Thursday, June 13, 2013

Change we can't believe in

It has been my experience that changes in an adult's convictions are much more rare than is generally appreciated. Even when we keep an open mind and give objective consideration to different ideas, the underlying foundations of our convictions tend to prevail and keep us entrenched in the status quo. When a politician makes a dramatic change in position it merits closer inspection. In nearly every case where an apparent change occurs, one of two things will be evident; there was no principled basis for the original conviction, or a significant life changing event occurred. In the absence of that life changing event, we should consider that the politician really never cared about the issue, or even that they held the "new" position all along. We hear about politicians changing when they get to Washington, but I think it is much more common that Washington simply reveals who they always were.

There are a lot of reasons for conservatives to be cynical about politics today, and Marco Rubio is working pretty hard to give us one more. I had high hopes for Rubio. I'm already cynical enough not to say that I had high expectations, but as an early supporter for his US Senate bid I donated to his campaign and helped spread the word to other conservatives. Considering who his competitor was, I can't quite bring myself to regret supporting Rubio. Charlie Crist would have been just as bad on the immigration issue, and worse on everything else. It's clear from his history in Florida politics that Rubio has been a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform for quite a while. It's also clear that he is not concerned about border security. It would not have surprised me for him to take a middle-of-the-road position on immigration, but the fact that he is more closely aligned with leftists like Chuck Shumer than he is with the Constitutional wing of the GOP did surprise me (eternal optimist I guess).

The most troubling aspect of Rubio's role in the Gang of 8 is the duplicity with which he has promoted their comprehensive immigration reform offering. Unfortunately, the advertising that is being aimed at conservatives is very effective. Rubio has earned quite a bit of credibility among conservative voters, and those that are wiling to give him the benefit of the doubt may conclude that the plan must not be that bad after hearing the ads. Did I mention that the ads are effective? This was quite literally brought home to me a couple of nights ago when my wife asked me what was wrong with the plan, because it sounded pretty good in the ads. She is not a low information voter. After reading more analysis of the bill she was appalled at the disconnect between the ads and the substance. Between the effectiveness of the ads, and the political fatigue that many of us are experiencing, the grassroots outcry against the plan has been relatively muted. The groundswell of public opinion that we saw come against McCain/Kennedy in 2007 has not yet appeared on the 2013 horizon. If this latest attempt is going to be stopped, and it really needs to be stopped, the grassroots opposition needs to be significantly stepped up.

The Senate immigration bill is enormous - nearly 1500 pages long. The Eagle Forum put together an excellent analysis of the bill at the following link; 12 Reasons to Oppose "Gang of 8" Immigration Reform. This bill simply makes our broken immigration system worse; it is not a bill that can be salvaged. Making a conservative case that the bill is in the best interest of America, and her citizens, can only be done through dishonesty. Principled disagreements on the merits of immigration reform might be understandable, but the full court press to intentionally deceive conservatives in order to gain their support is unacceptable. That groundswell really needs to get started.

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