Over the weekend, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told a Republican gathering, “Texas will be a Democrat state within 10 years if we don’t change. That means we evolve. It doesn’t mean we give up what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party.” Sen. Paul went on to mentioned rolling out the welcome mat for people with tattoos, but we all know what he meant. Eventually, he got to the point, though the Texans in the room probably wished he’s kept talking about ink:
“We won’t all agree on it,” he said. “But I’ll tell you, what I will say and what I’ll continue to say, and it’s not an exact policy prescription … but if you want to work and you want a job and you want to be part of America, we’ll find a place for you.”
There was some quiet applause in the massive hotel ballroom, in which hundreds of Republicans — a mix of high-dollar donors, activists and state officials — were gathered. But Paul remarked that the response was “kind of tepid.”
This is the crucial challenge facing the Republican Party nationally. Can they hold onto their ideals without alienating an emerging majority of those who believe in the spherical shape of our planet? In Texas, the big challenges are evolution, birth control, and immigration, and it was the last of these that seemed to take the wind out of Sen. Paul’s sails in Texas. So when Fox 7 wanted me and Matt Mackowiak to debate this topic, I was all like:
But this was Mackowiak, who broadly agrees that we need to achieve progress on immigration but is loathe, for reasons I understand, to take his party to task, especially on television. If a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination can’t win the day with logic on immigration, then Matt’s probably wise to stay off that frozen pond. But even so, I’m not sure how we got from Republican hostility to non-white non-men to him talking about Wendy Davis and open carry.
Here’s the debate: