"[T]hey have to admit that Ronald Reagan's signature on the '86 amnesty act brought about Barack Obama's election," King concluded on the House floor.This should be very interesting, especially considering how much Republicans venerate Ronald Reagan and try and claim Reagan's mantle as their own. Of course very few of the Republican officeholders out there these days actually are Reagan Republicans. These Republicans are beholden to Grover Norquist and his no tax increase pledge. Reagan would have violated that during his first term in office when he signed a tax increase to help close the budget deficit. That tax increase, by the way, was approved by a Republican-controlled Senate and without the looming threats of sequestration or expiring tax cuts.
"[I]t's clear to anybody that can do any kind of statistical analysis that Barack Obama wouldn't be President of the United States without Ronald Reagan's 1986 amnesty act."
He also wouldn't be Steve King if he didn't at least somewhat blame President Obama:
“When the president of the United States came to the Republican Conference…he said to us, you must pass comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans, or you will never win another national election. I’m trying to help you,” King recalled, asserting that’s simply not true — citing a divide-and-conquer strategy. “It will split this party in half. It will pit Republicans against Republicans. The Democrats know that. That is a clear tactic in politics, to divide the other party down an issue if you can.”Yes, because clearly the old model is working for Republicans in an electorate that is shifting away from them. King gets his diagnosis right for the Republicans trouble, but, as always, his proposed medicine couldn't be more wrong. When states like Texas turn purple, and then blue, I'm sure he'll whine all day long about how it's Ronald Reagan's fault and Barack Obama's fault and the fault of all those other Republicans that voted for immigration reform. At that point, though, he'll be in a congressional minority that rarely wins the White House. Ironically, as when the Democratic Party played that role in the early part of the last century, the party will once again be based in the South.
I will point out one other part: Steve King and his compatriots have already made his prophesy self-fulfilling. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) are the best evidence of that. If the more mainstream Republicans had won the nomination in their races last year, they'd be at home right now instead of in Washington.
Our history has shown that political parties that lose elections tend to eventually move back to the center to make themselves electable. Republicans did this in the 1940s and 1950s. Democrats did this in the 1980s and 1990s. Republicans will eventually do this again. When they do, Steve King's day will be done. In the meantime, however, he and Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz and plenty of others are out there damaging the GOP brand. Who am I, as a Democrat, to get myself involved in that internal Republican Party squabble?