The Cycle | January 29, 2013
>>> hi. we're back here at the table digesting president obama 's big immigration speech in nevada and a couple of things that struck me. you know, one, i think we all are aware of the basic sort of political contours of this. historic losses cost the republican party the election. that could harm them for decades to come from something republican party leaders i think all realize has to happen here. can they get the rank and file to go along? i was checking twitter in the break that caught my attention. one of the leaders in the house , one out leaders of the conservative movement who helped kill immigration reform in 2006 , 2007 is steve king from iowa. he's had some pretty harsh things to say about immigrants in the years and now an open senate seat in iowa thanks to the retirement of tom harkin and the point of questions asking luke in the last segment was, there is a difference of republicans running statewide where there is a real stigma to be a nativist and republicans running in the safely republican districts where the biggest threat is a challenge of the right. steve king is suddenly making noises we have never heard him make in his life about how, you know, maybe he might be open to this idea of comprehensive immigration reform . not an endorsement but movement and shows you the tension that exists where i can totally see something through the senate here and i think what luke said at the end there, if something gets through the house , it's a new model seeing where a majority of republicans in the house recognize it needs to go through and should go through but a majority will not be able to vote for it and come up and 50 republicans will vote yes. the rest will vote no and democrats will --
>> you predict it not working in the snous.
>> will get through with a democratic votes. we broke the hastert rule.
>> it is also -- i mean, hearing someone like steve king maybe change his tone is also leadership maybe doing its job and infiltrating the market. putting out people like marco rubio to talk about immigration in palatable ways. amnesty means you have to apologize for something and that's a messaging thing that might be trickling down even to the local guys who could probably vote very safely against it and not deal with any consequences.
>> talking about that messaging that's perhaps why rubio on rush limbaugh radio show today of all places talking to the rank and file . you talked about polling, running in virginia and finding out the deep level of passion that people have about this, especially republican voters and talking about race is a zero sum game and people feeling something is taken away from them, a lot of people feel like what am i losing in this? people getting the pathway to citizenship and why everybody has to talk about enforcement first, tough on them first and then give them something to stick before the carrot but it's going to be very difficult. i think the leaders of the republicans clearly see demographics as destiny and article in "the new yorker" talking about texas could go purple but are the rank and file getting behind that? i wonder.
>> they need a key in the house .
>> to your point, toure, that has been used by republicans as a turnout machine basically to stoke fear and get their people to the polls and it's been very successful in a lot of elections. i'm sure it will be hard for a lot of in particular members of the house republican caucus to give that up. and i do think that the idea of the sort of vote no hope yes model you are talking about here used in the fiscal cliff deal, it's treacherous because if you have most of the rank and file voting against the bill then you have a real opportunity for those who do vote for the bill to be labeled as rhinos, primaried by the tea party , by the club for growth and taken out and punished for support of this so i do think even though, you know, something may pass with the democratic majority support i think those folks who are in the republican caucus and willing to vote across the aisle it's quite treacherous for them.
>> i think what you are saying tells you about the strain of nativism that's still resonant to a significant portion of the right. i accept and i just bet right now i bet we get some kind of --
>> let's not say a significant portion of the right. that's a little --
>> a significant enough portion in a lot of house disfrikts a majority of republicans in the house will probably end up voting no on whatever the final -- but the point i'm trying to get to is this. we're talking about this in terms of long term future of the republican party and coming off the disaster of 2008 -- the disaster of 2012 and repairing the image with the latino community and thinking of the republican party 's relationship with black voters.
>> post- 1964 when republicans nominated an anti- civil rights candidate. never again made that mistake. for civil rights . totally on board and never purged from their ranks, they never purged a message that was very -- that really turned off black voters, they never exceeded 20% with the black vote even after 1964 and even if you pass comprehensive immigration reform , you have to get rid of the nativism, too.
>> you don't have to go back that far. since 1980 , the white percentage of the electorate shrinking year after year and heading to a black and brown majority in 2050 . you cannot win national elections feeling hostile to black and brown people and trying to redress. the devil's in the details. what is a jan brewer when we get down to the border commission? what are they going to do? what are they going to see? seeing that then we'll know what people are going to feel about this.
>> i think it is remarkable and we should note how dramatic the turnaround has been on this issue. as recently as the campaign for president, mitt romney had to advocate self deportation and attack rick perry from the right and newt gingrich from the right on immigration to get through the republican primary . was that strictly necessary or not? he said he would veto the dream act and seems extreme in retrospect. was that necessary to get through the republican primary ? we don't know but he felt it was necessary at that moment and remarkably right after election day , we now have rush limbaugh sort of saying, maybe i'd be open to something right after election day .
>> we had sean hannity , as well.
>> we have to change. it is amazing to note how quickly the turnaround on this issue has come.
>> you see, too, there's this hysterical list of things don't to say. don't say anchor babies anymore and we have to tell people the things to not say and not offend hispanic and latino americans . like that's hysterical to me.
>> well yeah. look. there's going to be a change here. as i said, i would expect some kind of comprehensive reform. the question for republicans , it's clearly necessary. will it be sufficient long term?
>> 2004 republicans got nearly half of the hispanic vote. there's plenty of opportunity there.
>> imagine how much different the last decade would have been if nativism hadn't taken hold.
>> not just messaging but george w. bush did toward latino community was much more open, acceptable, much more sort of embracing and what we have had since then, totally different.
>> bush saw it, rove saw it, mccain saw it. will the republicans in the house see it now? that's what i'm curious about. could america's longest war provide a long-term solution on border security ? tony schafer is in the guest spot stlaraight ahead.
>> the good news is that for the first time in many years republicans and democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. this moment, it looks like there's a genuine desire to get this done soon. and that's very encouraging. but this time action must