Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Can't Have It Both Ways

Never mind that it happened last weekend. And never mind that it was just a PR fluffing commercial. Believe it or not, Coca-Cola's Super Bowl commercial is still making headlines.

Why? G-O-TEA Culture Warriors are still denouncing it. Somehow, they think that a TV ad that depicts all the facets of 21st Century America is somehow "un-American". What on earth have they been drinking?

But wait, there's more. G-O-TEA talk radio bomb thrower personality Laura Ingraham is now claiming US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's "allegiance obviously goes to her immigrant family background and not to the U.S. Constitution". Why? Justice Sotomayor dared to challenge media personalities (like Laura Ingraham) to stop using insulting and incendiary terms to describe immigrants. (And apparently, Ingraham is still unaware that Puerto Rico is a US territory.)

So why are we now talking about radio personalities & TV ads? They illustrate the Republican Party's trouble handling complex issues like comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).

Case in point: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his many flip-flops changing positions. One day, he's for CIR. The next day, he's against it. Last week, he released "principles for immigration reform". But this week, his own top lieutenant shot those very "principles" down. It's not easy keeping up with Speaker Boehner and his constantly changing position(s) on CIR.

However, we know why Speaker Boehner feels pressure to change position. On one hand, he knows his party is screwed if it continues to bomb with minority voters (like it did in 2008 & 2012). But on the other hand, he knows the 21st Century Know Nothing driven rebellion that's consumed the Nevada Republican Party and wreaked havoc on other state & local parties may target him next should he stray too far from their preferred "principles".

So now, Speaker Boehner is stuck in a rhetorical pretzel of his own making. He keeps trying to have it both ways on immigration reform, even though he knows deep down that's impossible. And so long as keeps up this farcical kabuki theater, no meaningful immigration reform will be accomplished.

That's what we must keep in mind here. Republican "leaders" can't have it both ways. They can't simultaneously pass CIR and please teabaggers. They can't simultaneously say they want CIR while blocking the only realistic way to get it done. They can't simultaneously say they're for CIR and they're against it.

At some point, they will have to make a choice. Either they can bring to the House floor legislation based on the bipartisan CIR package that already passed the Senate last summer. Or they can be honest about their true intentions, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was when he admitted there are "irreconcilable differences" between the House G-O-TEA plan and what everyone else wants to happen.

At the end of the day, they can't have it both ways.

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