Kentucky Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul voted against the Senate’s bi-partisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill last year. While there might not be “hordes” of illegally present people in his state, it’s fair to say that most of the labor infrastructure in Kentucky of the horse racing industry is peopled with many people who are here illegally. Senator Rand knows who works in his state and who doesn’t and, more importantly, who hires them.
People should pay attention to their representatives; Senator Rand thinks that the Republican Party should not be characterized as the Party of “Deportation.”
Is the hard-right anti-immigration reform front cracking in front of our eyes?
First, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush made an idyllic statement about the men and women who brave death and destruction to walk hundreds of miles through deserts and mountains to cross into the US without formal inspection by U.S. officers as people who do so as an “act of love.” Love, of course of their families and themselves because they reject poverty, corruption and inattention by their own people.
Secondly, in the aftermath, Bush’s statement caused explosions of anger among the 25% or so who absolutely reject legalizing the illegally present people, or allowing them to stay or come legally, which is not possible under current law. The hard right went berserk over that statement. Even the lovely and smart Laura Ingraham blew a fuse when Fox’s Bill O’Reilly asked her if she could support Jeb Bush for President in 2016 after that one statement.
Thirdly, those who object to Bush’s statement and emotionally decry it by declaring that Bush is cooked because they won’t support him for president are now reacting in the same manner to Rand’s statement as they did to Bush, and did last year to Marco Rubio’s sponsorship of the Senate’s immigration bill. Yes, the same one-issue obstructionists are turning on Senator Rand because he said that the Republican Party should not be the party of “Deportation.”
These minority obstructionists need to study American history for they stand against it in the specifics of their obstructionism and their inability to live up to the best of American history.
When Southerners blackmailed the North in the Constitution’s development on the subject of slavery, the North at least made it illegal to import slaves after 1820. When the South stood in the way of state expansion, the Missouri Compromise was reached allowing limited slavery expansion as against unlimited. When California entered the nation as a free state it did so as a result of a compromise. When Abraham Lincoln needed thousands of German speaking immigrants to join the Union Army to fight for the Union he appointed German speaking generals that he personally didn’t like or know because he needed the troops. Journalists spotted the Germans throughout the Union Army when the soldiers would reply to their questions with something like: “I fite vit Schmidt.”
In 1876, Republicans made a deal with Democrats to withdraw the ten-year-long occupation of the South by the U.S. Army if the Democrats recognized the Presidential election returns that kept the Republicans in the White House despite their winning fewer votes than the Democrats.
Deals, compromise, bi-partisanship are the three legs of American governance in our two-party system. First, of course, the basic reason we in the USA have a superior form of government and governance than anywhere in the world is that we have a two party system with winner take all. We do not have multi-parties and/or proportional representation and we do not have a parliamentary system. Lastly, we have a real constitution that divides the government into three EQUAL parts, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
The political parties are keys to how our governance works. For example, how would independent Ross Perot have put together an administration had he won in 1992? There are literally thousands of jobs and functions and representations on boards and commissions that the President and the White House must appoint. The parties provide a clearing house for these appointive jobs and functions. Today’s city councilman or county commissioner is tomorrow’s congressman or Senator or even President. Patronage, it is called and it is a universal system but if a political party is not involved in most of the US, it is hard to govern. A certain Minnesota independent ex-governor discovered this the hard way. Ross Perot would have found it impossible to be President without one or the other of our parties making a deal with him.
Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain and others in the Senate are now joined by former Florida governor Jeb Bush in pushing the party towards compromise on immigration; compromise in the best American tradition wins elections. Those unwilling to compromise or are one-issue fanatics stand to lose in the long run of American history, the long run being 2016.
Contreras is the author of several books and formerly wrote for the New York Times Syndicate’s New American News Service.