Stu Rothenberg, arguably the top political prognosticator in the country, argues in his Roll Call column today that the GOP pushing immigration in 2014 would basically be political suicide.
“An immigration fight this year would be very nasty, with conservatives opposed to a compromise using every option at their disposal to stop legislation,” Rothenberg wrote. “The word ‘bloodletting’ comes to mind.”
Rothenberg said that politically speaking, pushing amnesty–which he supports policy-wise, and thinks politically the GOP needs to support at some point to survive as a party–in 2014 could wreck the GOP’s chances at retaking the Senate and winning elections across the country.
Rothenberg said the mainstream media would further divide the GOP, “giving full voice to the angriest and least tolerant elements of the party.”
“The fight inside the Republican Party would be much nastier than previous fights over the government shutdown or the extension of the Bush tax cuts,” he wrote. “And Democrats wouldn’t sit idly by. They’d jump on Republicans, too, portraying the party as a collection of tea party extremists and mean-spirited conservatives at war with itself.”
Top immigration hawks like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have made similar points about the timing of a big overhaul this year.
“Amnesty is wrong in any circumstance, and if we are going to fix our broken immigration system–and we should–it makes much more sense to do so next year, so that we are negotiating a responsible solution with a Republican Senate majority rather than with Chuck Schumer,” Cruz told Breitbart News as House Speaker John Boehner was unveiling the GOP leadership’s immigration principles.
“Anyone pushing an amnesty bill right now should go ahead and put a ‘Harry Reid for Majority Leader’ bumper sticker on their car, because that will be the likely effect if Republicans refuse to listen to the American people and foolishly change the subject from Obamacare to amnesty,” Cruz added.
Rothenberg added at the end of his column that even if House GOP leadership delivers an amnesty bill by later this year, they would still get blamed for any potential “impasse.”
“Moreover, taking up immigration reform wouldn’t guarantee a deal with congressional Democrats or the White House, unless, of course, Senate Republicans and Speaker John A. Boehner are willing to take any deal, no matter the price,” Rothenberg wrote. “And that price could change during the discussion, particularly if Democrats decide that playing hardball is an increasingly attractive option later this year. What happens if ultimately unsuccessful negotiations stretch out for months, a deal never gets done, and Republicans are blamed for the impasse?”