Markos Moulitsas: The GOP’s America

GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulRand Paul to teach a course on dystopias in George Washington University Destructive 'fat cat' tax law a complete flop. It's time to repeal it. Trump must take action in Macedonia to fix damage done by Obama and Clinton 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 CornynSenate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' McConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection 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 BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection 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 CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE was beside himself: “[The GOP’s focus on immigration] makes utterly no sense unless your objective is to keep Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 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 SchumerAngus King: Schumer is in a 'difficult place' Schumer: NYC should refuse to pay for Trump’s security Reagan's 'voodoo economics' are precisely what America needs 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.