Morning Joe
updated 6/20/2013 11:16:54 AM ET 2013-06-20T15:16:54

The Morning Joe must-read opinion pages for Thursday, June 20

On Wednesday the auditors at the Government Accountability Office released the results of two investigations and optimistically conclude that it “cannot yet be determined” if ObamaCare will be ready for enrollment a mere four months from now. The GAO’s detailed portrait of blown deadlines, regulatory improvisation and general chaos explains why HHS has been anti-transparent. … If HHS had any appreciation for basic accountability it would release the facts itself instead of going dark and running ObamaCare as a black-ops mission.

The immigration debate has turned once again to “securing the border,”… Here’s the real story: For some Republicans, border security has become a ruse to kill reform. The border could be defended by the 10th Mountain Division and Claymore antipersonnel mines and it wouldn’t be secure enough. … The value of all of this additional border spending is probably marginal, and at some point it becomes offensive to U.S. values of freedom and human dignity. We doubt many Americans would support anything like the police-state measures that would be required to reduce illegal immigration to near-zero as the restrictionist right wants as the price of reform. The real game here is to kill a bill that would create a more pro-growth and humane immigration system for America… If the right succeeds in blowing all this up, one wonders what comes next? Perhaps Republicans can campaign in 2014 on self-deporting the 11 million illegals who are here now. That worked so well for Mitt Romney.

The speed with which the tea party turned on Rubio is stunning, beginning earlier this year with complaints from conservative commentators and now open mockery at a Capitol Hill rally. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared this week that the House won’t take up an immigration bill that doesn’t have majority support in the Republican caucus, which means the “Gang of Eight” Senate bill that Rubio sponsored wouldn’t get a vote.

Changes that so complicate a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as to render it meaningless are (and should be) unacceptable to supporters of reform, including most Democrats. But if the GOP senators accept something short of this, they will face furious attacks from the hard-core opponents of any move toward large-scale naturalization of those who came here illegally.  In the end, there is no way around their dilemma. If they want a bill, they will have to take political risks.

The Obama policy on Syria isn’t quite as feckless as it may look. But it has the fundamental flaw of past covert-action programs, which is that the United States is seeking a decisive political change through proxy forces that have limited power and popular support — and could easily be overwhelmed by others who have a stronger ideological or religious motivation. It’s not an accident that the jihadists have been the best fighters among the rebels: They’re the most passionate about their cause.

Despite the fine performances of many TV actors who’ve followed in Gandolfini’s footsteps, it’s entirely possible that his performance as Tony Soprano will never be equaled. I am sure I speak for many “Sopranos” fans when I say that I’m grateful for the rich mystery and deep humanity that grounded Tony. That hangdog guy did a lot of bad things, but we were always on his side, somehow. Well, perhaps not on his side, precisely; his capacity for violence, murder and self-pity could be hard to take. Still, Tony was always fascinating, and it was impossible to look away from the big galoot, in part because Gandolfini showed us that Tony’s selfishness and despair and sense of humor weren’t so different from our own.

Video: Tea Party protests in D.C. and hits Rubio over immigration

  1. Closed captioning of: Tea Party protests in D.C. and hits Rubio over immigration

    >>> 45 past the hour. here with us now for the must read opinion pages from washington, chief political correspondent for cbn news, david brody . good to have you on board this morning. i got a must read from "the washington post " i'm going to read in just a moment, but first anger directed at the federal government and the irs was enough for hundreds of americans to gather in protest yesterday in the nation's capital. the audit irs rally was to paint the government enemy number one. it did not stop them from implicated the nsa and the epa with government corruption . notable speakers include senator ted cruz and rand paul along with representative dave camp and michele bachmann and conservative pundit glenn beck . tea party organizers called the rally their largest event since 2010 .

    >> and, david , as dana mill writes in "the washington post ," marco rubio is also a target. this is the republican party going into the 2014 elections and trying to take the white house back. right now it has a little bit of intermural battling going on.

