The Republican and Democrat parties seem essentially to have merged.
Here’s a link to an article about Venezuelan politics by Daniel Duquenal. As far as I am aware, he is the only English language blogger still in Venezuela. In I am a Social Democrat, you are not, he wishes, we should all be, you can dream on, no way they are Daniel writes,
for me, who has declared Social Democrat tendencies, European style, German actually, being a true Social Democrat means that workers and employees stick together to make the country advance. This has NEVER happened in Venezuela nor it is happening today as people like Lopez, and in an even worse way Capriles (1), prefer to speak of anything but defend private enterprise the way they should if they were putting forwards the interests of the country before their political pipe dreams of attracting chavista voters. [Emphasis added.]
Noting the positions currently taken by the Venezuelan opposition parties, he writes,
The void in Venezuela is not on the left which is way overcrowded and today tightly controlled by the vengeful movement that chavismo is. As long as the desire for revenge in the bulk of chavismo electorate is not somewhat broken, this one is guaranteed 30% of registered voters, no matter what people like Leopoldo may try to pull off. The more so that he cultivated an image of tough on crime which unfortunately is not credibly associated with Social Democratic parties….. [Emphasis added.]
The void in Venezuela, since at least 1963 when Uslar Pietri went down in flames, is for a true democratic right party. Heck, I would settle for a true centrist party for that matter! Some times I wonder if Maria Corina Machado will throw the gauntlet on that one, once and for all. But she is rather ineffective so far at creating a viable political organization with her “Vente Venezuela”. It is not that I am yearning for right wing party, but I truly believe that one of the main problems of forming a truly democratic landscape in Venezuela is the lack of options. With all wanting to be more populist than the other we get boredom and the temptation to elect creeps like Chavez. Not that having true political options is an insurance against election of the worst guy, but at least it helps some. [Emphasis added.]
Although still far from the political situation in Venezuela, that in the U.S. is morphing increasingly toward the left. Instead of a cult of personality constructed around Hugo Chávez, we have one constructed around President Obama. Few within the Republican establishment are trying to move it toward the right, or at least to reduce its momentum toward the left. Unfortunately, there are few on the right currently able to do either.
Andrew McCarthy, writing at PJ Media on The GOP and Social Issues: Another Perspective, argues
Democrats may disappoint their base, but they are never ashamed of it. Former terrorists, communists, race-mongering rabble-rousers, scandal-ridden pols, big-thinkers who’ve been wrong about every important policy question for decades – far from shoving them out the door and into obscurity, the left elevates them to stardom in academe, politics, media and entertainment. They are transformed into cultural icons, their sordid pasts rationalized as passionate opposition to the right’s backwardness. Leaders of the left have no yearning for approval from the right; conservatives are there to be caricatured, a constant source of new villains to keep the old “us versus them” themes fresh. [Emphasis added.]
Republican leadership, by contrast, craves approval by the left, particularly the media. The GOP often seems embarrassed by its conservative base, which inconveniently resists the constant pressure to relent on matters of principle; to abide the imposition of immoral debt obligations on future generations rather than make adult spending decisions in the present; and to view modern problems as so complex that only government action can “solve” them. [Emphasis added.]
When the GOP tells social conservatives the time has come to shelve the issues that most concern them, it is essentially telling them, “How we are portrayed by the other side is of greater importance than how we serve our side – meaning: you.” Not only do social conservatives find themselves cast as “them” in the “us versus them” drama; they also see that Republicans are desperate to be accepted into the “us” club. This is doubly disheartening: Social conservatives find nothing for themselves in the GOP’s Democrat-lite approach, and they know it has no chance of winning over the media. McCain types get the occasional pat on the head, but when it comes down to brass tacks, the press will always go with real Democrats. [Emphasis added.]
