[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
I just love it when Karl Rove goes all Projectionist on us and starts whining that the Obama White House is being tooooooo political. Anticipating today's planned speech on immigration reform from President Obama, Karl Rove went on Greta Van Susteren's show last night and warned that this was all Machiavellian theater:
Rove: Now, I gotta tell you, this is cynical, and it is hypocritical, and it's political with an issue that oughtn't to be treated sincerely, honestly, and outside of politics as much as possible.Rove does this a lot.
I don't think the president's really interested in passing comprehensive immigration reform this year. He just wants a political issue to jazz up Latinos, and to get them to vote, maybe not for Democrats this fall, but for him in 2012.
It's what a poker player calls a tell: Whenever you hear that little high hitch in Rove's voice, it means he's scared.
He knows all too well that the Republicans' bellicose Latino bashing, embodied in Arizona's SB1070 and the right's ongoing adamant defense of it, will cost Republicans Latino voters for many years to come -- and considering demographic trends, that spells disaster for the GOP. Newt Gingrich knows this too, and has tried to use similar wedge rhetoric to cast Obama's motives as purely cynical.
It's true that Obama has been more timid than he need be on the issue, and his pandering to the nativists with National Guardsmen has been a source of real dismay.
On the other hand, he campaigned openly on immigration reform, and brought it up frequently during the 2008 election. He's also continually promised to move it forward, though as Rove suggests, his commitment has tended to flicker in the wind.
Still, it took Republicans in Arizona to finally prove, once and for all, that comprehensive reform can't wait. Because if it continues to sit on the back burner, the Republican nativists are going to be busy enacting their agenda in the vacuum.
It'll kill them in the long run -- maybe even in the short run too -- but they can't help themselves. It's just in their natures. Like projecting his own ugly predilections onto everyone else is in Karl Rove's.