    >> there's no question about that. and the front lines of that intermural battle, to a degree, is rubio and rand paul . i mean, if you looked at their speeches the other day at the freedom and faith coalition down in washington, d.c., they both talked a kind of different brand of christianity. you know, rand paul talking more about that libertarian, we are not going to send any sort of money overseas to any folk that is are persecuting christians. and marco rubio saying as christians we have a place in this world as america. we need to kind of go in and fight evil. the good verse evil battle, the ronald reagan mentality. there really is a microcosm of what's going on in the gop.

    >> isn't it fascinating to watch the fact that marco rubio over the past six months has been moving a little bit left, a little bit right, and right now he finds himself at this moment on top of the fault line that is -- i won't say splitting the republican party because every party has these intermural battles that we are talking about, but marco seems to be, have one foot on both sides and it seems like he's getting torn from both sides now.

    >> well, i think you're absolutely right, joe. and i think this is part of the danger and the potholes ahead for marco rubio . look, there's a lot of vitrial spewed to marco rubio , especially from folks down in florida. they are not happy and it is not just immigration, but they start to see rubio as the gop main establishment figure, a big part of the tea party 's mojo. and who can benefit from this? here's rand paul , let's be honest, he has been very shrewd, very politically smart and not tone deaf at all when it comes to how you role out certain issues and how you, in essence, frame any of these issues. and look, the privacy issue, nsa, doj, the tea party targeting, all of it setting up very well for rand paul if he plays his cards right.

    >> jeremy, let me add ted cruz to the mix along with rubio and rand paul , how are tray treated by more experienced senators in the republican party on capitol hill now. you think about barack obama in 2008 , he was endorsed and supported by a lot of democratic senators, are any of those three young republican senators sort of catching on with being seen by leaders by the older ones?

    >> you have people like john mccain who famously called the tea party senators the wacko ones. but on the other hand, you look to the leader of the senate, mitch mcconnell , who showed great difference to rand paul . he's, of course, in a very -- he's in a re-election battle and the thing he fears the most is looking too far apart ideologically from this rising star in the republican party .

    >> david brody , let's talk really quickly about i think jimmy bringing up a great point, you have mitch mcconnell who certainly is not loved by tea party members. he tried, in fact, to defeat rand paul in the primary election in kentucky back in 2010 . he came up short and he realized he had to make a political marriage of convenience. if you're john mccain , maybe you can call a lot of these hard-charging tea party members wacko birds, but if you're interested in getting re-elected in places other than arizona, that may not be the smartest thing to do.

    >> well, that's right. let's remember rand paul is one of the folks associated with the paul family. he is very close to rand paul and is running mitch mcconnell 's re- election campaign . there's some smartness to coin some sort of word out there on both sides. i mean, mitch mcconnell 's start to dip into the tea party world and rand paul , quite frankly , smart enough to kind of have jesse benton as kind of a bridge, if you will, to leadership. rand paul is very interesting because he is starting to play his cards right within capitol hill and outside capitol hill . it is a fine line for sure. and it's something that quite frankly i think rand paul can get away with. why? because he seems to have more of that tea party street cred and can get by with more on capitol hill .

    >> marco rubio is found if you go too far toward the establishment and actually try to work too much inside washington and actually get things done, then suddenly your street cred collapses and people say nasty things about you at capitol hill rallies.

    >> yesterday when his name was announced, he were booed like he were harry reid . think about that for a minute. this guy --

    >> i would rather not.

    >> hold on.

    >> no, but this guy was, you know, the great hope for the tea party . he was the tea party senator and now is being booed at their rallies.

    >> jeremy peters, thank you. david , thank you.

    >> david is profiling me tonight.

    >> he is. it's going to be great. he could cut me up into little pieces.

    >> the industry word is it's a bit-piece.

    >>> did you hear the story about george zimer, the man who founded men's wearhouse?

    >> you'll like the way you look.

    >> he's the founder.

    >> he's iconic. thrown out on his well-tailored coaster by the board at his own company.


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