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Immigration has Republicans in a hole. They lost the Latino vote by a landslide last November, President Obama has 70 percent approval from Latinos, and if immigration reform doesn't happen, everyone is going to know Republicans are to blame. The first rule of holes is, of course, if you're in one, stop digging. But if Republicans stop digging their general-election hole with Latino voters, they may find themselves in a crazy-Republican-primary hole with their party's base. So House Republicans seem to be trying to ... dig slower?
Speaker John Boehner's not endorsing a path to citizenship, but he's working hard not to say anything quotable standing in the way, either:
"I think this is a very difficult part [for] any of these bills, and I want to just encourage members on both sides of the Capitol and both parties to continue to try to come to some resolution," Boehner said at a Tuesday news conference.
Boehner continued, "The bipartisan efforts here in the House and what I want to do is encourage both sides of the Capitol and both parties to continue talking to one another so that we can resolve this issue in a bipartisan manner." Bipartisan bipartisan bipartisan. Got that? But since as soon as House Republicans actually start putting legislation together, it'll become clear just how bipartisan they're not, slow is the name of the game:
[R]ather than try to reach a deal first like the Senate did, the House will start its immigration push in a different way: with a hearing.
The House Judiciary Committee meets Tuesday on immigration reform, and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) wants everyone to be clear it isn’t to talk about the Senate proposal. Rather, it is the first of several hearings for members to hear about current immigration policy and then find out where they stand.
You can only hold so many hearings, though, before people notice that you're standing in the way of meaningful reform. Especially when House Republicans like Idaho's Raul Labrador, Texas' Lamar Smith, and all the usual extremists are running around ranting against immigration policy that doesn't involve fences and guns. In the end, Republicans have a choice: change their extremist views or keep losing Latino votes. No amount of foot-dragging and equivocating will get them out of this one.
Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:15 AM PST.