Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a GOP witness at last month’s Senate hearings on immigration reform, laid out his strategy for stopping the reform bill on a Tea Party Unity conference call Thursday.
Krikorian told the Tea Party activists on the call that they were lined up against “all the big institutions in the country” including “Big Business…Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy, Big Religion -- the Southern Baptist Convention has been roped into this as well.”
Opponents of immigration reform shouldn’t be “distracted by particular pieces of the bill” they might support, he said. Instead, “This needs to be a kind of kill-and-replace, like the fight on Obamacare response.”
“There may be parts of it that some people like, increasing some skilled immigration or guest worker programs, what have you,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of either of those things, but if they’re included in this bill it doesn’t matter because there’s so much in this bill that shouldn’t be there that’s so bad that the whole thing needs to be killed.”
All the big institutions in the country are behind this. Big Business is for this, Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government, Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy, Big Religion -- the Southern Baptist Convention has been roped into this as well. And once the bill came out, though, it became pretty clear that there’s plenty there to attack. The inevitability is not real. This in fact can be stopped, and in fact I think the approach needs to be not to sort of be distracted by particular pieces of the bill, but the whole thing needs to be killed. This needs to be a kind of kill-and-replace, like the fight on Obamacare response. Because this really is an equivalent to Obamacare and frankly probably much more consequential in the long term, much more damaging to the health of the country.
There may be parts of it that some people like, increasing some skilled immigration or guest worker programs, what have you. I’m not a big fan of either of those things, but if they’re included in this bill it doesn’t matter because there’s so much in this bill that shouldn’t be there that’s so bad that the whole thing needs to be killed.
Krikorian went out of his way to attack two of the four Republicans on the bipartisan Gang of Eight that devised the immigration reform proposal. Sen. Lindsey Graham, he said, is facing attack ads in South Carolina “both because he’s on the Gang of Eight and because he’s frankly kind of a jerk.”
He then accused Sen. Marco Rubio, the main Republican spokesperson for the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan proposal, of having “totally drunk the Kool-Aid” and acting as “Chuck Schumer’s water boy.” The best home immigration opponents have to stop the bill, he added, is to “scare [Rubio] enough to give him some kind of excuse to walk away.”
Rubio needs to be the focus, not so much of attack, although he does kind of need to be attacked. Rubio needs to be, it needs to be made clear to him he’s got to back off this bill. I’m not sure that’s possible. He’s completely, totally latched himself to Chuck Schumer at this point. But, you know, it seems to me it’s at least possible, offering him and a lot of other Republicans an opportunity, a way of backing out of this thing. Because especially if Rubio backs out, if he somehow, and it’s going to be hard at this point, but if he were to walk away from this and say, ‘Look, I tried, it just didn’t work,’ the whole thing is over, it’s collapsed and there’s just no chance the Democrats have of getting this through.
So, in a sense, Rubio really is the key guy. And your question is, the question, the way it would have to be presented to Rubio, is, ‘Are you the conservative ambassador to this Gang of Eight writing this bill, or are you Chuck Schumer’s ambassador to conservatives?” And I’m afraid he’s the latter. He’s now Chuck Schumer’s water boy, making the case for the bill that the Democratic staff, Schumer’s staff, wrote, and making the case for it to conservatives to try to get enough people basically, you know, silenced enough that this thing can get through the Senate. That’s the real danger and that’s where it seems to me the pressure has to be applied.
There are some people running ads in South Carolina, for instance, against Lindsey Graham, both because he’s on the Gang of Eight and because he’s frankly kind of a jerk and because he’s up in 2014 and there are people talking about primarying him. My point is that making Rubio feel the heat isn’t going to get him to change his mind. He’s totally drunk the Kool-Aid. I mean, I can’t put it too strongly: he is Chuck Schumer’s water boy. He is Chuck Schumer’s assistant in tearing out this amnesty. And he just thinks that all the rest of it doesn’t matter as long as he can get everybody amnesty. And remember, everybody’s amnesty first, within a few months of this bill passing. Everything else is just promises. ‘If, you know, we get everyone amnesty then we can get our message to Hispanic voters,’ or something. It’s a complete fantasy. He’s totally bought into it. The point is to scare him enough to give him some kind of excuse to walk away, that’s what my point is.
