Let the record show, if there is still any doubt, that I am all in favor of tough immigration plans. I support a border wall - not just a fence, but a barrier - complete with a moat dug west from where the Rio Grande leaves off all the way to the Pacific. I support growing the Border Patrol as much as it takes to actually patrol - and control - the border, even if the National Guard has to get involved. I support deporting all illegal aliens. I oppose legalization of any sort. No "mulligans," no "amnesties". And I support drastic cutbacks in legal immigration as well, and reorienting it back towards what is in our own national interests, both economically and in terms of security.
However, I know and understand that we will get little, if any, of that, because it's not politically possible. I am also not a single-issue voter. Never have been. I prioritize issues, certainly, and immigration is high on my list. But if, say, Marco Rubio winds up as the Republican nominee, his immigration squishiness and having lent himself as the Latino face of the last round of "comprehensive immigration reform" - or his equal squishiness on sodomarriage - would not be deal-breakers for me, because I know that a candidate who is with me, say, eighty percent of the time is vastly better than the other candidate who will be with me, say, never.
"That's the general campaign," you might be saying, "What about right now?" The answer to that question is simple as well: I'm a free agent. Scott Walker was my candidate, the perfect candidate, the total package - proven executive experience, proven Tea Party street cred, proven track record of conservative accomplishment, proven ability to "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" the Left and kick their asses, proven ability to win elections in a "blue" State - and he was the second candidate to fizzle out, after....my second choice, Rick Perry. Republican voters don't want proven executive experience, proven Tea Party street cred, a proven track record of conservative accomplishment, proven ability to "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" the Left and kick their asses, proven ability to win elections in a "blue" State; they want to be entertained, they want to have their ears tickled with all the fantasies they want to hear rather than what's actually achievable, they want to carpet-bomb their own party to the bloody ground.
Some of them, anyway. For the others, the issue that has been and still is roiling the run-up to the Republican presidential primaries is, I'm not sorry to say to you Tea Partiers and Trumplicans (however much overlap there still is between you), just not that big a deal:
Retired postal clerk Jerry Wilson likes what he hears from GOP presidential hopefuls about overturning Barack Obama's [illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional] executive order easing deportation policies against people in the U.S. illegally.
But he'll choose a Republican presidential nominee based on other issues — keeping American companies from moving overseas, for one. Keeping would-be attackers out of the country, for another.
"America comes first when you're the president of the United States," the Batavia, Ohio, resident, sixty-seven, said. "You do everything you can to keep America safe. What about migrants, people who are already here illegally? That's not a do-or-die issue to me."
For all of the ferocity and double-speak on immigration reform at the GOP debate, most Republicans like Wilson say the issue isn't a decisive factor in their vote for president, according to a new AP-GfK poll. Even among conservative Republicans, more than half — 56% — say they either prefer a candidate who would keep Obama's [despotic] immigration action in place or that they can imagine voting for a Republican presidential hopeful who would....
More broadly, more Americans — regardless of their political affiliation — favor than oppose a pathway to citizenship for i[llegal]s, the poll shows. Even among Republicans — four in ten of whom oppose making citizenship an option for people in the country illegally — it doesn't seem to be a make-or-break issue in their choice for president. Four in ten conservative Republicans and three in ten Tea Party Republicans favor a path to citizenship for [alien]s already in the country illegally. [emphasis added]
I speak and write often about the Left's "existential bubble," an echo chamber, a "safe zone" in which they huddle to escape having to listen to opposing views and reinforce their own and pat each other on the back for their imagined moral superiority. But we, my friends, have our own bubble as well. We forget, in our "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" passions that conservatism and constitutionalism are, jointly and severally, minority positions in this country - just like Marxism-Alinskyism is. It only seems like the latter is dominant because of the third group that is far and away the dominant majority in America: Low-information voters. People who know nothing about nothing and don't care to learn. People who have never learned how to think for themselves. And, therefore, people who are (does this sound familiar?) easily manipulated, herded, stampeded, and led around by the nose. They aren't ideologues, they don't follow and immerse and marinate themselves in politics and election campaigns and public policy issues 24/7 like we do. Inside our "bubble," it's easy to convince ourselves that America is "REALLY a majority-conservative country"; outside of it, that simply is not so - something with which some of us have a great deal of difficulty coming to grips and accepting. And the deeper we burrow into our bubble of purity fetishistic escapism, the more irreconcilable the two sides of that event horizon become.
I learned my lesson about ideological existentialism twenty years ago, when I actually wrote publicly on the old CompuServe message boards that then-Texas Senator Phil Gramm clinched the 1996 presidential election on election night 1994. I mean, how could it have been otherwise, right? The Republican wave had overturned eight (and eventually ten) Senate seats, fifty-two (and eventually fifty-eight) House seats, handed the GOP control of the House for the first time since the Eisenhower Administration. That meant the long national "argument" was over, We the People had come to our senses and become universally conservative, and Bill Clinton was a dead man walking, right?
Alas, it was not so and never was. Speaker Newt Gingrich overplayed his government shutdown hand a year later (ruining that tactic for the GOP for all time in the process), handing Sick Willie the opening he needed for his political comeback, and the GOP didn't nominate Senator Gramm, who didn't last past the first caucus (and was an awful candidate anyway, which I had yet to learn - it would have been akin to nominating Jabba the Hut, or Droopy Dog, a charisma sinkhole for the ages), but the Ultimate Establishmentarian, Bob Dole, from a field of equally unelectable candidates.
What was the lesson? That there are other factors that play into elections than just ideology - like likability, electability, good or bad timing, and the sheer random luck of events (Remember SuperStorm Sandy three years ago?) - and oftentimes ideology and issues get knocked way down that list. Why? Because the vast majority of Americans are low-information voters who don't pay attention to politics.
And this is why we cannot afford to be purity absolutists and forget who the enemy really is - i.e. the Democrats and their eventual nominee, not the "GOP establishment". If there's one reason above all others for the horrifying rise of Trumpmania, it is that far too many conservatives have become obsessed with trashing their own party and its leaders and stubbornly refuse to deal with the reality of how politics works. That you can't get everything you want, that the other side gets to "shoot" back, and that it is an ongoing process of ebb and flow in which the point is to keep the metaphorical chains moving forward, not "go deep" on every play. And when our party leaders have to give in some areas in order to take in others, that does not ipso facto make them "traitors" and "sellouts".
You want to create the situation best suited to GOP leaders not having to make compromises? Win the damn 2016 presidential election next year. After which they still won't be perfect and you'll all go mad and lynch them all and hand the government back over to the Democrats, and the whole sorry-ass cycle will begin anew.
And if the best chance of winning the damn 2016 election means nominating Marco Rubio, or Ted Cruz, then buy it! Whatever it takes to take down and out that pompadoured Donk mole once and for all.