Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From "Rebranding" to Hard Landing

So much for "rebranding". Early this year, Republicans' mass embrace of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) was supposed to be part of a major "rebranding" effort for the Republican Party. Sadly for those who made the jump for CIR, the rest of the party didn't follow.

Instead, they followed the lead of the 21st Century Know Nothings. And that's meant a slow and ghastly death for CIR. Sure, G-O-TEA "leaders" have occasionally made gestures suggesting otherwise. But so far, it looks like the "rebranding" has just become another hard landing (back to their hardened base).

But hey, don't just take my word for it. Take a look at what Brian Beutler is reporting.

On Friday, two of the three House Republicans participating in a bipartisan immigration reform working group threw in the towel. More to the point, they threw in the towel because the political environment has got too hot for them — which is why they blamed President Obama for their decision, rather than irreconcilable policy differences with Democrats. [...]

According to Greg Sargent, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will begin turning up the pressure on Republicans by introducing immigration legislation of her own — one that hybridizes the Senate’s bill with measures bipartisan House negotiators had settled upon. But Speaker John Boehner has also promised not to put immigration legislation on the House floor unless half of his conference supports it — and I have my doubts that House Republicans aren’t going to support any bill, but particularly a huge one like immigration reform, introduced by Nancy Pelosi.

She could in theory introduce what’s known as a discharge petition, which would force a vote on her own bill if signed by 218 members. But Republicans will be under immense pressure not to buck the leadership to pass a Democratic immigration reform bill. The political consequences of immigration reform are questionable for Republicans, but if a bill becomes law over the party’s explicit objections, they’ll experience all of the downside and none of the upside.

Which is a long way of saying it’s probably not going to happen. And Republicans will go to the electorate in 2014 and perhaps again in 2016, without anything new or different or improved to offer an increasingly liberal electorate.

And there, we have it. Because G-O-TEA politicians are more concerned about placating their base than paying attention to the rest of the electorate, they can't accept any compromise. And because they're more interested in tearing down the Obama Presidency than passing any kind of good policy, we're stuck with nothing (but the same old idiotic manufactured crises).

After the last Presidential Election, at least some Republicans actually spoke openly about the need for change. And for a moment, "rebranding" seemed like a real possibility. But now, that party has completed its hard landing back down to its G-O-TEA base. And as long as it stays there, it can't change.

And thanks to this ongoing G-O-TEA intransigence, we can't fix our broken immigration system. And as a result, real families suffer as the nation fails to take advantage of new economic opportunities. Yep, so much for that "rebranding".

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