The Religious Right and the Tea Party have not exactly been responding well to GOP strategist Karl Rove’s plan to spend big money bringing down unelectable Tea Party candidates in primaries or to RNC chairman Reince Priebus’ suggestion that the party make over its messaging.
Add to the list of right-wing discontents Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, who this week sent out a six-page fundraising appeal urging supporters to “join together to save America” from Rove and his fellow “Establishment bullies.”
Schlafly blames Rove and the “Establishment” for every Republican president or presidential candidate since Reagan, all of whom she labels “RINOs.” But she sees hope for the “emergence of a new Reagan Republican Party” in the persons of senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, and former senator Jim DeMint.
As for the rest of the party, “Establishment Members of Congress are doing nothing to stop Obama’s grab to put all 2 to 5 year-olds under federal control,” she warns.
Excerpts from the letter are below. All emphases are in the original.
Dear Fellow American,
The battle for control of the Republican Party has begun and I am asking you to answer the call to action!
The Establishment Republicans want to lead the Party down the road of big-government spending and globalist entanglements by selecting our nominees, deciding what issues they talk about, and controlling all the political money.
They want grassroots conservatives and the Tea Parties to shut up and just do what they are told. The future of America depends on how you and I respond to this challenge.
Let me tell you where we are in this battle, and how fierce it has already become. I need your help!
After Ronald Reagan’s two terms were over, the Establishment operatives (sometimes called RINOs – “Republicans In Name Only,” or country-club Republicans, or “moderates”), grabbed control of the Republican Party and gave us a series of losers as presidential candidates such as Bob Dole and John McCain.
And don’t forget their choices of George H.W. Bush (who betrayed his “no new taxes, read my lips” promise), and George W. Bush who gave us phony “compassionate” conservatism (which really meant big deficit spending) and even tried to put the U.S. in an open-borders North American Union.
The Establishment and Karl Rove even supported Gerald Ford against Ronald Reagan in 1976.
We can’t afford to let that crowd pick our candidates again. But Rove now thinks he should be the “decider” of which primary candidates are “electable” and which are “unelectable.”
Please vote NO on his dreadful scheme.
We must sound the alarm and rally activists from Alaska to Florida about the embarrassment that Karl Rove and his big-government allies – posing as “moderates” – are to the Republican Party.
The Establishment is trying to purge the Tea Party conservatives from the Republican Party. Let’s be clear – we welcome the Tea Partiers.
We must show the nation that Republicans – true conservatives – don’t want Karl Rove, or any Establishment guru to run the Republican Party off a cliff.
Fortunately, we are seeing an emergence of a new Reagan Republican Party. In 2010 and 2012, Republicans elected some real conservatives to the Senate after defeating Establishment candidates in the primaries: Rand Paul in Kentucky (who defeated Mitch McConnell’s choice), Ted Cruz in Texas (who defeated a fabulously wealthy Establishment candidate), and Marco Rubio in Florida (who defeated Establishment candidate Florida Governor Crist, who then showed his true colors and became a Democrat).
Jim DeMint (now with Heritage) and Mike Lee of Utah were two other successful non-Establishment Republican Senators. It’s time for the grassroots to take control of the Republican Party away from the elitists who want to choose our candidates, tell them what to say, and how to vote.
Our litmus test for Republican primary candidates should be: “Are you a Karl Rove candidate?”
The Establishment is doing nothing to stop Obama from his announced plan to promote a Zero Nuclear World by cutting our nuclear missile force and refusing to modernize our anti-missile system.
The Establishment is doing nothing to stop Obama from taking over the curriculum of our public school system – a plan that is unwanted by Americans, illegal and unconstitutional. Establishment Members of Congress are doing nothing to stop Obama’s grab to put all 2 to 5 year-olds under federal control through federal daycare, early childhood education, Pre-K, and mandatory all-day Kindergarten.
We absolutely must join together and save America. Time is running out. Eagle Forum is ready to lead the way, but we need your active support.
Please return your Conservative Activist Pledge right away. The conservative grassroots must rally and fight back.
And please, make the very most generous donation to Eagle Forum you possibly can. We’ve beaten Establishment bullies in the past, and with your help we will do it again!
