I rarely post in full an article from another blog. This article by Gary Gross on The California Conservative is so on point that I felt it should be restated.
I just finished posting something that illustrates Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s diminutive and shrinking credibility here. Now I’m writing another article that illustrates President Bush’s non-existent credibility on immigration reform. I’m basing this post on Thomas Lifson’s op-ed, which is posted on RealClearPolitics. Here’s the first section of Mr. Lifson’s op-ed that jumped out at me:
President Bush is threatening to revive the failed comprehensive immigration bill in “improved” form. He is wasting his and our time. No amount of improving can make the comprehensive approach the best path for America to solve its immigration woes. Instead of a big bang approach to immigration reform, we need to adopt a different sort of change strategy for America, a step-by-step, or iterative approach, learning as we go, passing reforms in a logical sequence, and learning from mistakes along the way.
It saddens me to think that this immigration bill’s most vocal supporters are bent on not taking this issue seriously. My disappointment on their lack of seriousness is only exceeded by my disappointment at their thinking that they know best and their acting like they have a shred of credibility left on the issue of enforcing immigration laws. Here’s Mr. Lifson’s quote that most jumps out at me:
The politicians do not seem to realize how completely they have lost the confidence of the American people when it comes to stemming the flow of illegals across the border.
That statement is spot on. Frankly, I’m not certain that they even care that they don’t have a shred of credibility left. This, I’m afraid, points to another trend that I think will play out during next year’s campaign.
The trend that I’m noticing is an anti-Washington wave building. This week’s polls that showed Harry Reid’s JA approval rating at 19 percent illustrates that point. The fact that President Bush’s JA rating is in the low 30’s is more proof that his policies aren’t well-liked. The fact that Congress’ JA rating is 5 points lower than President Bush’s rating tells me that people see Washington insiders like Trent Lott, Ted Kennedy and John McCain as not worthy of their trust.
Once the trust between politicians and the American people is broken, it’s finished. I’m convinced that that’s why activists’ reactions to this ugly compromise is seen in such a negative light. Polls show that that intensity isn’t exclusive to Republican activists or Democrat activists. The intensity is high and it’s coming from both sides of the aisle.
What this tells me is that candidates that give voters straight, logical answers will flourish. Similarly, those candidates that give evasive answers will be punished. (That’s why I think Hillary won’t do well and why Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney will do well.)
I’d also believe that Republicans will gain from this national mood if they show that they’re serious about reforms throughout the political system. Here’s how I can see that scenario playing out: I can picture Jon Bruning defeating Chuck Hagel in the GOP primary in Nebraska. Based on this report, I can also picture Lindsey Graham getting beaten in South Carolina:
People are talking about newly elected State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, son of the legendary “Cousin Arthur” Ravenel who represented the 1st CD in Congress for a decade, then came home and ran again for State Senate, from where he sought and found the funds for the new Cooper River bridge which not coincidentally now bears his name, challenging Graham in the primaries next year.I don’t know how Graham is holding on in his upstate base (a very conservative area), but Ravenel would run up large majorities in the Low country and Grand Strand. His father is perhaps the most beloved politician in the state, and he is an attractive and conservative candidate.
Based on what I’ve read about Bruning and based on this information, I think that it’s quite possible to knock off both Hagel and Graham in the primaries and to have Bruning and Ravenel keep those seats in GOP hands in the general election. Defeating Sens. Hagel and Graham would send a definitive message to wobblies throughout the GOP. Equally important is the fact that it’d send the message to voters that we’re serious about cleaning up our image with actions and that we’re serious about doing what’s right for the American people.
If those things happen, the GOP will be (a) charting a new course for America and (b) giving people a reason to trust them on a variety of issues, including the GWOT and immigration.
That’s a goal that’s worth our sweat and hard work. It’s a goal that’s worthy of the party of Reagan.