Al Cardenas, chairman of the influential American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax he's certain the immigration reform legislation that will pass in the House will be a "good conservative bill."
Cardenas also asserts that Obamacare is "not going to work" — and that the administration's postponing of the employer mandate for another year is not legal.
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And he charges that giving jet fighters to Egypt while Mohammed Morsi was in office was "absolutely crazy."
Cardenas is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. His American Conservative Union is best known for sponsoring the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Cardenas says if his organization was drafting an immigration reform bill "it would look different than the Senate bill. But we believe immigration reform needs to pass, we believe the Senate bill needed to pass hopefully with bipartisan support, and we're hoping the House version will be a more conservative version that we would be more comfortable with."
Cardenas continued: "The speaker has said it's going through a judiciary committee and before he puts it on the full floor, he wants to have a supportive majority of the Republican caucus. That will assure that it's a good conservative bill, in my opinion."
Cardenas was asked why the Republican-controlled House is not embracing immigration reform along the lines of the Senate bill.
"There's a lot of fear and anxiety over the whole subject matter of demographics in America," he responds.
"As a first-generation American, I came to this country when 80 percent of our population was white. If my actuaries work right, by the time I move on they will be a minority in our country. It's a massive demographic shift," Cardenas said. "There are concerns about assimilation, concerns about retaining the values of our founding fathers, and concerns about doing this right so in the future immigration's controlled by the policy makers and not by an unlawful process of entry into our country.
"So there are a lot of good reasons why there is anxiety and why there is fear, but anxiety and fear don't solve the problems. Resolve and conviction and a good bill will," he said.
Cardenas maintains that Democrats as well as Republicans risk losing Hispanic votes over the immigration issue.
"If the House version of the bill does not have a path to citizenship, does the president veto the bill or does the Senate refuse to pass it?" he says. "And if that's the case, will Hispanics consider the Democrats to have taken away from these folks the right to be here legally?
"On the other hand, if a bill satisfactorily passes at conference and goes to the House and is voted down, there is concern that the conservatives and the Republicans are just a no party and are not willing to compromise on a crisis in the country. So both sides stand to potentially lose depending on how this plays out."
Regarding the 11 million illegal aliens already in the country, Cardenas says "there are only four alternatives. One, de facto amnesty, which is illegal. Two is mass deportation that even conservatives say is just not going to work. So you basically have two choices — some sort of legal status without a path to citizenship, or the path to citizenship that the Senate passed. Either of those versions in my opinion would work."
Commenting on the Obama administration's decision to delay for a year implementation of the employer mandate to provide healthcare insurance, pushing it back to 2015, Cardenas tells Newsmax: "It looks like Obamacare is just not going to work. Larger employers are going into self-insurance rather than participating in his program and many others are saying they'd rather pay a penalty than participate, and there still will be 30 million or so Americans that will be uninsured in spite of Obamacare.
"So in my opinion, this thing's not working. Many states don't want to participate in the Medicaid component of it, and postponing it is just making sure that by the 2014 elections the Democrats don't have to bear the burden of a bill that doesn't work.
"And incidentally, postponing it is not legal. The bill had a timeline set by Congress and I don't believe the executive branch can expand it unilaterally. If they're going to expand it from 2014 to 2015, it requires a bill amendment in Congress."
Regarding the situation in Egypt, Cardenas observes: "You couldn't think of making a wrong decision on every turn but this administration has, with respect to Egypt.
"Number one, we were seeking the ouster of Mubarak, who was certainly not a great leader but at least he kept the peace with Israel. So we ousted him knowing that likely the void would be filled by a Muslim Brotherhood fanatic in Morsi. And now that the military has once again regained control of the country, we're once again demanding there be democracy in Egypt.
"And incidentally, giving them these fighter planes while Morsi was in office was absolutely crazy. That's just not something we ought to do."
Cardenas offers his views on several potential political races and candidates:
• As to the likelihood that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio could seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, Cardenas says, "I can see both or either or none. They're both going through the thought process to see whether it's something that they would want to embark upon or not."
• Sen. Rand Paul is "definitely interested" in running for president.
•Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is "looking more and more like a prominent candidate" for the White House, as is Rep. Paul Ryan.
• New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be a "formidable candidate" in the general election, although he might have difficulty getting through the primaries.
• As for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat who is considering a run for governor again against incumbent Rick Scott, Cardenas says "it's a shameless process of someone saying he's a Ronald Reagan Republican a year ago and now saying he's as liberal as the Kennedys. How do you make such a 180-degree turn and get away with is beyond me but, according to the polls, he seems to be competitive if he's the nominee."
Cardenas also tells Newsmax that a CPAC gathering will start on Sept. 28 in St. Louis. He adds: "Everybody could go to our website at www.conservative.org and get all the information."
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