Ringside Seat: Limbaugh vs. Rubio

It's one thing to fight for something when you know the base of your party is behind you. You may not succeed, but you only have to face fire from one direction, and it's the one you're used to. But when your own core supporters are opposing you, things can get very complicated. That's what many Republicans are now facing as they try to pass immigration reform, the sine qua non of repairing their abysmal image among Latino voters. Republicans in both houses of Congress are working with Democrats to come up with a plan, but Republicans aren't sure they can get their own base to support it.

As the misinformation begins to fly (don't ask about the mythical "MarcoPhone"), GOP members are trying desperately to convince conservatives that comprehensive immigration reform is a good idea. Today, Marco Rubio went on Rush Limbaugh's show  to defend the proposal he and the other "Gang of Eight" members came up with, facing off against the right's most powerful media figure. "The Republican Party is committing political suicide" by supporting immigration reform, Limbaugh argued. Why? Because "we're going to end up legalizing 9 million automatic Democrat voters."

He may have a point, particularly if any of them tune in to his show and hear what's being said about them by someone so revered by Republicans. Nevertheless, becoming a citizen under the Senate's proposal would take a current undocumented immigrant a minimum of 13 years, meaning the earliest presidential election any of them would vote in would be 2028. If the Republican Party hasn't fixed its problem with Latino voters by then, there will be no need for it to commit suicide. Because it will already be dead.

So They Say

“And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us—to push on.  To persevere. To not grow weary. To not get faint. Even when it hurts. Even when our heart aches. We summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on. We finish the race. We finish the race. And we do that because of who we are.  And we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody is there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think that we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall. We know that. And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence—these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build, and think somehow that makes them important—that’s what they don’t understand. Our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there may be—that is our power. That’s our strength."

President Barack Obama, at an interfaith service in Boston today

 Daily Meme: After a Shameful Day, Anger Reigns

  • The Manchin-Toomey background-check amendment failed in the Senate yesterday,54-46. No, that's not a typo. Thanks, filibuster!
  • Obama held a press conference shortly after the amendment was put to rest after failing to reach the 60 votes necessary to override the filibuster. The key sentence in his remarks: “all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington."
  • As Jonathan Cohn notes, "President Obama is as angry as we’ve ever seen him."
  • A lot of other people are angry today too, after a law that has 90 percent approval among the American people perished before even being allowed a vote. 
  • Gabrielle Giffords wrote in a New York Times op-ed today, "Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe." 
  • David Simon, creator of The Wirewrote on his blog about what we've learned: "Measured against profit and political security, dead children mean nothing. Common sense is easily dispatched.  Truth itself is expendable in any circumstance. Only cash still has meaning to those who claim to represent us."
  • Michael Tomasky wrote, "You can’t introduce amendments that encourage more interstate transfer of weapons and give it the way-beyond-Orwellian name 'safe communities' act and think that karma will never come back around on you. And you can’t sneer at the parents of dead 6-year-olds and expect that God isn’t watching and taking notes. Sickening. The whole thing."
  • Charles Pierce's take: "The families of the children of Newtown were told this. The 91 percent of the American people who want something that they now have no hope of getting were told this. The president of the United States, fairly shaking with impotent anger in the Rose Garden, was told this. We are a violent people. We are an armed people ... And because of all of this, we are a free people. It is an odd day to be looking down at Our Nation's Capital, where barbarism has become so tailored and manicured, and so utterly unremarkable. We might as well speak honestly about it."
  • And in case all this anger doesn't spur the Senate to action, The Onion has some fool-proof tips for passing gun-control legislation for our most foolish-acting politicians.


What We're Writing

  • The attacks in Boston will likely provoke a wave of new proposals that will abrogate civil rights. As Erwin Chemerinsky writes, that's been our history—and we need to learn from it this time.
  • David Dayen explores the story of a woman who faced the hellish nightmare that is foreclosure—and the Fed's response to it.


What We're Reading

  • Here is a picture of Chris Christie from the '80s. You're welcome.
  • Speaking of civil liberties, the House passed CISPA, the Internet Patriot Act and harbinger of the end of privacy, by a whopping 288-127 despite nobody liking the bill and no congressman understanding it.
  • Republican and NRA social media lit up after yesterday's Senate vote on background checks, with conservatives falling over themselves to crow over their 10 percent-of-Americans victory.
  • Meanwhile, 3,513 Americans have been killed by guns since Newtown.
  • Elizabeth Warren and the Senate Banking Committee are taking regulators to task, and it's fun to watch—but should our top guys be this easy to embarrass?
  • Finally and funnierly, Jon Stewart delved into CNN's "exclusive" reporting on the Boston attacks.

Poll of the Day

Gallup has found that a slim majority of Americans, 57 percent, favors a more equitable distribution of wealth in the U.S. A staggering 60 percent of Republicans said that the current distribution is fair (compared to 14 percent of Democrats), highlighting an incredible capacity to redefine "fair." Mother Jones has previously shown that Americans are wildly ignorant of inequality in the U.S. and when presented with the evidence, actually favor greater equality of distribution than in damned socialist Sweden.

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