Someone needs to grab John Boehner by the lapels and shake him until he cries. Granted, that would be, at most, one shake. But still. The alleged leader of the GOP in the House just tossed a land mine into the path of his party as it was set to march to victory this fall. The immigration “principles” that Boehner backs are indistinguishable from the Senate Gang of Eight bill that Boehner rejected, according to Byron York. He looks like an unprincipled fool, and a rube.
Now that the principles — all 804 words of them — have been released, it’s clear those opponents will have a lot to work with. What the GOP calls its “Standards for Immigration Reform” is almost all boilerplate, mostly indistinguishable from the Senate Gang of Eight “framework” that Boehner and other House Republicans rejected.
This move is comparable to the Dallas Cowboys’ decision to throw pass after pass when they were sitting on a 23-point lead against Green Bay in the third quarter this past season. You may remember my position on that. I’m no longer a Dallas Cowboys supporter. Defeats happen and many bad things are tolerable, but weapons-grade stupidity is not.
Weapons-grade stupidity is exactly what John Boehner is flaunting. He is flying his idiot flag high.
This video started making the rounds yesterday. It shows employees at a small business in a swing state coping with the damage that Obamacare will do to them. Their reaction can be boiled down to, Obama lied and my bank account died. Similar videos could be produced showing similar effects on about 93 million Americans who now find themselves in similar circumstances.
They could be cut in with the moment from this week’s SOTU address, in which all of the Democrats stood proudly to applaud Obamacare.
Add to that, the fact that Obamacare’s rollout in Maryland has been so awful that the Democrats there — it’s a one-party Democrat state, by the way — are using Obamacare as a weapon against each other. Obamacare’s unpopularity is on the rise nationally. More Obamacare regulations and taxes are on the way. Obama himself is such popular fellow that Democrats like Mark Begich and Kay Hagan don’t want to be seen with him. Obama’s approval rating keeps sinking. The majority have tuned him out. Even labor unions are mad at him. Meanwhile, on the other end of the country from Alaska, the Democrats’ new darling, Wendy Davis, is proving to be one of the worst candidates for office of the 21st Century. Davis is making Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend’s run for gov in Maryland a few years back look like a dream ride. Davis is making the much-derided failed Tea Party candidacies look like they were run by Lee Atwater and James Carville together. Her awful campaign could be tied not only to all Texas Democrats, but to Democrats elsewhere.
One would think that this issue environment would be sufficient for the opposition party. But that assumes that we actually have one. I’m no longer convinced that we do. We have pockets of opposition within the party, but we do not have a party that is consistently standing in opposition and consistently offering an alternative to the toxic mess that the Democrats are selling. They talk a good game, then they trot Boehner out to lob an interception.
Republicans could be chasing Democrats around from coast to coast on Obamacare alone. But instead, they are picking a 3% issue and picking a fight with their own base over it. And they’re picking the fight now, ahead of most primaries and months ahead of the general elections. There is time for the badness that is “comprehensive immigration reform” to sink in and sink the party. If you think the media won’t take advantage of this and try to get Republicans in primaries fighting among themselves over this, you don’t know the media. Of course they will. That’s what they do.
Immigration simply is not a priority issue for 97% of the country. It doesn’t rank higher than about 15 out of 20 in issue priorities. It is not going to move votes toward the GOP — most of those who have the hottest hopes for immigration reform aren’t Republicans — but it may move a lot of voters into not moving at all this fall. Pushing immigration now is an excellent way for the GOP to convince lots of its voters that there is no point to voting. That attitude will not only hurt the GOP as it tries to re-take the Senate, it will hurt down ballot candidates all over the country. Picking this immigration fight now is the worst thing the Republicans could be doing. Yes, it will bring in cash from the Chamber of Commerce and business interests. It will not help them solidify or motivate the base and it will not help motivate independents. It won’t even help with the Hispanic vote. Hispanic voters care about jobs and hate Obamacare just like everybody else.
I’m not even going to address why the Republicans are doing this. Frankly, I don’t care about that any more than I cared why Tony Romo kept putting the ball in the air against the Packers. There was no excuse for such gross mismanagement. No rationalization was sufficient. It was just dumb.
Pushing immigration now undermines the case that Obama is lawless, since any reform depends on him to enforce it and the Republicans are in effect saying that they trust him. Pushing immigration now undermines the rule of law, which also runs against the ability to cast Obama as lawless. Pushing immigration now does nothing for the millions of Americans and legal aliens who cannot find work in the Obama economy.
Pushing immigration now is weapons-grade stupid. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have struck the right notes on immigration this week. Boehner should listen to them. Stop throwing interceptions, please. Run with the Obamacare ball and wear out the Democrats’ defense. And then break them.