I was never much of a fan of John McCain, but at least he’s being candid on why the GOP is cooperating on immigration reform right now:

Asked why he felt he had a better chance of success this time, McCain offered a blunt response.

“Elections,” [McCain] said. “Elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens.”

Let’s put aside the cynicism of the quote, which one figures would limit any support the GOP could gain from Hispanics if that’s how they perceive the attitude of Republicans in this venture. Let’s imagine that immigration reform passes the Senate with somewhere in the neighborhood of 63-65 votes. Not an unlikely outcome considering how many Republican Senators are already on board. And let’s imagine that John Boehner then declares he’ll allow the bill a vote as is in the House, with the concession to his base that there will be no leadership whip operation on the bill. It passes with a couple dozen GOP votes, and Obama signs it. If all this happens–and it’s the most likely way that we get action on immigration–I fail to see how this in any way helps Republicans with Hispanic voters. The reality would be that the vast majority of Republicans will have opposed reform, with some small bloc signing off on it, for entirely practical reasons and probably at the behest of self-interested party elites. The credit would mostly go to Obama and the Democrats, though some potential 2016 candidates on the Republican side would be able to tout it. Good for them, but how does this fix the systemic problems the party faces demographically?

Now, if Republicans really were able to muster their caucus to provide something like a 90-vote approval in the Senate, and get 2/3 of the House to pass it, then the story would be strong bipartisan consensus, which would help Republicans. The takeaway would be, “Hey! We’ve changed! Give us another look, please!” And it could even happen. But this is impossible to imagine actually occurring–it would mean making everybody but the Rand Paul types take a vote that could break their careers, and a lot of them probably don’t even believe in reform anyway. One of the patterns you start to notice watching politics for a while is that Republicans often have goals they want to achieve, but they want to do everything they can to pay a political price to achieve them. So we get gimmicks like balanced budget amendments, 2/3 budgets, Gramm-Rudman, “Cut Cap and Balance” or what have you. These are all things theoretically designed to cut spending, but of course Republicans could have done that quite easily when they controlled the whole government in 2003-2007. It’s always about what the next gimmick is, rather than actually putting the work in to do it. They are the party of quick fixes and half measures. I’m not complaining, mind you, if they want to similarly half-ass their outreach efforts by passing a much-needed bill with only the barest bipartisan support needed to do it, but I seriously doubt that persuadable Hispanics will react positively to, “Here’s the absolute minimum we could give you in order to get this bill you all wanted. Also, the support was as grudging as it was self-interested. How about voting for us?”

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  1. Matmos says:

    Sounds about right — with the addendum that to (re)gain the Hispanic vote, they will have to start publically disavowing the loudmouths like Arpaio, Tancredo, Limbaugh, et al.

  2. Metavirus says:

    two points:

    1. This quote: “The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens”. — Sorry, McWalnuts, you have to first have something before you can lose it.

    2. There was a great article years back about how a lot of latinos don’t really give much of a shit about immigration reform, per se. when it came down to brass tacks, there were a ton of other issues that were higher on the priority list -- like a living wage, the economy, social safety nets, etc. latinos were on balance more concerned about those issues than Whitey McCrackerson. so, combine the republicans’ war on the poor, working poor, blue collars, brown people (including mixed race!), wimmins, cinco de mayo, unions, minimum wage, living wage, sanity, lower middle class and middle class, with their war on anything that smells like social spending to benefit “those” people, and you can see why lots of latinos will be smartly refusing to buy the proposed shit sandwich dressed up in a lovely-smelling wrapper.

    • Matmos says:

      Your point 2 was, I think, reiterated in a recap interview with the 2 univision (?) reporters that had conducted the “town halls” with Obama and Romney.

      Also too, dibs on “Whitey McCrackerson”. That’s right up there with “Chimpy McStagger”.

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