“The GOP Pulls Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory Because They Can,” Streiff at Red State notes:
As incredible as it may sound, both major political parties have decided to throw in the towel on the 2014 elections. Both parties made their announcements true to their traditions. The Democrats did it in their typically coy way, having their plutocrat masters hint that no money would be forthcoming for House races. The Republicans did it by calling their base racist and telling it to DIAF (or FOAD depending on which member of the House leadership you talked to.) While the Democrats at least have the stated objective of retaining the Senate, the GOP seems to have set out to prove you can lose an election when your opponent has conceded defeat months in advance.
What the GOP has done is take two issues: Obamacare (a proven winner) and immigration (a proven loser) and decided to totally mismanage the winning issue and run on the losing one.
As Erick Erickson adds elsewhere at Red State, “John Boehner is reaping what he sowed:”
Instead, it looks like they know the game that is about to be played. John Boehner and his friends will craft a package behind closed doors. They will leak it to the press. They will attack conservatives for daring to oppose that which they have not seen. Then he will rush through a package as quickly as possible, relying on Democrat votes to get it done.
The Chamber of Commerce will be happy, the base will not be, and Boehner can retire to a cushy K-Street job with Chambliss, Latham, and his other BFF’s who are retiring this year.
In the course of my musings on Twitter, AmishDude suggested that the real motive here is that the GOP leadership is actually concerned about the implications of a landslide. Of all the suggestions put out there, this seems to make the most sense, and synthesizes the above theories reasonably well while addressing most of my pushbacks on them.
The idea is twofold. First, a landslide would present as much of a problem as it does an opportunity for those who might want to revisit the issue in 2015, especially if the GOP establishment (or its donors) believes this is a must-do before the 2016 elections. The base would be even more agitated after a big victory, and appalled at any compromise on this issue if the GOP picks it up in 2015. In addition, absent a majority, Democrats wouldn’t have the same incentive to support a bill that contained further compromises, especially since they already view the bill as a compromise in the first place. They’d be better off watching Republicans flail and fail to pass a bill as their own base abandons them; this is roughly what happened in the mid-2000s.
But after all of the above gloom, as a Mr. G. Lucas would say, there is a New Hope:
— JT (@cbinflux) February 1, 2014
Faster please, as Michael Leedeen would say.
Update: “Did Showdown Kill Boehner’s Immigration Dreams?”, asks veteran conservative journalist Jonathan Strong, newly ensconced at Breitbart.com:
Immigration is the zombie of political issues–even when it is dead, it is still alive. The combination of the Democratic Party, business interests, and a GOP operative class yearning for its promise of improved standing with Hispanic voters means that you can never really count it out.
That said, it is hard to imagine Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) moving forward after yesterday’s closed-door showdown. According to estimates from those who were in the room–both in favor of moving forward and against–the dozens of GOP lawmakers who spoke were at least 80-20 against bringing a bill to the floor this year.
There is a palpable sense of disappointment among those interested in moving forward. In private conversations, the word that is used is that the meeting was “predictable.” The same people in the GOP conference who kept Boehner from moving on a bill in 2013 are just as opposed in 2014.
Is Boehner smart enough to heed their warnings, and spend the year employing “masterly inactivity” focusing all of the GOP’s activity on blunting the Obamacare rollout, as Hugh Hewitt recently suggested to Jake Tapper, or is he determined to suicidally ram immigration “reform” through this year, “because he can,” as Streiff at Red State suggested?
More: When I did the “New Hope” riff above, I had no idea that Chris Muir was also thinking along similar lines. Behold this fully functional Day by Day cartoon titled, “We Have Met The Enemy, Etc.:”
I only hope an Army of Davids can rein in an Army of Boehners.