Joe Guzzardi, 6/28/2013 [Archive]

Self- Congratulatory Gang of 8 Now Faces Reality

Self-Congratulatory Gang of 8 Now Faces Reality

By Joe Guzzardi

When the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, 68-32, the successful vote set off loud rounds of self-congratulatory backslapping among the Gang of 8, the Hispanic lobby, the Chamber of Commerce and immigration lawyers. The White House, which had veto power over the bill, chimed in too.

Look more deeply into the vote, however, and some interesting facts emerge that should take the wind out of the victors' sails, especially as S. 744 heads to the staunchly opposed House.

Since 2006, the Senate has cast 60 votes more or less for amnesty in all the bills put before it. This week's vote gave no indication that Senate enthusiasm for a wide reaching amnesty is greater than it traditionally has been. Two of the Gang's original goals failed: 1) to reach 70 total votes and 2) to get at least half of the Republicans to sign on. The first objective came up two short. As for the second, only 14 of 45 Republicans voted "yea," a much lower share than in either 1986 during the disastrous Immigration Reform and Control Act or in 2006 for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.

During the two months that the Gang wrote S.744 with plenty of help from immigration activists and since the two additional months since the bill dropped in mid-April, a relative calm has settled over previously panicked Republicans. After the November presidential election, President Obama's large Hispanic vote share paralyzed Republicans with fear and led them to irrationally conclude that they need greater Latino outreach. But reams of post-election analysis found that even if Mitt Romney had won 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost the election. Low white voter turnout coupled with a record high number of black voters made Obama an easy winner.

Electoral college reality has set in. And since no one knows who the 2016 candidates will be, sanity has been restored among congressional Republicans about how far they should push their opposed-to-amnesty base to play for Democratic votes they'll never get.

As for the Republicans who turned coat, their Senate careers may end when their terms do. Gang Republicans Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake skipped the celebratory photo ops, realizing that front page images of them hugging Gang liberals Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin might kill their reelection chances.

Through the Internet's power, previous staunch anti-amnesty campaign pledges "yea" voting Republican senators made will live on. Here's a sampling. Flake: amnesty is "a dead end," Orrin Hatch: "We can no longer grant amnesty," Rubio: "I would vote against anything that has amnesty in it," McCain: "I'll build the dang fence," Kelly Ayotte: "I don't support amnesty; it's wrong." Little wonder Americans feel that Washington has abandoned them.

The next time they hit the stump, Hatch will be 86 and will have served in the Senate for 40 years; McCain, 80 with a 30-year congressional career. Rubio's polling has dropped precipitously since he assumed spokesman status for the Gang's Republicans. Breaking promises is bad business for duplicitous politicians, young or old.

The House watched the public take the Senate to the woodshed over the unpopular immigration bill. On July 10, we'll have an idea how much attention the House has been paying to the outpouring of disgust. The House Republican Conference will meet in the Capitol basement to figure out what to do with the Senate-passed bill. Lawmakers will have just returned from a week in their districts, hearing constituents' feedback. House leadership expects most members will want to do the right thing and stop S. 744 dead in its tracks.

© 2013 Joe Guzzardi and Capsweb.org - Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986.. This column is distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For information on running this column in your publication or website, email Sales at sales@cagle.com. For comments to Joe email joeguzzardi@capsweb.org.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

Download Joe Guzzardi's color photo - Download Joe Guzzardi's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Joe Guzzardi's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Immigration Road COLOR
By: Nate Beeler

June 18, 2013

Immigration Road
By: Nate Beeler

June 18, 2013

Border Fence Separates Senate Immigration Bill from House-COLOR
By: R.J. Matson

June 26, 2013

Border Fence Separates Senate Immigration Bill from House
By: R.J. Matson

June 26, 2013

Immigration Walled In COLOR
By: Christopher Weyant

May 30, 2013

Immigration Walled In
By: Christopher Weyant

May 30, 2013

Rubio and The Right's Relationship
By: Jeff Parker
Florida Today
May 9, 2013

Rubio and The Right's Relationship
By: Jeff Parker
Florida Today
May 9, 2013

Rubio Immigration Bill Tightrope Walk COLOR
By: Jeff Parker
Florida Today
June 26, 2013

Rubio Immigration Bill Tightrope Walk
By: Jeff Parker
Florida Today
June 26, 2013

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]