In class yesterday we discussed the possibilities of immigration reform getting passed. President Obama is pushing it, but the odds are slim. The Washington Post lays out an argument, but I think it misses a key point. Regardless of John Boehner's standing in the Republican Party, a lot of people will not want to get behind Obama again so quickly after caving in on the shutdown. Primary season is coming right up, and passing two of Obama's requests will not go down well with primary voters back home.
And here is where even legislators' logic gets fuzzy:
Rep. Raul R. Labrador (R-Idaho) told a conservative audience on Wednesday that “it would be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration.”
Labrador, who dropped out of a bipartisan House effort last spring to strike a comprehensive immigration deal, added: “Anything we negotiate right now with the president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind, which is to destroy the Republican Party.”
The irony is that immigration reform would actually strengthen the Republican Party, albeit more in the long term than the short term, by sending a signal of inclusiveness that would eventually pay electoral dividends. Doing nothing further alienates Republican moderates, who feeling increasingly beleaguered.
In short, I think the shutdown vote made immigration reform even less likely than it was before, when odds were already long.