When RNC Chairman Reince Priebus came out with a post-election “autopsy” last week, he cited immigration as one of the areas where Republicans could use something of a makeover if they want to boost their appeal to the Hispanic community. This response comes after President Obama drastically outperformed Mitt Romney with Latino voters in the November election. After all, only 27% of Latino voters went for Romney, while 71% voted for Obama.
“Some people are being a little intellectually lazy by assuming that ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ means ‘amnesty,” Priebus said on Friday. “I see the issue of immigration reform being a roadblock to our success with the Hispanic community.”
Republicans have yet to come together on how immigration reform should unfold. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has waffled on the issue of amnesty, while Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio speak only in broad terms. On the flip side, Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are part of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” and plan to host other members of the group in their state this week to continue working on a plan for comprehensive reform.
Iowa Congressman Steve King seems to be in a league of his own here. In 2006, King constructed a prototype for an electrified border fence on the House floor. In the process, he suggested that the fence would be similar to the type used to keep livestock from escaping. King has not softened his position or tone in the aftermath of the report from Priebus.
While speaking with conservative radio host Steve Deace, King addressed those in opposition to constructing a 2,000 mile long border fence. After all, if the Chinese could construct the Great Wall of China, why can’t we put something together along the Rio Grande?
“I’ve been over there to take a look at the Great Wall of China, that was built more than 2,000 years ago, and that’s 5,500 miles long and you can march armies down the top of it,” King explained. “I’ll just show you how to do it if it’s too complicated for our public policy people to get their mind around.”
Of course, the reasons for not constructing a 2,000 mile long fence along the border do not have much to do with structural or manpower concerns. Unfortunately for Preibus and others who want to avoid alienating voters in the 2014 midterm elections, it’s looking like Steve King might be a major player in Iowa.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register on Monday, King hinted that he might be leaning towards a 2014 Senate bid, saying that he wouldn’t want to “be the guy who looked back and said, ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda.’”