While Republicans settle on a least-bad immigration strategy, it’s dawned on reform opponents and their conservative allies that if the effort dies in the House, they’ll need to bring a plausible excuse to the public — that is, if they hope to sidestep at least some of the blame for the debacle.House Republicans are acting as though they need to win the battle of the Sunday morning talk shows, rather than face down the demographic challenge to their very existence.
And they think they’ve found one.
Specifically, they hope to draw a connection between the White House’s recent health care reform implementation decisions and border security measures in the Senate’s immigration bill to claim their opposition to comprehensive reform stems not from substantive objections but from a sense that the Obama administration will ignore parts of an immigration law it doesn’t like.
House Republicans don't look keen to pass anything. For a while, House Speaker John Boehner was coy on whether the Hastert Rule would apply to a conference bill. The Hastert Rule requires a majority of the majority for any bill to get a vote on the House floor. Conservatives are pushing hard for it because it eliminates the possibility that House Republican reformers could team up with Democrats to pass an immigration reform bill.
However, the House bill isn't the final immigration bill. That would be hashed out by House and Senate negotiators in a conference committee. Then, both chambers would vote on the compromise bill for final passage.
House conservatives aren't stupid, though. They know the conference bill is the real one, and after weeks of egging him on, they finally got the speaker to state that the Hastert Rule would also apply to the conference bill. So either he's lying to House cons, or there isn't a bill. It's that simple. There's no way a sensible reform bill—even a severely compromised one—gets a majority of Republican support.
Given that House Republicans are looking to blame someone, they also realize the current state of play. But like I mentioned above, the finger-pointing won't do them any good with the people they are supposedly trying to woo—Latinos. Blame Obamacare? Latinos love Obamacare!
Saying, "We won't give you immigration reform that you desperately want because of the healthcare law that you strongly support" isn't exactly smart politics. It's the dumbest thing I've seen out of a dumb party in a long time. If you want to kill immigration reform, then own up to it. You hate brown people, you don't want more of them, you're afraid of them. Be proud and own it. You won't be fooling anyone otherwise, and certainly not Latinos.
But it's clear smart politics have gone out the window with the current House GOP. It's run by people who don't give a damn about smart politics, who are busy unskewing demographic reports to convince themselves that the shrinking white population will save their gizzard.