…
And all the while, these deliberate moves by the Obama administration are taking attention away from the utter failure that is Obama’s foreign policy, as Russian bombers fly within a few miles of California’s coast, and Islamist terrorists take control of huge swaths of Iraq. Is it any wonder Obama wants as many distractions as possible right now?
There’s my two cents.