The country is not as conservative as it used to be. But conservatives, including those animated by social issues, are still formidable. Republicans cannot win elections, especially presidential elections, without their enthusiastic support. . . . I do not believe social conservatives see today’s Republicans as committed to “seriously smaller government” – certainly not enough to set their passions aside. Social conservatives’ lives do not revolve around politics; if not embraced, they abandon politics. [Emphasis added.]
Does anyone still remember (and even agree with) the Buckley Rule: “Support the most conservative candidate who is electable.” I wonder.
Immigration “reform” is currently one of the most divisive issues within the Republican party. Jim Geraghty had this to say about it in his National Review Morning Jolt e-mail this morning:
Apparently GOP Leaders Felt the Party Was Too Unified Heading into 2014
Why . . . are we doing this?
Quin Hillyer: “The Buchananite Right is against doing immigration reform this year. National Review’s editors are against it. William Kristol is against it. Unions have historically opposed the idea — and most union and non-union laborers other than the illegals themselves still do. The Heritage Foundation is against it. Most conservative grassroots activists groups are against it. The always-wise Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is against it. The talk radio hosts are against it. Leading conservative (and centrist) bloggers — Michelle Malkin, and the folks at RedState, and Mickey Kaus — are against it. The libertarian Jack Kemp disciple Deroy Murdock is against it. Polls consistently show the public as a whole ranks immigration reform way down the list of priorities.”
Fred Bauer: “If the House chooses to continue to wade into the immigration debate, this kind of racially inflammatory rhetoric will continue and likely escalate. And if Republicans are going to attack fellow GOPers as racists, one can only imagine the demagogic vitriol pouring out of the left on this issue.”
Nevertheless, the Establishment is doing it. According to an article at Right Side News,
Over the past week, the House GOP leadership’s commitment to amnesty has become increasingly clear. . . .
Speaker Boehner and his allies are reportedly selling their immigration plan on two fronts. First, leadership is trying to get half of its Republican members “excited” to work on immigration. Second, GOP leadership is privately courting the approval of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), perhaps the leading amnesty advocate in the House. (Politico, Jan. 24, 2014)
. . . .
One GOP strategist claimed that Speaker Boehner does not intend to force members to adopt his principles: “It’s more along the lines of, ‘Here are some options, is there any consensus around them?'” (Washington Examiner, Jan. 27, 2014) Although top Republican representatives who favor immigration “reform” do not trust that President Obama will carry out any enforcement measures in the bills, they hope to get bills to the floor by convincing skeptical members that the legislation will be written to force Obama to enforce the law. During his address last Thursday, Paul Ryan stated: “[w]e have to find a way to write these laws so that they are actually enforced. … I won’t get into all the details on how to do that, but we have strong opinions…” (Daily Caller, Jan. 27, 2014) [Emphasis added.]
At the Daily Caller, in an article titled Is this the best scam they can come up with, Mickey Klaus opines,
Dud Con II: Immigration reform watchers have been waiting to see how the GOP leadership tries to package legislation to trick anti-amnesty conservatives into voting for what in essence is an amnesty.** Curiosity grew after House Judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte gave the impression that the leaders were preparing some sort of “enforcement first” approach — or at least preparing to pretend they were proposing an “enforcement first” approach:
“If we can have a way to get [immigration enforcement] up and operating, I see no reason why we can’t also have an agreement that shows how people who are not lawfully here can be able to be lawfully here.” [E.A.]
The problem for Republican lobbyists–whose clients would deeply appreciate the surge of cheap labor an immigration bill could provide–is that Democrats will not agree to any bill that actually requires enforcement measures (like an E-verify employment-check, or a system to catch visa overstayers, or a fence) to be “up and operating” before legalization. They want legalization now – both to please their constituents and to allow them leverage against enforcement later, once legalization has been pocketed. (Yes, they offer some other policy rationales. These fall apart on inspection.)
So how were Boehner & Co going to sell “legal status first” plan as an “enforcement first plan”?
Now we know: By pretending that legal status isn’t legal status. That’s something that not even the famously deceptive Senate Gang of 8 tried.
