During the broadcast of her radio show Tuesday, Laura Ingraham had Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) on to discuss his attempt to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) as House Majority Leader. Cantor is stepping down as he lost in the Republican primary for his seat last week. Ingraham has taken a lot of credit for Cantor’s loss to Tea Party challenger David Brat. The far-right radio host and ABC News contributor used her airtime ahead of the primary election to endorse Brat due to his extremely conservative views on immigration, which mirror those of Ingraham. In Ingraham’s mind, the United States not only should deport all immigrants who are here illegally, but should also completely shut its borders and curb all legal immigration.
Labrador, who also holds a very conservative view towards immigration and considers himself a member of the Tea Party, probably figured he was heading into safe territory going on Ingraham’s show. With his chances of winning the the House Majority Leader post extremely long, Labrador figured there’s be no better place to drum up some good press among conservatives than Ingraham, who now fancies herself a kingmaker after the Cantor upset. Little did he know that Ingraham would take him to task for not having extreme enough views on immigration.
After he tossed a bunch of red meat regarding the President, calling him lawless, and telling Ingraham that we need to ship off the children that are being detained due to crossing the border illegally, he and Ingraham got into an argument revolving around Labrador’s support over the guest worker program. Labrador claimed that we need to fix the guest worker program to allow businesses to bring over qualified workers legally. This set Ingraham off, as her feeling is that there are more than enough qualified workers in America and too many people without jobs. Therefore, the borders need to be completely sealed.
At this point, Ingraham tried to get Labrador to agree to sign the FAIR pledge. FAIR, or the Federation for American Immigration Reform, is a conservative organization that is trying to push lawmakers and candidates to pledge not to accept any immigration laws that they feel give undocumented immigrants ‘amnesty.’ The organization also wants reforms made to the entire immigration process, making it extremely difficult for anyone born outside of the US to achieve citizenship or permanent residency in this country. Ingraham is a big proponent of the organization and has regularly pushed other conservative politicians to sign the pledge.
What is amazing here is that Labrador has been a big reason why immigration reform hasn’t gone anywhere in the House. He was originally part of the ‘Gang of Eight’ that was going to work on the House’s response to the immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate. He eventually dropped out, using his opposition to ‘amnesty’ as the main reason for him ditching the effort. Since then, he has sworn to help block any progress on the issue, something he pointed out to Ingraham. Instead, Ingraham chastised him for not having a more ‘scorched earth’ mindset.
INGRAHAM: So you’re where Cantor is, because he won’t [sign the FAIR pledge] either.
LABRADOR: I have made it very clear for the last year that we shouldn’t even have a bill for immigration reform in the House of Representatives. I was the first one who said that. I said that publicly.
INGRAHAM: Their wages are flatlining and their standard of living is deteriorating and yet you want to bring in more guest workers and foreign workers into the economy. Why? … So the Americans are too lazy — they’re not creating any jobs? We just need foreign workers? You’re just wasting your time and you’re squandering your conservative bona fides in the process.
Message to House Republicans: No matter how far to the right you think you are, you’re never conservative enough for the right-wing media.
As for Labrador, his quest to succeed Cantor as House Majority Leader has been doomed from the outset. Not only does he have to contend with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the current Majority Whip and #3 Republican in the House, but he also has to show his fellow Representatives that he is a competent organizer and communicator. That will be difficult considering that the Idaho GOP convention, which he presided over as chairman, ended in chaos earlier this week. On top of that, it was discovered that he didn’t have basic contact info for many House Republicans and quite a few had never even talked to him for even a short period of time, something that doesn’t bode well for someone with leadership aspirations.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).