The Republican Party was supposed to be getting its act together for the midterm election. Instead, judging from the disarray on immigration reform, things may be getting even messier.Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast offers up a blistering indictment of the Republican's refusal to change its ways:
I’m referring to House Speaker John Boehner’s embarrassing climb-down. After vowing for months that the House would finally take action on immigration, last week he surrendered. The bitterly divided Republican majority cannot agree on how to proceed. Apparently, this is supposed to be President Obama’s fault.
If Boehner spilled gravy on his tie, he’d probably blame Obama. The fact is, Obama has done everything humanly possible to make it easier for Republicans to support sensible reform.
This is what the larger Washington establishment has become: The enabling spouse of the drunk. “They’ll change. I just know it. This time, I really don’t see how they can’t. I mean, supporting immigration reform is so clearly in their own self-interest!” And certainly, it is. But laying off the sauce is certainly in the alcoholic’s self-interest, too. In that case, we all understand why the alkie doesn’t stop. It has nothing to do with self-interest. He knows his own self-interest. But he can’t change until his shame and disgust with himself is such that he’s ready to try.Much more on this and the day's top stories below the fold.
With the GOP, it’s more complicated, because this isn’t just one person’s conscience. It’s an entire machinery of ideology-fueled delusion and rage.
At least this time the discussion was honest: the failure of immigration reform is all about political power, not the best interests of people or the nation.The Denver Post:
There was serious hope just a few weeks ago that House Republicans would, finally, come to the table on reforming the nation's immigration system and creating a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally. And just like that it was gone, with Republicans saying that they'd first like to see how the fall elections go.
Millions of lives kept on hold, again, all so some politicians can hedge their political bets.
If the sheer immorality of it doesn't shame House Republicans, perhaps they should consider that this could be one of the most damaging things they've done to their party in years.
Well, that ray of sunshine didn't last long. House Republicans' encouraging tilt toward immigration reform, complete with a statement of principles conceding that even immigrants without documents who meet certain criteria should be able to "live legally and without fear in the U.S.," survived for just one week.Greg Sargent:
It took one week for heated backlash from anti-immigration stalwarts in the House and around the country to prompt Speaker John Boehner into backtracking. [...] Boehner's capitulation to the GOP's die-hards is deeply disappointing. It was also brazenly insincere. [...]
Rarely has a party been so stubbornly in denial about the need to reach out to a wider base.
There is a simple question that will determine whether we get something approaching real reform. Can enough House Republicans find a way to embrace some form of legal status for the 11 million, packaged with border security triggers, under conditions that accomplish the following: 1) Allow for a policy solution to the 11 million that is actually workable; 2) Allow for a policy solution to the 11 million that Dems can accept and can be signed into law by Obama.Charlie Cook:
When Republicans cite distrust of Obama on immigration, what they are really saying is this: We are not sure there is any set of workable border security triggers, as conditions for legalization, that is iron-clad enough to enable us to persuade the base that we’ve developed an adequate safeguard against Obama’s secret desire to throw open the borders — and by extension, to accept legalization.
For Republicans, the fear of being attacked from the right and having to defend themselves from a more conservative primary challenger is, in some cases, real or entirely possible. Even those not facing the immediate threat of such a challenge foster a deep concern that it could happen.And from The San Francisco Chronicle:
Although a certain amount of paranoia is natural for any elected official, it is particularly prevalent now among Republicans, who are enmeshed in a civil war between the Republican Party establishment and the GOP’s tea-party/most conservative elements. Those in competitive districts or states also have to keep getting their base out to vote in general elections—although most base voters, particularly conservatives, vote no matter what, even in midterm elections.
But the fear of a primary also has a calendar component.
In barely a week, Republican leaders have flip-flopped on immigration reform, switching from a willingness to consider useful changes to a swift backpedaling on a topic that will likely freeze any movement for this year and beyond.
It's an about-face filled with political calculation, but it's also a directly personal loss for 11 million people living here without papers. Legalizing their status is essential in reforming a system that has created a sub-world of undocumented people with few protections or opportunities.