The Religious Right is mobilizing against Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense Secretary, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is saying exactly what they want to hear. In an interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council yesterday, Rubio suggested that if Hagel is successfully confirmed then countries like Iran and Syria may consider going to war against Israel, which will “end up pulling us into an armed conflict in that region.”
Rubio: Israel’s enemies look for daylight of any kind in order to move forward on actions. Just today we are reminded of that, there was a joint statement by Iran and Syria threatening to attack Israel and you know probably the only thing that keeps them from doing that other than the Israelis’ abilities to defend themselves is their relationship with us. I think in a very dangerous world if we have a Secretary of Defense who says things that are counterproductive to that relationship, it might actually lead to some terrible miscalculation which may actually end up pulling us into an armed conflict in that region and we would like to avoid that at all possible—so I just don’t think he is the right person for this job.
Perkins: I couldn’t agree more.
Televangelist John Hagee, who leads Christians United For Israel, also appeared on Perkins’ show and called Hagel a “danger to America’s security” and a “very dangerous threat to Israel’s survival” who will give Iran the “green light” to attain nuclear weapons and “attack Israel.”
Chuck Hagel is a danger to America’s security; he is a very dangerous threat to Israel’s survival. The reason why Iran wants him to be the Secretary of Defense is because in 2001, 2004 and 2007 he opposed any kind of sanctions against Iran. Hagel has been the Senator in the U.S. Senate that stood with Iran on every occasion and Iran feels like if they can get him in office they have a green light to becoming nuclear, a green light to attacking Israel, a green light to accomplish everything that they’ve ever wanted to against America and Israel. They are for him, that should make every American wake up that the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is dangerous to our national security.
Earlier this month, Erick Stakelbeck of the Christian Broadcasting Network told Fred Grandy on Secure Freedom Radio that Hagel is an “anti-Semite.”
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber on Faith & Freedom called Hagel an “Islamist sympathizer” who is “sympathetic” to those “who seek to destroy America and Israel.”
Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families said he is working with Republicans and leaders like Hagee to block Hagel, whom he claimed will “embolden our enemies and invite acts of aggression and terrorism.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing this Thursday to consider Barack Obama's ill-conceived and dangerous nomination of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.
Last night I was honored to attend a great gathering of pro-Israel Christians in Washington, D.C. With just a week's notice, Christians United for Israel Action Fund brought 500 people from 46 states to our nation's capital to stand for a strong national defense and a solid U.S./Israeli alliance, and against the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Pastor John Hagee delivered passionate speeches outlining why Hagel would be a disaster for our national security and for the balance of power in the Middle East. I reminded the audience about Hagel's incredibly bad voting record, but also pointed out his repeated use of rhetoric most often associated with anti-Semites.
Today, the members of Christians United for Israel Action Fund, fired up from our time together last night, visited over 65 Senate offices, making the case against Hagel in person on Capitol Hill. I accompanied Pastor Hagee to a meeting with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), an outstanding conservative champion and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
As Iran continues its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and its meddling in the Middle East, the nomination of Chuck Hagel sends the worst possible signal of weakness and ambivalence to our enemies as well as our allies.
In fact, I fear that Hagel's nomination will embolden our enemies and invite acts of aggression and terrorism. Add to this Obama's recent arms transfer of F-16s and M1 tanks to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government and you have a prescription for disaster.
The anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is none too happy with this week’s bipartisan Senate immigration reform proposal, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, FAIR communications director Bob Dane singled out Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the GOP’s strongest voices in favor of reform. Dane said that Rubio is like Pac-Man, who “ran along the edge of the screen on the right side and then disappeared [until] he sort of suddenly reappeared on the left.”
Echoing right-wing immigration reform opponents like Jim DeMint, Steve King and Bryan Fischer, Dane argued that supporting immigration reform would ultimately lead to the GOP’s “self-destruction” because undocumented immigrants are “heavily government-dependent” and are “all going to vote Democrat.”
Rios: Are you disappointed that Marco Rubio has come down the way he’s come down on this issue?
