The government shutdown over Obamacare may not be the preferred battle for immigration patriots, but at least Ted Cruz is fighting. However, current election contests in New Jersey and Virginia show that the GOP Establishment’s cowardly policy of fleeing the immigration issue is a loser. Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is facing defeat in Virginia on November 5. U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan is trailing Cory Booker in New Jersey by double digits in the special election October 16. Yet even in the face of catastrophe, both Cuccinelli and Lonegan have apparently been persuaded not to play the National Question card.
In Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli purged opposition to (illegal) immigration from his website and backed away from his previously strong positions on the issue. He now has no position on whether illegals should receive a “path to citizenship” as part of an Amnesty bill. He even fell into the Beltway Right collaborationist rhetoric about getting the “immigration issue off the table so that we could move on to other issues.” [Ken Cuccinelli immigration tone varies with venue, by James Hohmann, Politico, July 25, 2013]
Needless to say, this has done Cuccinelli no good. Mother Jones magazine and other Leftist mouthpieces mock him for backing away from his stances, gloating that “his past statements clash with the Republican National Committee's post-election autopsy stressing the importance of immigration reform for the future of the party.” [Ken Cuccinelli Scrubs His Immigration Hardliner Past by Gavin Aronsen, Mother Jones, August 19, 2013] The Virginia Democratic Party is now running ads (in Spanish of course) criticizing Cuccinelli for his record on immigration.
The Republican campaign's response: the ads are “misleading” because it is actually Ken Cuccinelli who offers more to “Virginia's immigrant communities.” [Ads hit Cuccinelli on immigration, schools by Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, October 7, 2013]
Incredibly, Cuccinelli has actually attacked Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe on immigration— from the Left! In 2007, McAuliffe said:
I don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican, we all agree you've gotta shut the borders down... People who are coming into this nation. Taking our jobs.”
[Terry McAuliffe's tough immigration talk in '07, by Katie Gluek, Politico, July 30, 2013].
This is a hanging curve that Cuccinelli could use in a debate. But instead, his campaign website now features Theresa Speake, the head of his “Nuestro Cuccinelli Advisory Team,” celebrating “Hispanic Heritage Month” in a guest column in the Richmond-Time-Dispatch. [Speake: Cuccinelli will fight for all, October 12, 2013]
Speake’s piece condemned McAuliffe's 2007 comments, and proclaimed “Cuccinelli has spent his entire career standing up to this kind of rhetoric, and he will continue to do so as governor.”
Instead of fighting mass immigration, we are promised, Cuccinelli wants to focus on “ensuring Virginia's economy remains among the strongest in America.” The column also features scare quotes around “our jobs.”
Similarly, Cuccinelli’s social conservatism is also under heavy criticism, although he has said little about it in this campaign.
The underlying problem, as usual: Cuccinelli, who is undefeated in his political career, has obviously been co-opted by GOP consultants who want him to run a traditional Republican campaign.
Thus Cuccinelli has focused on his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe's scandal- plagued record. But it doesn't seem to have stuck.
Much as the national Republican Party seized on Benghazi, Cuccinelli’s advisors seems to think he has a winning issue. But Virginia voters apparently don't care.
The Washington Post even published and then retracted an AP story saying McAuliffe lied to a federal official. As Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics observed: “Say what you will about Cuccinelli... but man, this guy cannot catch a break.” [AP Retracts Story on Terry McAuliffe lie claim by Elizabeth Titus, Politico, October 10, 2013]
Instead of using wedge National Question issues like immigration and Official English, Cuccinelli is trying to defeat McAuliffe on economism, along with traditional Republican rhetoric about “preserving liberty” and “defending the Constitution.” As any GOP consultant would tell you to do, he is trying to win Hispanics with a focus on “jobs, the economy and education”.
Cuccinelli’s difficulty, of course, is that even after months of ads and speeches, voters trust McAuliffe more on jobs, the economy, and education. And as the government shutdown has boosted McAuliffe's support, Cuccinelli is now even backing away from Ted Cruz, whom he once fulsomely praised.
Ironically, Cuccinelli may face defeat because the Beltway Right and its libertarian auxiliaries don't think he is being economistic enough. Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling refused to endorse Cuccinelli, instead forming the “Virginia Mainstream Project” to tell Republicans to focus only on technocratic issues. He is now actually working to support Terry McAuliffe, who has proposed giving him a position in his administration.
Meanwhile, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis is drawing double digits in some polls [Robert Sarvis: Libertarian Candidate for Governor of Virginia with Double-Digit Poll Numbers, By Brian Doherty, Reason.com, October 2, 2013]. Not surprisingly, Sarvis thinks that the real problem is Cuccinelli is tied to unfashionable conservatives. Under the cringe inducing slogan “Open Minded, Open for Business,” and utilizing the Bill de Blasio strategy of featuring his interracial family—Sarvis is half-Chinese and his wife is black—he is running against conservative Virginians with a doctrinaire left-libertarian message of gay marriage, weed, and tax cuts. Even a Republican like Cuccinelli, who actually sought to define himself as a “liberty” candidate, is losing support because of this challenge. Ron Paul has endorsed Cuccinelli, but among the new generation of left-libertarians, this may not mean much—their Political Correctness trumps Cuccinelli's stand against Obamacare and, of course, gay marriage.