According to amnesty champion Paul Ryan, illegal immigrants would at first get “probationary status” along with a “work permit.” They could come ‘out of the shadows’ and live and work here. Then if measures are taken so the “border is secured” they’d get a “regular work permit.”
The idea, WaPo‘s Greg Sargent says, seems to be that “Undocumenteds will be allowed to work on probation while the border is being secured, but will not enjoy legal status.” Why not? Apparently because their “probationary” permits might not be permanent — the immigrants “could be kicked off of probationary status if certain security benchmarks aren’t met.”
This is a joke.
. . . .
The idea is so bad there is zero chance the provision would even make it into final legislation after House-Senate talks. The entire purpose of Ryan’s exploding cigar legalization provision is to give House conservatives a reason to say immediate legal status isn’t somehow really immediate legal status.
The status quo almost certainly encourages illegal immigration — particularly our extraordinarily porous Southern border and the strongly pushed availability of welfare benefits for illegal immigrants. Yet it is unlikely that any species of immigration “reform” now being considered will deal effectively, if at all, with those matters. Even if the Republican establishment insists that such encouragements cease, and gets legislation passed by both houses of the Congress and signed by President Obama that purports to do so, the Obama administration is no more likely to enforce such laws than it has enforced other laws it does not like. Hasn’t the Republican establishment learned that yet? If it has, does it care? Apparently not and it seems to be caving.
House Republican leaders are giving their support to a limited path to legal status for some illegal immigrants, in a move one Senate Democrat said could open the door to a deal on comprehensive immigration legislation.
The position was included in a document released by party leaders during their annual retreat in Maryland. The “standards for immigration reform” document ruled out a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Instead, it said immigrants living here illegally could remain and live legally if they pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, learn to speak English and understand U.S. civics, and can support themselves without access to welfare.
But GOP leaders made clear that border security must be improved first. [Emphasis added.]
“None of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented,” the document said.
Nevertheless, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a big advocate for immigrant legislation on the Senate side, said the announcement could smooth the way for a deal on legislation. The Senate passed an immigration bill last year.
“While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept. It is a long, hard road but the door is open,” he said.
The dilution of legitimate votes through non-citizen votes is a related but no less severe problem. The citizenship of those attempting to register to vote, and of those attempting to vote, can no longer be verified if the potential voter simply claims to be a U.S. citizen. Voter ID is also taboo and no immigration “reform” dealing with either is likely to pass the Congress and be approved by President Obama; even if passed and signed by President Obama, He is likely to follow His practice of ignoring laws He does not like.
Immigration “reform” appears, to me at least, to be an existential issue — and not only for conservatives: “reform” is likely to diminish and then eliminate whatever effectiveness the Republican party still has. It also seem likely to destroy much of what is good about America. Here are some interesting numbers
At the current accelerated rate of immigration — 1.1 million new immigrants every year — Republicans will be a fringe party in about a decade.
Thanks to endless polling, we have a pretty good idea of what most immigrants believe.
According to a Harris poll, 81 percent of native-born citizens think the schools should teach students to be proud of being American. Only 50 percent of naturalized U.S. citizens do.
While 67 percent of native-born Americans believe our Constitution is a higher legal authority than international law, only 37 percent of naturalized citizens agree.
No wonder they vote 2-1 for the Democrats.
The two largest immigrant groups, Hispanics and Asians, have little in common economically, culturally or historically. But they both overwhelmingly support big government, Obamacare, affirmative action and gun control.
According the 2012 National Asian American Survey, as well as a Kaiser Foundation poll, only 40 percent of the general public holds a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 42 percent unfavorable. Meanwhile, 51 percent of Asians have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 18 percent an unfavorable one. Even Koreans support Obamacare by 57 percent to 17 percent.
Overall, 69 percent of immigrants like Obamacare, according to a 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study.
