In the same manner that he carelessly accused Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of calling a constituent a racist when Mansoor was simply defending one of his staff members who had been accused of being an illegal immigrant, Kelly Hubbard comes out with an article on the Orange County Tea Party blog condemning the Orange County Lincoln Club for a vote of “no confidence” in California governor candidate Tim Donnelly (due in part to his rigid stance on resolving the illegal immigration problem). Hubbard’s first hyper-intelligent lob at the Lincoln Club is that it is filled with “nothing but corporatist country-club [sic] republicans, who like to influence candidates to support their version of amnesty by bribing them with donations and support.” Well, I am a recent addition to the board of the Lincoln Club. I don’t belong to a country club (seeing nothing wrong with those who do as I’m happy for anyone else’s earned success), and I’m of mixed ancestry (specifically, African, Irish, German, and American Indian). So I don’t even fit the stereotype of “country-club” types and neither do many of the current members of the Lincoln Club. The Lincoln Club of today is made up of an increasingly diverse group of successful people of all backgrounds who share a belief in limited government, maximum civil liberties, and a strong defense to secure those liberties. Yes, the membership fee is higher than many other Political Action Committees, but those fees are used to fund candidates and to attract top talent to our many events so we can interact with not only political leaders but political activists as well such as James O’Keefe and Dr. Ben Carson.
Now I don’t want to disparage Hubbard, as I feel he is a person with good intentions, and I would strongly argue that he actually wants pretty much the same things as the Lincoln Club wants. So why he chooses to demonize the Lincoln Club over its immigration policy is beyond me. He goes on in his article to completely mischaracterize the policy as no more than a “3-point amnesty plan.” But what precisely is the meaning of the word “amnesty?” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition defines amnesty as “a general pardon granted by a government.” So in a sense one could say the Lincoln Club policy advocates for amnesty because one of its provisions does forgive those who have come here illegally by providing them with legal status only. This is a policy paper, not legislation, and its provisions are far different from the actually amnesty legislation signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. The 1986 law provided a path to citizenship and was supposed to provide for tighter border enforcement. There were supposed to be tough employer sanctions. But as we all know, the border was never secured primarily due to poor funding, and the employer sanctions were so watered down they were effectively worthless. So illegal immigrants continued to come and reasonably concluded that it was worth the risk coming to America to work illegally, and employers continued to hire them on the flimsiest of paperwork. And now we have the same problem, only worse.
The Lincoln Club policy recognized the failings of the 1986 amnesty but unlike Hubbard, who wants a simple employer enforcement solution so illegal immigrants will self-deport, we didn’t feel self-deportation was either an effective or humane solution to the problem of illegal immigration. The Lincoln Club, led by committee Chairwoman Teresa Hernandez, deliberated for a good two years to produce the policy. It was a lot of hard work and wasn’t done at the Shady Canyon Golf Club sipping single-malt scotch while smoking cigars with agribusiness lobbyists as Hubbard probably envisions. It was a group of thoughtful people including representatives from the Hispanic 100 in a joint effort who had strong, sometimes diverging views on solving the immigration problem. And when the policy was done, there were no “bribes” as Hubbard puts it consisting of donations and support. We simply met with candidates and elected leaders explaining the policy and why we felt the specific sequencing was important to solving the problem, preventing us from landing in the same place we are twenty years from now as with the 1986 amnesty. The first item, border enforcement, was absolutely vital to the Lincoln Club policy, and was accepted unanimously by members of both the Lincoln Club and the Hispanic 100. Despite what Hubbard might think about “pandering” to certain groups as he has written elsewhere, the majority of Hispanics believe in protecting our border, and do not believe citizenship should simply be extended to those who have obviously broken the law. This is reflected in the Lincoln Club policy thinking.
The Lincoln Club believes that the three-point plan must be executed in its entirety, probably best in a sequential manner so we can ensure the success of previous components. Only once the border is secured shall the plan proceed to creating a guest worker program, even though that program would begin preparation phases concurrently, such as registering current illegal workers and setting up a functioning guest worker program similar to the guest worker Bracero Program that ran from 1942 to 1964. As a member of the committee, I actually felt the guest worker program was more important than the border enforcement because if you think about it, if there is a legal, safe means to come the United States to work, based purely on market forces of supply and demand, why would anyone come here illegally unless they were either stupid or engaged in criminal activity? So I lost on that argument, but that demonstrates how vital the Lincoln Club felt that unless the United States couldn’t or wouldn’t protect its border, then it wouldn’t get a guest worker program right either, so that was first priority. The third point is employer enforcement and support, using technology available today that makes it easy to track guest workers electronically and ensure employers that they are complying with the law. Of course, all points of the three-point plan depend on Congress doing the right thing for all three, and the Lincoln Club immigration policy committee was adamant this be done the right way so we don’t have the same problem we’re trying to solve now twenty years from now.
To close, and to the point of my title, I want to point out the tone in Hubbard’s piece, which is my biggest worry for the people who follow his articles and more importantly, the Republican Party itself. In a private communication, Hubbard intimated to me that in growing the party it shouldn’t exclude “the base.” What Hubbard doesn’t understand is this works both ways. As I wrote in my last post here, any candidate such as Donnelly needs the conservative base, the establishment, and Reagan Democrats to have any chance of winning the governorship in California. So Hubbard may argue that we need people like him who he calls the base (and as a social conservative/Tea Party advocate I include myself in the base), but I’m arguing that we need Republicans who do not represent “the base” as well. And from my view, much to my lament, is a party at war with itself, tearing itself apart while Democrats stand united behind more government control over our lives. So lobbing grenades from either side gets us nowhere, and on the Tea Party side Hubbard is one of the ringleaders in grenade throwing exercises, which should stop and could stop if they choose to stop. I don’t recall Hubbard reaching out to Allan Mansoor to get his perspective before leveling race-based charges, and I don’t recall him reaching out to Teresa Hernandez or anyone else on the Lincoln Club immigration policy committee to ask for more details or a better understanding. What we got was an uninformed hit piece. My hope is that in the future, Hubbard will be looking to understand first before he writes, and that he will be open to a rapprochement between “the base” and the establishment/country club Republicans he so likes to deride, not realizing that he needs them as much as they need him for the Republican Party to continue to survive in Orange County, the state of California, and indeed, the country at large.