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Republicans Wise to Punt on Immigration Reform

I’m favorably disposed to the immigration reforms outlined by House Republicans like Paul Ryan–and yet I’m very glad that Speaker John Boehner has indicated (presumably with the support of Ryan) that an immigration bill will not pass in 2014.

The politics are such that pushing immigration in the current environment would only (badly) divide Republicans and unify Democrats. Among other things, my guess is that the debate would end up highlighting some of the worst and most irresponsible voices on immigration. (See the criticisms of the Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad as a preview of coming attractions. Speaking of which, Jon Stewart’s segment on critics of the ad is worth watching.)

It’s fitting, too, that President Obama is paying the price for his promiscuous lawlessness. Republicans simply don’t trust Mr. Obama to enforce those aspects of the law he disagrees with–and they are right not to trust him. I rather like the idea of the GOP saying no to this Imperial President.

If immigration reform eventually is embraced by the GOP, it’ll probably take a presidential nominee who ran on the issue and won the primary contest to make it happen. Until then, the GOP is taking a wise and prudent course of action. Focus on the president’s failed agenda, on the weak economy and on the multiplying failures of the Affordable Care Act, and on other elements of its governing agenda–including policies dealing with poverty, health care and higher education, and social mobility. The result may be maintaining control of the House, winning control of the Senate, and another blow that badly weakens the Obama presidency.



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