Many of us warned that it would be dangerous to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. We were assured, however, that Republicans are perfectly safe and harmless as long as you don't (1) expose them to bright light, (2) get them wet, or (3) feed them after midnight -- especially the last one because they undergo metamorphosis from the gee-whiz aw-shucks Norman Rockwell patriots they were all through the 2014 campaign into grotesque, uncontrollably destructive gremlins.
Well, apparently that's happened now:
Rising Republican hostility toward President Obama's impending immigration plan is as intense as has ever existed between the White House and the GOP.More:
... But the strong reaction by Republican leaders has less to do with opposition to the nuts and bolts of the president's immigration policy and more to do with fear and anger that the issue will derail the agenda of the new Republican majority before the next Congress even convenes....
To many, stark warnings from Boehner and McConnell sound more like pleas to the president to avoid reenergizing the GOP's conservative wing, whose leaders are already threatening to link the president's immigration plan to upcoming budget talks.
Another government shutdown is not what McConnell and Boehner had in mind when their party won control of Congress this month....
The debate is also a test of whether the party can contain the controversial and sometimes offensive comments that have often hindered attempts to bolster support for Republicans among Hispanics. After tea party firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said on Wednesday that protected immigrants would become "illiterate" voters, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) winced.Obama, the leaders say, fed them after midnight, and now they're going nuts, so it's all Obama's fault. Never mind the fact that a lot of us said it wasn't a good idea to let these creatures into our house in the first place, just because the looked so cute in their ads.
"Unfortunate, unfair, unnecessary, unwise," said Graham, who is close to party leaders.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), a moderate from the Philadelphia exurbs, said the leadership is asking his colleagues to "not play into the president’s hands."
"The president wants to see an angry and intemperate response, thinking the Republicans will do something that leads to a shutdown," Dent said. "Don't take the bait, and don't have a hysterical reaction. We can be strong, rational and measured."
... Many conservative lawmakers, however, are shrugging off pleas from leadership.... Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said Wednesday that Obama's executive action should be met with a refusal to vote on any more of his nominees....
And Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) -- one of the loudest voices on the right — has hinted at bringing up impeachment measures....
Amid the chatter over strategy, it is the tone of outraged rank-and-file members that most worries GOP elders. Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, they do not want to see Republicans tagged by Democrats as hostile toward Latinos and other minorities.
"It only takes a couple" of comments for an unflattering narrative to build about the Republican response, said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "That's the trouble with having some of these new, young punks around here. They ought to listen to us old geezers."
Oh, well -- this is what we're dealing with now: