Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Way Of Democrats, Or At Least One

Daily Kos, arguably the leading liberal/progressive blog in the nation, is oh, so bold. Laura Clawson links to Byron York of The Washington Examiner, who writes

Sen. Marco Rubio, the leading Republican behind the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill, says he will not vote for the legislation he helped write and has staked his political future on, unless substantial changes are made before final Senate consideration.

Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday, Rubio said the Senate should “strengthen the border security parts of this bill so that they’re stronger, so that they don’t give overwhelming discretion to the Department of Homeland Security.” He said he was working with other senators on amendments to do just that.

Then Hewitt asked: “If those amendments don’t pass, will you yourself support the bill that emerged from Judiciary, Senator Rubio?”

Rubio answered, “Well, I think if those amendments don’t pass, then I think we’ve got a bill that isn’t going to become law, and I think we’re wasting our time. So the answer is no.”

Linking to a report that Utah Republican Orrin Hatch will be proposing four new amendments to the legislation, Clawson notes

Democrats have already allowed Republicans to amend the bill, while backing off on an amendment that would have helped same-sex couples stay together. And Republicans still want more. Now Rubio is once again playing to the far right by threatening to walk if Republican demands aren't met. At the same time, House Republicans look likely to refuse any immigration bill containing a path to citizenship.

So far, so good. But instead of suggesting that, as Republicans move the goalposts on immigration reform as they did on health care and the budget, Democrats say "no," she continues

But as Markos has written, "Republicans aren't engaging on immigration reform out of the goodness of their hearts." The future of their party depends on improving their standing with Latino and Asian voters, and killing an immigration reform bill negotiated by four Republicans and four Democrats and subsequently weakened by Republicans is not the way to do that. Marco Rubio knows that, but apparently it's not enough to get him to consistently stand up to far-right primary voters.

She links to Moulitsas' earlier post, one in which he repeats the conventional wisdom that

Republicans really have no choice, they need to eat into the Democrats Latino base or render themselves irrelevant...

They need to decide: Are they actually going to compete for Latino votes, or will they doom themselves to permanent minority status by catering to their nativists?

The conventional wisdom there is wrong, as the aforementioned York argued in this column reporting the results of election analysis by Nate Silver (the Nate Silver, who correctly predicted the winner in 50 of 50 states in the last presidential election.  And in the District of Columbia, which even Marcos Huizenga Moulitsas could have predicted.)  It seems that if Mitt Romney had won 70% of the Hispanic vote- 26% more than the Spanish-speaking, Texas-walking George W. Bush had in 2005- he still would have lost (in the Electoral College) to Barack Obama.

Nonetheless, Markos is right that, given prevalence of the myth of the all-determining Latino vote, "Republicans aren't engaging on immigration reform out of the goodness of their hearts."  He does not acknowledge, however, that the GOP will respond by ensuring there is no clear, easily obtainable path to citizenship in the legislation, or will vote overwhelmingly against it. Neither is there even a suggestion, from either Clawson or the boss, that Democrats should balk if Repubs continue to strip the bill of meaningful reform.

In a way, this commitment of (most) Democrats and liberals to immigration-enhancing legislation at any cost is analogous to the perspective of the Democratic establishment toward New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  No More Mister Nice, while noting yesterday that the New Jersey governor will appoint a Republican to fill the Senate seat of the late, great Frank Lautenberg, reminded us that on October 19, 2012 Christie condemned Barack Obama, wailing "what the hell is he doing asking for another four years?  We're happy to give you a bus ticket to the outside, Mr. President."


Twelve days later, Christie and Obama got together to assess storm damage -- and Democrats swooned, forgetting that speech and nearly three years of Democrat-, liberal-, and labor-bashing. To me, watching it was like watching a battered spouse take back an abuser after seeing one bouquet of flowers in the abuser's hand.

NMMN recognizes something akin to the Stockholm Syndrome, in which the right-wing governor "doesn't have to change his policies. He doesn't have to change his rhetoric. All he has to do is throw a few bro-hugs at the president and Dems' hearts skip a beat."

A common thread is discernible, and that thread is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  While Chris Christie, who recently hung out with the President at the New Jersey shore, is at least trying to be re-elected Obama has run his last race.  The "bro-hugs" went not inone direction, but also from the President to the governor, notwithstanding Christie's hostility toward mass transit, women's health care, teachers, public education, and medical marijuana patients. Barack Obama wants an immigration reform bill, whatever it looks like, and he wants Chris Christie re-elected governor, no matter what New Jersey looks like when he gets through with it.

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