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If immigration goes down in the House, the chamber's Republican majority could well go down in the 2014 elections. In the Senate so far, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (R-Fla.) deserves high grades for his handling of immigration. Of course, Rubio has said some things I strongly disagree with, but I will cut him some slack as he tries to maneuver Republicans and the Senate toward a responsible position.

The ultimate test for Rubio will be where he, and the Senate, come down on final passage. For now Rubio is doing well, acting like a serious legislator and a political player who understands the interests of his party and our country.

Contrast Rubio with the showboating partisanship of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas), a man who is strongly disliked even by many Senate Republicans and who gives no evidence of being either a serious legislator or a political player who understands the needs of either his party or our country.

While my guess is that the Speaker privately favors an approach similar to Rubio's and realizes that Cruz's approach could spell political suicide for Republicans in 2014 by powerfully alienating Hispanic voters for a generation, the acid test will come within the full conference of House Republicans.

This is a test House Republicans could well fail. In the House, the final disposition of immigration will probably represent either John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE's finest hour or his greatest failure as Speaker. There is a kamikaze caucus of House Republicans that is determined to destroy true immigration reform.

In the end, the Speaker will have to stare them down within the Republican Conference and/or make a side deal with Democratic leaders to pass a bill that many Republican members will adamantly oppose. The political stakes are enormous. 

House Democrats have already begun running television ads in districts represented by Republicans with large Hispanic populations. There are some Republicans with a demographic death wish who persist in alienating waves of female and Hispanic voters, and if they prevail, the Speaker's gavel might well change hands after the 2014 elections.