That same survey showed that only 35 percent of native-born Americans support affirmative action, compared to 58 percent of immigrants, including — amazingly — 64 percent of Asians (suggesting they may not be as smart as everyone thinks).
Also surprising, a Pew Research Center poll of all Hispanics, immigrant and citizen alike, found that Hispanics take a dimmer view of capitalism than even people who describe themselves as “liberal Democrats.” While 47 percent of self-described “liberal Democrats” hold a negative view of capitalism, 55 percent of Hispanics do.
Pew also found that only 27 percent of Hispanics support gun rights, compared to 57 percent of non-Hispanic whites. According to Latino Decisions, large majorities of Hispanics favor a national database of gun owners, limiting the capacity of magazines and a ban on semiautomatic weapons.
Seventy-five percent of Hispanic immigrants and 55 percent of Asian immigrants support bigger government — also according to Pew. Even after three generations in America, Hispanics still support bigger government 55 percent to 36 percent, compared to the general public, which opposes bigger government 48 percent to 41 percent.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line quotes the same figures and observes,
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, an uninspiring figure who presided over the disastrous Republican outing of 2012, tells us that there’s a “general consensus” in his party that something big needs to happen on overhauling the country’s immigration laws. By “something big” Preibus doesn’t mean enforcing our immigration laws, which would be big indeed but requires no “overhaul.” Instead, he means amnesty at a minimum and, very possibly, amnesty plus a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants.
Is there a “general consensus” in Priebus’ party in favor of amnesty or a path to citizenship? Yes, if Priebus means among the party bigwigs who form his constituency; no if one means the rank-and-file. As Ann Coulter puts it, the only ones opposed to amnesty/path to citizenship are the people. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
If conservatives provide the votes needed to push Priebus’ “something big” on immigration reform over the finish line (and it can’t get there without the votes of supposed conservatives), American conservatism as we know it will very probably be doomed, and given all the delusional nonsense many conservatives spout about Hispanic immigrants being natural conservatives, arguably will deserve to be. [Emphasis added.]
We may be “ready to rumble” about immigration, but are there enough of us and are
they we willing to do more than grumble “rumble?” Or are they we like frogs in gradually heating water, failing to notice that it’s getting less and less tolerable?
It may be too late. Part of the problem is that President Obama has, thus far, had a Teflon coating and is not being held accountable. Another part is that the Republican Party establishment is in the ascendancy and within the right there are many divisive issues — abortion, contraception, foreign “policy,” “gay marriage,”
people gun control, health control care, immigration, and excessive and increasing spending — to mention only some in more or less alphabetical order. With such dissension, is there anything effective that we can do, or should we simply lie back and enjoy the familiar — but increasingly warm — water as we focus on what matters most to us, regardless of whether there is any way to fight about it effectively without far more unity?
UPDATE from Breitbart
Immigration is the zombie of political issues–even when it is dead, it is still alive. The combination of the Democratic Party, business interests, and a GOP operative class yearning for its promise of improved standing with Hispanic voters means that you can never really count it out.
That said, it is hard to imagine Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) moving forward after yesterday’s closed-door showdown. According to estimates from those who were in the room–both in favor of moving forward and against–the dozens of GOP lawmakers who spoke were at least 80-20 against bringing a bill to the floor this year.
There is a palpable sense of disappointment among those interested in moving forward. In private conversations, the word that is used is that the meeting was “predictable.” The same people in the GOP conference who kept Boehner from moving on a bill in 2013 are just as opposed in 2014.
Immigration hawks, meanwhile, sense they scored a major victory.
“I don’t understand why House leadership would bring this issue up now,” Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina (R) tells me, adding, “After yesterday, that feeling is strengthened based on the overwhelming pushback from Conference meeting attendees.”
Boehner himself, despite having almost single-handedly resurrected immigration reform from life support over the last two months, was surprisingly tepid in his remarks to the conference.
He even suggested this is just not in the cards.