Thursday, February 27, 2014

ON IMMIGRATION, REPUBLICANS WILL JUST PUNT IN 2015 THE WAY THEY'RE PUNTING NOW

Greg Sargent sees risk for Republicans -- in fact, a possible "nightmare scenario" -- as a result of their decision to block consideration of immigration reform this year:
... Some say there's no urgency [for Republicans] to act because Latinos don't matter in the midterms and Republicans can always do reform in 2015, repairing relations in time for 2016.

But what if waiting until 2015 is actually worse for the GOP?

Here's an alternate reading: If the party tackles reform in 2015, it could get tied up in GOP presidential primary politics, pulling the GOP field to the right and leaving the eventual nominee saddled with extreme party rhetoric and positions on the issue, further alienating Latinos in the general election -- exactly as happened in 2012. So while it might be difficult for Republicans to get reform done this year, braving it might be better than waiting....

Consider the role of Ted Cruz, who is expected to run for president. He's already attacking the new GOP immigration principles as "amnesty." If Republicans try to pass reform in 2015, he'll have an opening to demagogue the heck out of the issue to appeal to a chunk of right wing GOP primary voters. He'll do all he can to turn the GOP primary process into an anti-amnesty sludge-fest.

Is that what Republicans want? ...
No, that's not what Republicans want -- which is why I think they're going to block any attempt to do immigration reform next year, too.

If there's an actual bill, all the establishment candidates will have to oppose it because, in the GOP primaries, "moderates" are allowed to support theoretical "comprehensive immigration reform," but every actual bill has to be denounced as "amnesty." So what's going to happen is that congressional Republicans will block reform again, allowing establishment Republican presidential candidates to make content-free, platitudinous promises on immigration -- when I am president, we will finally enact real comprehensive immigration reform -- not amnesty -- that puts border security first yadda yadda yadda. There'll be a "citizenship" crumb in there. Establishment candidates can just keep saying this, robotically, as hard-line candidates talk about border-sealing and drones and moats and whatever. That's much safer than having an actual bill with actual details out there, something every candidate would have to oppose.

The GOP establishment is going to hope that an establishment candidate will get the nomination and win a few Hispanic votes in the general election based on (a) not being Mitt Romney and (b) having uttered vague babble about reform. A real bill every primary candidate would be required to oppose would just thwart that plan. So expect more stonewalling next year.

2 comments:

Victor said...

Yup!

The sociopathic gutless xenophobic Republicans in office are afraid of their sociopathic xenophobic rabid base running someone even more rabid against them in a primary!

Rick Massimo said...

Well, yeah. The key to Republican electoral success is never actually having a plan, or telling anyone before an election what it is - just assuring voters that you have an awesome plan, and if they elect you you'll fix all their problems with absolutely no inconvenience to them, as well as a tax cut and a chance to sneer openly at Those People.