Many House Republicans put politics ahead of principle when they voted for the budget deal that funds the government through FY2015. They reportedly did this in order to keep the focus on Obamacare, which many Republicans believe is the key to success in the 2014 mid-term elections.
However, Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) and other key members of the House leadership now appear to be getting ready to switch the focus from Obamacare to immigration reform.
John Boehner (R-Ohio)
According to the Wall Street Journal, Republican leadership in the House is ready to embrace legal status for millions of illegal aliens. This would seem to indicate that Republican leaders are ready and willing to give millions of illegal aliens amnesty from multiple job-related felonies including massive child identity theft, forgery, perjury on I-9 forms, and Social Security fraud.
Boehner, Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) apparently believe that immigration reform will buy Republicans the support of business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and high tech companies, while at the same time picking up Hispanic votes. And they may be right as far as business goes, at least for the short-term; however, if history is any indicator, Republicans will not gain any appreciable support from Hispanics.
House leaders and their overpaid and underperforming establishment strategists apparently also believe that disgruntled Tea Party voters and other Republicans have nowhere to go and that they will have to vote for Republicans in the 2014 congressional elections regardless of what Republicans do on amnesty for illegal aliens. If so, they may be half right — these voters won't vote for Democrats, but that doesn't mean they will turn out and vote for Republicans.
Boehner and his leadership team would do well to remember what happened in the 2012 presidential election when establishment Republicans took it for granted that Tea Party Republicans would automatically fall in behind Mitt Romney. Of course, they didn't nor did the Ron Paul supporters who were disrespected by the party establishment and their incompetent strategists. Rather than voting for the lesser of two evils, many Tea Party and Paul supporters just stayed home or voted Libertarian and President Obama walked away with the presidency.
So, if Boehner and company think they can focus on Obamacare for the first part of the year, pivot to immigration reform in the spring over the objections of the Tea Party and other groups and then get the focus back on Obamacare in time for the November election, they will be playing with fire.
And after the November 2014 elections, they may well be left scratching their heads and asking themselves how they could once again have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.