Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman on Monday predictably worried that Republican "nativism" in the wake of the Boston bombing will imperil the chances of immigration reform passing.
While discussing the issue on Hardball, the political director of the Huffington Post complained, "I think that's sort of the impulse behind Chuck Grassley. It's the impulse behind Rand Paul, who is one of the renegades who says let's stop immigration reform."
Connecting Boston to the immigration debate, Fineman fretted, "And what proponents of reform here have to worry about is this sort of notion of nativism coming up again and people just saying, 'No, let's stop.'" Incredibly, the very liberal Fineman tried to give advice to the Republican Party: "But Rand Paul doesn't have the interests of the Republican Party at heart...People like Rand Paul are not interested in the future of the Republican Party." Who believes that Fineman cares about the future of the GOP?
Fineman is obsessed with this idea of Republican "nativism." On July 23, 2012 , he assailed Mitt Romney, saying the Republican "played to the kind of nativist base of the Tea Party. And by nativist, I mean people who are, in essence, afraid of the world."
A transcript of the April 22 exchange, which aired at 5:50 ET, is below:
[After playing a clip of Chuck Grassley and Charles Schumer fighting about immigration, Matthews and Fineman discuss the issue in the wake of Boston.]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: No matter what we say, we all could have predicted this. There was going to be an overlay, a bleeding of this horror into immigration because it's about foreign people coming here.
HOWARD FINEMAN: Well, there's no question about it. Right now, the polls show that people in the United States have generally-- although only modestly favorable-- view of immigration overall. They are in favor of immigration reform and they are for the notion of continuing immigration. But there have been times in our history in recent years when people have been very much against the idea of immigration altogether.
FINEMAN: And what proponents of reform here have to worry about is this sort of notion of nativism coming up again and people just saying, "No, let's stop." I think that's sort of the, the impulse behind Chuck Grassley. It's the impulse behind Rand Paul, who is one of the renegades who says 'let's stop immigration reform.' But Rand Paul doesn't have the interests of the Republican Party at heart. It's the Republicans who want immigration reform.
MATTHEWS: Off their back. Off their back. Because it's killing them.
FINEMAN: For the most part. People like Rand Paul are not interested in the future of the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: I know. I don't think he has a macro view of the Republican Party.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow him on Twitter.