When you talk to wingnuts or wingnut-roaders like McArdle someone will inevitably make the argument that they just cannot trust Obama. The loving feeling just isn’t there. Nobody points to an actual thing that makes Obama especially treacherous relative any other person who weighted down the chair behind the Resolute desk. It seems like enough to say Obama has some intangible can’t-put-my-finger-on-it you-know-what-I-mean other-iness. Does anyone ever take that seriously? It seems like an issue between a guy and his therapist.
As most of you know by now Boehner can’t or won’t pass an immigration bill because, as he says,
his wingnut caucus will roast him alive (WARNING WASHINGTON TIMES) something to do with Obama and trust. This should play fine with his primary voters who know exactly what a guy means when he says that he just has a hard time trusting one of those people like Obama, wink nudge don’t make me say it out loud.
On the other hand pretty much everyone else understands exactly why John Boehner (a) cannot advance immigration reform and (b) cannot shut up about it. Said a prescient fellow back in 2007,
Wonkery aside, the delicious politics of this bill strike me more than anything else. Like most people who support the Democrats I don’t have much passion one way or the other. Having to speak Spanish to get a decent wet burrito doesn’t bother me, I like cinco de Mayo and it strikes me as vaguely fair that our policy should help families stay together. America survived the Irish invasion, the Italian invasion, the Nordic/Germanic invasion, the slavic invasion, the (involuntary) African invasion and the Chinese invasion so it seems ludicrously insecure to think that one more will kill us. Whichever way they went on the issue the worst heat most Democrats are likely to face will come from David Broder.
But lord, what a tough spot for Republicans. At its heart the GOP has two basic camps* – business conservatives who bankroll the party and the social conservatives/theocons who staff it. In that light one could say the towering achievement of Bush’s term as POTUS was that he defied the centrifugal forces of majority power and held the GOP’s unlikely coalition together as firmly and as long as he did. If so, his towering failure will undoubtedly be his adamant support of this immigration bill.
I have tried for days to think of something that could wedge the social cons apart from the business cons than immigration but I just can’t do it. The Chamber of Commerce loves our current system because one can pay illegals practically nothing and they will thank you for it. In their view any fix to the current system has to keep bringing in large numbers of people with poor language skills (can’t have them reading those OSHA flyers on the wall) and a weak bargaining position, e.g. guest workers. Otherwise Americans had better get ready to start paying more for hotel beds, restaurant meals and packed meats.
The key problem is that the thing that the business cons need more than anything is exactly what the social cons desperately want to end. This issue has no conceivable middle ground because the social cons want less of precisely the same thing that business cons need more of. The historical calm between these two camps lasted and could only last as long as party leaders had the good sense to keep the issue off the front burner altogether. Any move to change the status quo would necessarily set off contrary demands that could easily spiral into open warfare.
To summarize, Karl Rove saw a demographic apocalypse coming for the national GOP. Being the proactive sort he tried to get ahead of it and from this effort he earned nothing but a sour reputation with social conservatives. In the seven years since that event the Chamber O’ Commerce has pushed their own pet Republicans to work with Dems on immigration reform and the wingnut suicide caucus killed it every time. I wish I could remember how many times this has happened but my job and random shit on the internet have ruined my attention span. So I am turning to you guys for help. Can you all help me document every stupid excuse that leading Republicans have given for spiking immigration reform? I can remember Obamacare, Obama being mean to them in the State of the Union, the Obamacare rollout problems and, uh, a bunch of others but names and dates escape me. With your help I would like to build a pretty timeline like Steve Benen does. He may already have done it but I am
too lazy working. Thanks.