The Libre Initiative is one of the many organizations seeded by the Koch donor network during the Obama dark ages. The hook: Libre goes after Latino voters, attacking Obama from the right on health care and, functionally, from the left on immigration. (Libre also went after Rep. Joe Garcia after he made a joke about communism, insisting that the Cuban-American Democrat believed that communism worked.) Today Libre issued a crowing statement on the new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll that found Latino support for Obama falling from 62 percent in 2013 to 47 percent now. It's like I said yesterday, that Obama's Lucy-and-the-football act on executive action ended with him looking cowed and deceitful.
And a touchdown dance from a Koch group should really sting. Koch donors are currently seeding Americans for Prosperity and a series of 501(c)(4)s that are tearing into Democratic candidates in the hopes of replacing them with Republicans. Kay Hagan voted for the Senate immigration bill; Koch groups want to replace her with Thom Tillis, who opposed it. Mark Pryor voted for the bill; Tom Cotton opposed it. And so on. Whatever the Spanish translation of "chutzpah" is, you may find some in this Libre statement.
Latinos invested a great deal of hope in this president and this administration, and unfortunately it hasn't been rewarded. With broken promises on the economy, immigration and health care, they're clearly deeply disappointed in a president who did not deliver... They wanted Congress and the president to work in a bipartisan way on immigration reform.
But ... Obama did give the thumbs up to a Senate bill, which passed. House Republicans spent 2014 diddling with a few piecemeal ideas, then passing nothing. Why elect more Republicans to fix this? I checked in with Libre's Brian Faughnan, asking first whether Libre wanted Obama to issue an executive order to stop deportations.
"We believe that executive action comes with negative repercussions, unforeseen consequences," said Fahnan. "We saw that with the situation on the border this summer. From our point of view, the best answer is always going to be to have a broad immigration reform package and enact it. We don’t take a position on the timetable, but we’ve called for that."
OK, and asking what of Republicans? "We don’t presume to dictate to Congress how it should be handled," said Faughnan. "The House laid out a series of principles. It’s up to Congress and the president to figure out how to handle that."
But why would Republicans act, when they've just seen that doing nothing in the House led to Latino voters souring on the president? "We believe that it’s the right thing to do," said Faughnan. "I think you can look at instances in the past where conservatives have looked at perhaps a short-term political gain that turned out to be in the long term, politically damaging. From our point of view, conservatives and Republicans need to look at the long-term interests here."
I took from this that the Koch/libertarian donor position on immigration reform remains what it's been since 2013: great if it happens, better as an issue to use against Democrats, not really a distraction from the cause of electing more allies of Steve King and Ted Cruz.