If Mitt Romney embraces Marco Rubio’s alternate DREAM Act, in order to make inroads among the Latino voters he alienated so badly during the primary, will the right revolt? Or will conservatives quietly give him the space he needs to reorient for the general election?
Ron Brownstein has a good piece gaming out the various possibilities. One scenario, which has not gotten much attention, is an ominous one for Democrats, in which Rubio’s plan, and Romney’s embrace of it, wins support from immigration advocates and even some Dems:
Publicly, immigrant-rights groups generally argue that Rubio’s concept doesn’t go far enough because it lacks a guaranteed pathway to citizenship for the young people involved. But private conversations already under way suggest that Rubio’s concept could divide Democrats and attract significant support among immigration advocates, at least as a starting point for discussion and perhaps even as the endpoint of an agreement.
“If the concept as he has laid it out is translated into decent legislation and he brings Republican support to the table, it’s a game changer,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice.
For this scenario to work, two things have to happen. First, conservatives will have to look the other way, or at least remain relatively quiet, as Romney embraces a concept that Kris Kobach, among others, had previously deemed unacceptable: Giving illegal immigrants legal status. Yesterday John Boehner suggested that a Rubio DREAM Act stands little chance of passing the House, but the real question is whether conservatives will kick up a major fuss about it, not whether it can pass Congress. Second, media figures will have to essentially forget about all the hard-line positions on immigration Romney took during the primary, and fail to hold him accountable for them.
Judging by how things have gone so far in the general election, neither of those possibilities seems particularly outlandish. Whether such a scenario will actually allow Romney to make meaningful inroads among Latinos is an open question; Mike Tomasky makes a good case that it wouldn’t. But it wouldn’t be surprising at this point if Romney were granted plenty of space to give it a try.
* Obama campaign talks up Bin Laden killing: The Obama camp has released new footage of Bill Clinton this morning talking in glowing terms about the President’s order to kill Bin Laden. Note the shot at Romney, and the question: “Which path would Romney have taken?”
With Romney regularly decrying Obama’s “weak leadership,” the video demonstrates that the Obama campaign won’t be shy about pointing to Obama’s order of the Bin Laden killing in the context of the presidential race. The campaign will regularly cite it as evidence of his leadership qualities and decisiveness under pressure, while contrasting it with Romney’s own previous criticism of Obama’s vow to go after Al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan.
* Dems chip away at Scott Brown’s “regular guy” persona: Scott Brown is set to release ax returns today, and Dems are preparing to point to his wealth, multiple houses, and stock holdings to undermine Brown’s successful cultivation of an “everyman” persona, which is central to his high favorable ratings and potential strength as an incumbent.
The push is a sign of how urgently Dems want to blunt GOP attacks on the wealthy Elizbeth Warren, who is regularly tagged by Brown as an “elitist hypocrite,” even though she favors raising taxes on her own class — herself included. Brown, by contrast, voted against millionaires paying the same tax rates as many middle class taxpayers do.
* Another House race progressives should watch: I’m told that the Progressive Change Campaign Committee today will endorse Lori Saldana for Congress in California’s 52nd District. The PCCC sees her as a Dem who will have “backbone,” and as a potentially “strong ally of Elizabeth Warren in Congress.”
The primary is June 5th. This is part of a broader push by progressive groups to refocus energy and resources on getting unabashed progressives elected in primaries, to show that they can be as competitive against Republicans as moderate Dems can, even in difficult contests.
* Mitt Romney tries to snatch away “fairness” theme: Next up: Romney will try to neutralize Obama’s fairness argument by amplifying the case that government is the true source of unfairness, and that sweeping away government and unshackling the private sector is the best way to level the playing field.
This argument was aptly described yesterday by E.J. Dionne as “free market utopianism,” and it’s one area where Romney does appear to hold genuinely radical views. Meanwhile, poll after poll shows majority agreement with Obama’s critique of economic and tax unfairness.
* Why are Dem outside groups lagging far behind in fundraising? Bloomberg’s scoop this morning explains: Bill and Hillary Clinton’s pool of major donors is waiting for Obama’s big money backers to pony up for the Priorities USA super PAC, but they too are reluctant to fund outside spending.
With the pro-Romney super PACs expected to raise and spend hundreds of millions in ads attacking Obama in swing state, it still remains unclear whether liberal donors to outside groups have any idea what’s about to hit them.
* Question of the day: Steve Benen looks at all the distortions and falsehoods in the new $6 million ad campaign launched against Obama by American for Prosperity, and asks:
If President Obama has failed as spectacularly as his Republican detractors argue, shouldn’t it be easier for them to come up with honest attack ads?
That seems like a question we’ll be asking a lot in coming months. Compared to the tornado of lies that’s coming this summer from the super PACs, all we’re seeing right now is a gentle breeze.
* Karl Rove is bullish on Obama’s chances: I had been skeptical of Rove’s claim yesterday that the electoral map looks very good for Obama right now, assuming he was just trying to juice up Republicans and get them engaged. But as Rachel Weiner reminds us, Rove’s predictions in 2008 were pretty solid, so we’ll see.
* Ben Bernanke versus Paul Krugman: In case you need to get caught up on their ongoing battle, Ezra Klein has you covered.
* And Paul Ryan and the Catholic vote: Interesting point from Eliza Newlin Carney: The widening rift between Paul Ryan and Catholic leaders who object to his austerity budget on religious and moral grounds foreshadows the way poverty and federal spending could resonate in the battle over the Catholic vote, a key swing constituency, in the presidential race.
What’s interesting is that the Dem position on contraception is widely discussed by commentators as a potential liability among Catholic swing voters. The GOP position on the safety net? Not so much.