Markos Moulitsas: The GOP’s America

GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps MORE wants to be president, and he isn’t dumb. So it’s not surprising that he’s horrified at the mess Republicans have made out of the immigration reform issue. 

Speaking in Houston at a fundraiser for Texas Sen. John CornynJohn CornynWhite House officials expect short-term funding bill to avert shutdown Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE, Paul didn’t temper his assessment: “Texas will be a Democratic state within 10 years if you don’t change.” And while comments like “People who are Hispanic or Latino, they have to believe that we want them in our party” might have received just “tepid” applause (Paul’s own assessment of his audience’s reaction), he is absolutely right. The Republican Party cannot survive the nation’s changing demographics without evolving past its reflexively xenophobic opposition to comprehensive immigration reform. 

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner4 reasons Mike Pompeo will succeed at Foggy Bottom The misunderstood reason Congress can’t get its job done GOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House MORE’s (R-Ohio) half-hearted attempt last week to move the issue forward — emerging from a GOP confab with a statement of principles that featured such titillating titles as “Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System” and “Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement” — certainly didn’t help his party’s cause. For a party trying to win back Latino support, that was a bit, well, underwhelming. 

Most importantly, BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner4 reasons Mike Pompeo will succeed at Foggy Bottom The misunderstood reason Congress can’t get its job done GOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House MORE made it clear that Republicans still stand in the way of a full path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. While Latino voters would welcome any legislation that would spare their friends and relatives the fear of deportation, the Boehner position — the crux of which is telling Latino immigrants that “we hate you too much to ever consider you American” — is unlikely to earn new Latino support for Republicans. 

Not that any of it mattered anyway, because even that cup of weak tea never stood a chance. Conservatives didn’t just line up against legislation — indeed, no House alternative to the already-passed Senate reform bill has even been submitted — they lined up against the idea of doing anything. 

Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador was outraged, saying, “I think it should cost him his Speakership.” Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz says Cambridge Analytica assured him its practices were legal Dem battling Cruz in Texas: ‘I can understand how people think this is crazy’ Overnight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian MORE was beside himself: “[The GOP’s focus on immigration] makes utterly no sense unless your objective is to keep Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump presses GOP to change Senate rules Only thing Defense’s UFO probe proves is power of political favors Nevada Democrat accused of sexual harassment reconsiders retirement: report MORE as majority leader.” And allies like the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol wrote, “Bringing immigration to the floor [insures] a circular GOP firing squad, instead of a nicely lined-up one shooting together and in unison at ObamaCare and other horrors of big government liberalism.”

So after a couple of days of not really trying too hard, Boehner threw his hands up, declared reform dead for the year, and blamed President Obama — the guy who has deported more undocumented immigrants in five years than former President George W. Bush did in eight years. Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerConscience protections for health-care providers should be standard Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise Dem super PAC launches ad defending Donnelly on taxes MORE (D-N.Y.) called Boehner’s bluff with language that would delay reform until 2017 — after Obama had left office — which Republicans quickly shot down.

All of this was predictable. Just days after MSNBC pathetically apologized to the Republican National Committee and fired a staffer for tweeting that “the right wing” wouldn’t like a Super Bowl ad featuring a multicultural family, conservatives exploded in outrage over ... a Super Bowl ad celebrating our nation’s multiculturalism. Paul can talk all he wants about needing “a more diverse party ... a party that looks like America,” but it won’t play to a base built on historical racial, ethnic, gender, sexual choice and geographic animosity. 

Paul might be looking to the future. His presidential ambitions demand it. But his base is clinging to an America that no longer exists, a past that will never return. 


Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.