Establishment Republicans are irretrievably in the back pockets of their open-border donors, which is why we’ve never solved our immigration crisis. Naturally, they are well aware of the fact that their voters have no appetite for the importation of illegal immigrants and do not share the priorities of their donors. But they still run on our issues in the primaries and paint their conservative challengers as pro-amnesty. Incongruously, they often use the open-borders money to promote that very message. This dynamic is now playing out in the Florida governor’s race between Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis.
The pro-amnesty agriculture lobby attacks a conservative for being against food stamps, farm welfare, and amnesty
Supporters of former congressman and agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam are well aware of the fact that, with our current crisis with drugs, illegal immigrants, and transnational gangs, there is no appetite for his Gang of 8 open-borders policies. Thus, taking a chapter out of Sun Tsu – all warfare is based on deception – allies of Putnam, based on an appallingly dishonest local blogger, are suggesting that Putnam’s opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis, voted to give food stamps to illegal aliens — by voting against the food stamp-laden 2014 farm bill!
The National Liberty Federation is the third-party organization running attack ads against DeSantis suggesting he voted for food stamps for illegals. As Tampa Bay Times writer Adam C. Smith writes, National Liberty Federation is run by a Palm Beach County resident named Everett Wilkinson, who is a longtime associate, press contact, and bag man of Roger Stone. Meanwhile, one of Stone’s longtime clients is the sugar lobby. The sugar lobby is very strong in Florida, which is why Sen. Marco Rubio continues to support corporate welfare for the sugar business. In this gubernatorial race, the candidates could not be further apart on this issue. DeSantis is an ardent opponent of corporate welfare and the broader farm bill, and Putnam is an ardent supporter of everything the agriculture lobbies want.
The dishonest blog post cited in the TV ad shamelessly misquotes an article by CRTV host Nate Madden and uses it to mischaracterize DeSantis’ no vote on the farm bill. When Madden asked the puerile blogger to issue a correction, he obnoxiously declined.
As such, it’s no surprise that the legislatively illiterate blogger who claims to be concerned about immigration was on Infowars with none other than Roger Stone to discuss the farm bill and DeSantis.
The ultimate case of projection
If you have followed DeSantis’ career, you might be scratching your head wondering how one of the strongest proponents of sovereignty in Congress could be attacked as a supporter of welfare for illegals. While I’ve seen creative deceptions by RINOs in the art of projection, this one takes the cake. They are suggesting that because DeSantis was one of the brave Republicans to votes against the statist 2014 farm bill, which was full of unconstitutional subsidies and Stalinist price controls and also codified Obama’s baseline of food stamp enrollment, he is somehow pro-amnesty.
As evidence, they cite language in the bill that, while reauthorizing the massive food stamp program without any fundamental reforms, contained boilerplate language to ensure legal verification for eligibility. Section 4015 dictated that “a state agency shall be required to use an immigration status verification system.” Their mendacious insinuation is that a vote against the farm bill was a vote against some form of enforcement against illegal immigration.
Now, even if the bill indeed contained some sort of new consequential immigration language, it would still be extremely dishonest to suggest that someone who voted against a 99 percent bad big-government bill is somehow for amnesty.
In reality, however, the 2014 bill did nothing to change standing law on immigration. It kept the same boilerplate language on legal verification for eligibility that is contained in authorization bills for all welfare programs.
On the one hand, illegals have long been barred from getting welfare programs; section 401(c)(1) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (PRWOA), the famous welfare reform bill, bars unlawfully present aliens from receiving any “retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.”
On the other hand, they have continued to get access through identity fraud and on behalf of American-born children.
The bill did nothing to address this in real terms; there was no reason for a conservative to vote for a massive, cronyistic spending bill just because it contained paltry immigration enforcement language.
Imagine if a candidate ran an ad against conservatives who just voted against the omnibus bill, saying the conservatives hate the military because they did not vote for a bill that contained a myriad of other problems?
The cruel irony is that because of open-border liberals like Adam Putnam, particularly from the big agriculture lobby, illegal aliens wind up collecting food stamps despite this language. Thanks to Democrats’ refusal to support mandatory e-verify, something DeSantis has passionately promoted as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, we have no universal way of clamping down on identity fraud that is so widespread among illegal immigrants. They use false Social Security numbers to obtain those benefits. In fact, Putnam, who passionately supports DACA while DeSanits was fighting against it, is responsible for the insane levels of identity fraud that the program helped cover up.
In the irony of all ironies, this farm bill codified the entire food stamp expansion under Obama for everyone. And given that most illegal alien families have American-born children, who are erroneously regarded as automatic citizens, more than half of illegal immigrant families wind up getting food stamps despite the official federal restrictions. And that increased, not decreased, precisely because of this bill.
The real solution to preventing illegals from accessing welfare and engaging in identity theft is to do as DeSantis suggests, implement mandatory e-verify, which is opposed by the farm lobby Putnam supports.
DeSantis was one of 63 Republicans who opposed the bill precisely because it continued the massive spending on urban and farm welfare. The group included such notorious immigration hawks as Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, Tom Cotton, and Paul Broun. Which brings us to the true source of this attack: Although a majority of Republicans voted to limit the sugar subsidies in 2013, DeSantis was one of only two members from Florida to support the amendment.
Clearly, Roger Stone and the sugar lobby have a beef with DeSantis, and for good reason. He will shut off the spigot. So, in a laughable subterfuge, they engage in projection and paint opposition to the farm bill, which enabled more food stamps to flow to illegal aliens, as being weak on illegal immigration. The funny thing is that the agriculture lobby and Putnam are the biggest supporters of open borders. So, far from a false choice between being pro-enforcement of immigration and pro-farm bill, the two actually work together. The agriculture lobby and Putnam support both corporate welfare and open borders, while DeSantis opposes both. If you are looking for an incorruptible pro-sovereignty candidate on immigration, DeSantis is unbreakable because he is against the Big Ag welfare agenda.
Stone’s henchmen might claim to be independent of Putnam, but when you run ads against DeSantis in a two-man race, you are doing Putnam’s work. Moreover, Putnam is clearly pro-amnesty across the board. Thus, this is not some third-party organization concern with a vote taken by DeSantis on immigration, because anyone who truly cares about immigration would be even more appalled by Putnam. Putnam wasn’t even a member of Congress during the Gang of 8 debate in 2013, but as Florida’s agriculture commissioner, he supported the bill because of the cheap labor. He also opposed allowing Florida’s law enforcement to help the federal government with interior enforcement, something that is extremely vital for a governor to do. Furthermore, a group claiming to be concerned about verification of legal status would not be helping Putnam, who worked with Florida legislators to water down an e-verify bill.
So, conservatives in Florida, don’t be fooled. If we are going to fall for the most pathetic lies of the swamp, then we deserve the establishment Republicans we elect.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.