Dane: Look, Rubio is a good guy. It reminds me of the old Pac-Man video game. When Pac-Man ran along the edge of the screen on the right side and then disappeared, he sort of suddenly reappeared on the left, back onto the playing field. The Republicans are pushing amnesty. Rubio is either going to be the hero or the goat on this, this could go either way, this is a very high-wire act for him.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction by Republicans to Romney’s poor showing with Hispanics in the recent election. But they’ve got to be very careful. Frankly, our opinion is the Republicans, the GOP is setting the stage for a self-destruction. Here’s why. An amnesty bill is going to split that party. The Republicans aren’t going to get any credit. And finally, what sense does it make to grant an amnesty to 12 million heavily government-dependent illegal aliens when they’re all going to vote Democrat?
Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition kicked off its 2012 conference with a splashy show of the Reed’s political muscle in the form of three U.S. Senators. Rob Portman of Ohio, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Marco Rubio of Florida all delivered speeches that reflect Reed’s goal for 2012 and beyond: merging the messages and organizing energies of the overlapping Tea Party and Religious Right movements to elect conservative Republicans.
“American exceptionalism” was a major theme of the day – defined generally as America being uniquely blessed by God for its commitment to limited government and free-market economics grounded in a belief that individual rights come from God. And – no surprise -- President Obama was portrayed as an enemy of faith and freedom.
Portman declared that the Obama administration had treated freedom of religion as a “second-class right.” He argued that life should be held sacred “from conception til death.”
DeMint charged the President with wanting a country and economy run from the top down, and called for a stop to government “purging faith” from the American way of life. “We need to realize we’re blessed,” said DeMint. “We need to know that we’re in trouble. And we need to know that 2012 may be our last chance to turn this thing around.”
Reed introduced Rubio as one of the greatest talents and most transformational figures that any of us have ever seen. Rubio, who is hawking a new book, argued that social and fiscal conservatism are indistinguishable, and that the notion of God as the source of freedom is essential to freedom itself. “You cannot have your freedom without your faith, because the source of your freedom is your faith.” He argued that calling for the wealthy to pay more taxes is “divisive” and pits Americans against each other for the purposes of winning an election, claiming, “that is never who we have been.” (Surely even Rubio does not actually believe that the Republican Party and Tea Party have never run divisive campaigns in order to win elections.)
Listening to Rubio, you can understand why GOP strategists have such high hopes for him. He calls on people to help their neighbors. He says the conservative movement is not about imposing its values on others or leaving people behind. He says conservatives want drinking water to be clean and the air to be breathable. (In reality, of course, policies backed by today’s far-right GOP would indeed impose their values on others, leave millions of Americans behind, and eviscerate regulations that protect our families’ food, air, and water.)
Before the conference started, an FFC press release claimed that its activists will be “phoning, mailing, and knocking on the doors of 27 million conservative and pro-family voters, distributing 35 million voter guides, and making a total of 120 million voter contacts” in 2012. At today’s luncheon, Reed encouraged members of the audience to imagine what could happen with another 10 or 20 senators like Rubio. Yes, just imagine.
During his speech at the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” yesterday, Lou Engle asked for support of his upcoming The Call: Virginia prayer rally, saying that Virginia should fight back against Washington D.C., just as Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson did during the Civil War. General Lee “had an anointing or something,” Engle said, “he was able to restrain Washington, he took his stand and held back those force.” Engle also pointed to Stonewall Jackson for “rallying the Virginians” against the Union as a model to fight the “homosexual agenda” and the demonic “principalities and powers” behind homosexuality. Engle said, “Raise up a stonewall to restrain the agenda that is coming out of D.C.”
Engle also tried to link the political ascendency of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to a prophecy that Cindy Jacobs, whom he called a “crazy lady” and the “scariest lady in America,” told him about Hispanics ending abortion rights in California, noting that Rubio appeared to be wearing a LIFE wristband on Election Day:
The Freedom Federation – an anti-Obama amalgam of Religious Right groups, "apostolic" ministries, and the corporate-funded astroturf Americans for Prosperity – is holding its third annual Awakening conference in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Here’s how it describes the event:
Uniting our Voices Around Shared Values: Turning Voices into Votes
A war is raging against our shared values. Our faith and freedom are under attack. Silence in the face of this war is not an option. Decisive action is needed. Join with others who share the core values that make America a great nation. Take a stand for righteousness and justice and be part of a new revolution to take back America. The time has come to turn our voices into votes and to change the course of history.
Outreach to the Hispanic community is a major goal of this year’s Awakening and the theme of Friday’s opening night session. That marks a continuation of the Freedom Federation’s efforts to re-brand the Religious Right as a multiracial and multigenerational movement, and to re-brand the culture war as a “social justice” movement. Last year’s gathering included a major effort to claim a religious grounding for the anti-tax, anti-government agenda of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party.
This year’s conference features Samuel Rodriguez, the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who tries to sell the Religious Right’s culture war to Latinos while trying to get Religious Right leaders to make themselves more palatable to Latinos. Rodriguez recently said that Latinos are here to “bring panic to the kingdom of darkness” and “make the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church, the most influential institution in America.” He said God has sent illegal immigrants here to “redeem Christianity” in America.
Also scheduled to address this year’s conference is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a favorite of Tea Party and Religious Right leaders who describe him as the party’s Latino Ronald Reagan. Rubio is reportedly concocting a hollowed-out version of the DREAM Act that will try to help Romney and the GOP fix their well-earned image as hostile to the aspirations of millions of immigrants.
A new feature at this year’s Awakening is Patriot Camp on Saturday for kids ages 5-15. Organizers promise that kids will learn about “the Christian principles on which America was founded,” which is important since, “As most Christians know, our true American heritage is not taught in schools, especially not in an objective manner.”
Notably for this Obama-bashing group, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a video presentation; senior Likud official Moshe Ya'alon, Vice Premier, Minister of Strategic Affairs, is also listed as a speaker. Also on the list, some of whom might appear by video: Former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, and Reps. John Mica and Allen West. West has been warming up for the conference by announcing, McCarthy-style, that dozens of progressive members of the House of Representatives are communists.
The list of speakers is a Who’s Who of the Religious Right and conservative legal movements, including characters like spiritual warrior Lou Engle and Cindy “God kills birds when America supports gays” Jacobs, who once haunted the fringes of the far right but have since been welcomed into a movement seeking to build the broadest political base possible. Among them:
Should be more fun than Disney World. Watch for updates.
To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way
Date: February 10, 2012
Re: Why is the Senate GOP Filibustering the First Cuban American Nominee to the Eleventh Circuit Court, Florida’s Adalberto José Jordán?
Florida District Court Judge Adalberto José Jordán has been waiting four months for the U.S. Senate to approve his nomination to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. On Monday, the Senate will hold a vote to break the Republican filibuster of Jordán’s nomination, a step that is traditionally taken only when the minority party has significant objections to the nominee’s qualifications.
So why is the GOP filibustering Jordán?
They have stated no reason, which leads to the natural conclusion that stalling Jordán’s nomination is just part of their larger effort to create gridlock in Washington. In the process, they have kept a highly-qualified jurist – one who is wholeheartedly supported by both Florida senators, including GOP Sen. Marco Rubio – from becoming the Eleventh Circuit’s first Cuban American judge and filling an urgent vacancy in the federal courts.
In October, Sen. Rubio praised Jordán to the Judiciary Committee, saying, "I think his experience and his resume will speak for itself. ... As a community, we're very proud of Judge Jordán's nomination and we look forward to his appointment."
Jordán immigrated from Cuba when he was six and is the quintessential American success story. After graduating from the University of Miami Law School, Jordán clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and became a federal prosecutor. Since 1999, he has served ably as a federal district court judge in Miami, where he has presided over nearly 200 trials on a wide range of civil and criminal matters.
He received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association and the Judiciary Committee members who reviewed his record agreed, voting unanimously to advance his nomination.
If confirmed, Jordán would become the first Cuban American to sit on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Florida, Georgia and Alabama. What’s more, the Eleventh Circuit desperately needs this vacancy filled, so much so that the Administrative Office of the United States Court has formally declared it a judicial emergency. In other words, there are so many cases and so few judges that Floridians, Georgians and Alabamans are facing unnecessary delays as they seek their day in court.
Jordán’s nomination has been languishing on the Senate floor since October 13. That was four months ago. Republicans have absolutely no excuse for this latest obstruction and should allow a simple up-or-down vote on his nomination, as well as the 17 others still awaiting votes.