In the New Jersey Senate race, Steve Lonegan has at least run a scrappy campaign, in contrast to Cuccinelli, and has obviously shaken Democratic nominee Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who was assumed by the MSM to be heading for a coronation. Lonegan can hardly be accused of being Politically Correct, consistently hammering Cory Booker's Newark for its soaring crime rates and calling the city a “black hole”. During one debate, Booker said that the Passaic River needed more environmental regulation, prompting Lonegan to quip that the reason you can't swim in the river because of all the dead bodies. A stunned Booker responded “Oh my God,” and decried the quip as “insulting.” (Significantly, Lonegan did not back down.)[ Lonegan reaffirms claim about bodies in the Passaic River, By David Giambusso, The Star-Ledger, October 11, 2013]
Of course, Lonegan is right. Crime has soared in Newark in recent years, even surpassing some of the figures under the stereotypically corrupt Sharpe James, Booker’s predecessor as Mayor. Still, according to a recent poll, though Lonegan is winning among independents, he has literally no support from blacks. [Booker still ahead in New Jersey special Senate race, by Ashley Killough, CNN, October 9th, 2013]
Also, like Cuccinelli, Lonegan is harping on Booker's financial irregularities and scandals. And again, no one particularly seems to cares—except when Lonegan had to fire one of his advisers who suggested Booker was gay because he didn't flirt sufficiently with a stripper on Twitter. [Lonegan fires adviser who targeted Booker's sexuality in profanity-laced interview, , By David Giambusso, The Star-Ledger, October 11, 2013]
Lonegan has called in reinforcements from the national conservative movement, notably a speech from Sarah Palin. [Palin to campaign for N.J. Senate candidate Lonegan, by Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY, October 10, 2013] He has also remained loyal to the Tea Parties, with enthusiastic support for the government shutdown. However, in blue state New Jersey, this may not be recipe for victory.
Republican “moderates” and the business community are also not supporting Lonegan. Popular GOP governor Chris Christie has endorsed Lonegan (who opposed him in the gubernatorial primary in 2009) but he has a much-publicized personal friendship with Booker. Shmuley Boteach, “America's Rabbi” and a 2012 Republican Party congressional candidate, has outright endorsed Booker. More importantly, even though Lonegan is running on traditional Republican rhetoric about jobs and the economy, the major financial institutions are enthusiastically backing Cory Booker, who is massively out-raising the Republican candidate. [Booker boasts wide lead over Lonegan in fundraising for Senate race, By Michael Linhorst, Northjersey.Com October 2, 2013 ] One of Booker's major allies, billionaire (and former Republican) Michael Bloomberg, who has dropped one million dollars into ads for Booker. [Mayor Bloomberg backs Cory Booker's New Jersey Senate bid, New York Daily News, October 7, 2013]
What's worse, even though Lonegan has expressed a willingness to stray into politically incorrect ground on issues of crime and gay marriage, he is basically ignoring the real issues of mass immigration, language, and national unity that created his political reputation when he was Mayor of Bogota NJ. Instead, he is attacking Booker for “failing” Newark. This may be true, but will win him no more black support any more than criticizing the governments of Detroit or Birmingham has undermined black racial socialist rule there.
The Republican Establishment has trapped itself. It campaigns on economistic rhetoric and portrays itself as the party of limited government. But the ideal of limited government will always be trumped by political reality, meaning that libertarians and fiscal conservative militants will always be hammering the Party for not doing enough. Candidates like Ken Cuccinelli and Steve Lonegan are crippled before their campaigns even began.
Moreover, the Republican Party's constituency is still largely Christian and bitterly opposed to the Obama regime, but its passion is funneled into peripheral causes. The result is an opposition that is both confused and militant, with Republicans taking strong stands on losing issues, promoting scandals that have no resonance outside Fox News, and ignoring the National Question.
The result is a party at war with itself. The GOP Establishment despises its own base. And, increasingly, the base hates them back.
Absent the rise of a new leader who can break the rule of Beltway corporatists, the Republican Party is slowly dying. [The Last Days of the GOP, By John B. Judis , The New Republic, October 10, 2013.]
However, this may lead to new opportunities. VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow has repeatedly said that the National Question may well be the issue that breaks the two party system—as slavery did in the mid-19th century.
One party is already broken. The question is whether something can replace it – or whether in its death throes, the Republican Party will take the historic American nation with it.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] travels around the United States looking for a waiter who can speak English.