LatinaLista — As Latina Lista noted before Obama’s State of the Union address, it had been leaked that Obama would mention immigration reform in his speech. “Mention” was the right word since he said nothing new, nothing hopeful, pretty much nada.
The message from Obama was perfectly clear in what he didn’t say — that immigration reform is still on his and his party’s radar.
That was confirmed today during a morning press conference when both Sen. Reid and Sen. Schumer responded to a question about whether or not Sen. Schumer was going to introduce an immigration reform bill before March.
Sen. Reid jumped in and reiterated the Democratic Party’s commitment to the issue but that he’s learned his lesson about setting deadlines and that his party will pass when they can.
Sen. Schumer and former CNN host Lou Dobbs.
Sen. Schumer was more forthcoming in his answer, maybe a little too much. In addition to echoing Reid’s statement and saying that they really want this immigration bill to be a bipartisan effort and so are still looking for two Republicans to sponsor the bill with two Democrats, he dropped a bombshell:
We’re meeting with all different kinds of groups trying to get everybody together to come out for one bill.
In fact, yesterday I met with Lou Dobbs, who, as many of you know, is changing his views on immigration.
The idea that Democrats think Dobbs can help them get an immigration reform bill passed just boggles the mind and shatters the hope that Democrats actually get the issue.
Dobbs is a high-profile person, of that there is no doubt. When he resigned from CNN, he was at his height in popularity among his many supporters. To say he had the ear of Conservatives, and politicians among them, would not be wrong.
There were many times I wrote about how some politicians delivering anti-immigration reform rhetoric sounded like they had memorized Dobbs’ on-air tirades — complete with distorted information and questionable sources.
For those Conservatives who equate Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) with amnesty, Dobbs was their hero. He reached almost legendary status among his supporters by the time Presente.org succeeded in organizing a massive campaign to remove him from CNN airwaves.
But something happened.
After Dobbs left CNN and his lofty perch of daily preaching to the masses face-to-small screen, he suddenly had a change of heart.
Where once he vilified undocumented immigrants by accusing them of being carriers of diseases, he now “respects” them for wanting to achieve the American Dream.
Because of Dobbs’ 180 degree turn, it’s left many immigrant advocates who had to battle his daily fear-mongering, more than a little skeptical of his intentions.
On the surface, it seems it has less to do with a change of heart and more with a self-serving strategy in his pursuit of possible political office. Also, because of his change in attitude, Dobbs is not the sweetheart of the Conservatives he used to champion.
A quick scan of the comments section on The Hill’s article about Dobbs talking to Schumer left a very clear impression as to what his former followers think of him now:
Like hussein, who has reneged on every promise made during the campaign, flip-flopping, two-faced dobbs HAS NO CREDIBILITY. His “support” for anything, discredits that thing.
I am so disappointed in Lou Dobbs flipping on his stance against illegals. For years he rallied against this and now (I think he wants to run for office eventually) he is going to change his tune? BS. He is a traitor to those Americans who supported him when everyone else was against him. You blew it Lou.
From a political perspective, if Lou Dobbs supports any form of amnesty (especially with Schumer), any political career he (Dobbs) thought he would have is over. The Tea Party activists and the vast majority of Americans who oppose amnesty will daily point out Dobbs’ hypocrisy and attack on the middle class — the same middle class that Dobbs used to pretend to support.
For Schumer to reach out to Lou Dobbs shows just how much Washington has been paying attention to the illegal immigration issue and exactly how much influence Dobbs still wields — very little.
If the Democrats are hoping that Dobbs can use his pulpit again to reach Conservatives and sell them on coming on board with immigration reform, it’s a story that’s not going to end well.
No, Schumer is better off working with the organizations that ousted Dobbs from his CNN perch, and learning just how deep the branches of grassroots influence extend in mobilizing the masses to impress upon, even Republicans, that political influence is no longer relegated to only former cable news show hosts.