Mike "Baghdad is like a summertime market in Indiana" Pence provides a sneak preview of the right's talking points on Federal immigration reform while yapping with David Gregory on Sunday:
GREGORY: But this is an interesting point because, Congressman Pence, the president came out and said, you know, there was some debate about whether immigration would be an agenda item that he would push before energy legislation. He said this week there simply aren't the votes for it, particularly from Republicans.
PENCE: Well, well, let, let's be clear for a second. This is no laughing matter for the people of Arizona who are–have been profoundly affected by the fact that there's nearly a half a million illegal immigrants and, and a rampant drug trade and, and, and human trafficking trade that's been besetting. Phoenix, Arizona, is, is the kidnapping capital of the United State of America. I don't know if this law is perfect, but I knew–do know that it is wrong for officials in this government to throw stones at the people of Arizona as they're trying to, to reassert the rule of law in the wake of the fact that this administration and this Congress have been systematically cutting funding to border security since the Democrats took control.
GREGORY: Of course, it was Republicans who blocked comprehensive immigration reform. Let's be clear about that.
PENCE: Well, let–well, let, let's focus on border security first, David.
PENCE: In, in fiscal…
GREGORY: The bill called for that. The Bush bill called for more border security, Republicans were with him…
GREGORY: …until they were against him on that.
PENCE: David, here's the numbers. Fiscal 2007, the last year Republicans wrote a budget, $1.2 billion for border security and fencing. By 2010 that was cut by–to $800 billion.
Like so many issues – abortion, gay marriage, the budget, education, crime, etc. – the key question for the GOP in their zeal to blame things on 18 months of Democratic unified government is: Where the hell were you guys for 12 years? What prevented you from addressing this between 1994 and 2006, the last half of that with a Republican president and the first with a Democrat with a fetish for appeasement? We don't get answers. We merely get the Malfunctioning Mike Pence Robot: "We spent more. We spent more. We spent more. Baghdad reminds me of Indiana."
That last point is accurate only if one visits Terre Haute.
Immigration reform is going to have to come from the left because it is yet another issue on which the right has absolutely no idea what to do. That's why they didn't address it when they were in power and can do nothing in the present except criticize un-constructively. They have no serious policy to offer. What they have either sounds like the product of a brainstorming session among a group of 11 year-old boys (building a giant fence) or is a proven failure, the sole benefit of which is to appeal to the conservative base (more people with guns, more arrests, more skull-cracking).
The bottom line is that the post-1980 GOP has exactly three policy prescriptions, none of which are effective against immigration: cutting taxes, firing cruise missiles at it, and criminalizing more behaviors (or enacting heavier sentencing on existing crimes). Since there is no one to threaten with our cruise missiles on this issue, they are left with just two options. "Did you try cutting taxes? Did you try mandatory minimum sentencing? Well shit, son. I'm all outta idears." It's not really a political party anymore, lacking the ability to handle all of the issues on the current political spectrum. If there is a problem that can't be solved by violence, cutting taxes on six-figure incomes, or the threat of incarceration, the GOP proves about as useful as tits on a bull.