Morning Bits

A deal in the making. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on introduction of border security: “What this amendment reflects is what we know will work . . . 10 or 11 million human beings living among us, and we don’t know who they are. They are working but not paying taxes. There are criminals among them. That has to be solved. An illegal immigrant system built on the 19th century? We need to fix this, and this is our chance to fix it.”

Hagel

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (Jim Watson/Associated Press)

Making the Gang of 8 plan out to be unconservative didn’t really work for opponents. “The interesting thing about this debate is how conservatives leading the charge for immigration reform (mainly Rubio, but also Rep. Paul Ryan, et al.) are being cast as traitors, while a good Democrat like Mickey Kaus — and a ‘conservative reformer’ like [David] Frum — are among those pushing back hardest. And often, from the left.”

Making him into a moderate gets harder every day. “Iranian President-elect Hassan Rowhani sat on the secretive government council responsible for orchestrating the global assassination campaign against perceived enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1990s, according to a 2008 report by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC).”

Making strange colleagues. “Al-Monitor, a D.C.-based website, publishes Washington bigwigs, Israeli columnists, and, worryingly, Hezbollah-aligned writers.”

Making a Taliban joke . “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel joked that an Indian member of his audience might be a part of the Taliban. ‘You’re not a member of the Taliban, are you?’ Hagel asked when he called on an audience member at the close of his speech at the University of Nebraska on Wednesday.” As I said, the worst secretary of defense pick ever.

Making a pact with the isolationist left is no way to carve out a conservative foreign policy niche. “Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) partnered with Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) on the bill that would bar the Obama administration from “supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria.”

Making clear the House Republicans’ priority. House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio): “So if immigration reform is going to work, it’s essential that we have the confidence of the American people and that it’s done the right way.  First and foremost, that means confidence that our borders are secure; confidence that those who came here illegally are not given special treatment; confidence that hard-working taxpayers are being respected; and confidence that a majority of both parties have had their say and support the final product.” Fortunately, for the Gang of 8, the Hoeven-Corker amendment goes a long way in that regard.

Making the decision to ignore reality. “Kennedy and Reagan’s Berlin speeches were both aimed at a specific threat — the one posed by the Soviet Union. In 2013, the countries that arguably constitute the similar strategic challenge are Iran and North Korea (once considered part of an ‘axis of evil’ — tyrannical regimes, seeking nuclear weapons, explicitly threatening the U.S. and its allies). Obama’s 2013 speech devoted one sentence to that subject.” Well, better to chase after a nuke-free world than deal with proliferation in the real world.

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