Obama's Cooties and Republican Meltdown on Immigration

So, after USA Today reported on a White House draft legislation on immigration reform - something the president has always said he would do in the event Congress follows its usual path of doing nothing - Republicans began melting down faster than wax in a lit candle. Suddenly after months of complaining that the president won't put his own plan out to deal with the debt, Republicans are seething that the president has his own plan on immigration.

Sen. Hydration, I mean Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida accused the White House proposal of following some sort of failed path even though he wouldn't say just what in the White House draft he disagreed with. John McCain appeared on Meet the Press and implored David Gregory to get off his lawn.. I mean John McCain appeared on MTP and insisted that the president's bill would fail because... well, no Republican actually gave any policy reason why the president's bill would fail, so I'm guessing it would fail because Republicans think it's got Obama's cooties on it. Yet other Republican senators are complaining that the president isn't calling them to sign them a lullaby or something.

This is what has become of the Republican party. Even on things they know they have to ultimately do, like immigration reform, and do those mostly to the president's liking, since if they had gotten their way, we'd be talking about self-deportation programs instead of a path to citizenship, Republicans are complaining that things will blow up if the White House puts its ideas on the table. Why? Because - and astonishingly, they admit this openly - anything with Obama's name on it is toxic to the GOP base, and evidently, the elected Republicans lack the courage to stand up to their extremist base on anything.

But in this case, it stands to very little reason. Any comprehensive immigration reform legislation will be seen as - correctly - a politically and substantially thumping victory for the president. Even the fact that the Republicans have resigned to the need for such reform is a big victory for the president. I mean, one certainly hopes that Republicans do plan on eventually letting a comprehensive bill. Unless of course, they are trying not to.

Could that be? The case can certainly be made. Republicans have made hay about conditioning legalization of undocumented immigrants to unclear and possibly goalpost-moving benchmarks on border security, instead of recognizing that under President Obama, net immigration from Mexico is at zero, that this president has made our borders more secure than any before him. He has doubled the number of border patrol agents, and crime in border towns have fallen. That Republicans refuse to acknowledge all of this and continue to search in the dark for "triggers" to stop legalization could be evidence enough that Republicans would like to keep people they see as likely Democratic voters from ever becoming American citizens.

Still, I suspect that most party leaders in the GOP know that not doing immigration reform is not an option. They are already out of their wits trying to figure out how they would put down an outright revolt in their ranks - probably on the House floor, and definitely among their rank and file - when it happens. "Obama supports the bipartisan plan" is bad enough from the base - but if it tuns into "Congress is passing Obama's bill?" Watch out for the pitch forks coming at John Boehner. Worse yet, watch out for the mad Teabaggers primarying enough Republicans to make the House impossible for the GOP to retain.

They are all complaining that the president is at risk of derailing the process by putting his own input into the debate. But in truth, it is not the process they are worried about being derailed. It's their party. They are not yelling at the president for causing harm to the process. They are yelling at him for exposing the gaping wound they have themselves opened. They have built a party that has become incapable of having adult debates, adult engagements or reasoned policymaking. It is their responsibility now to manage the disaster that is their party, not the president's.

And that is the sad state of the Republican party. Their base - and much of their Congressional caucuses - consist of a bunch of big babies for whom hatred for Barack Obama overrides everything good for the country. The leadership is running around DC setting their hair on fire essentially arguing that they can't make their members vote on stuff that has Obama's cooties. Well, too bad. The party knowingly let the extremists take over, and now they have to lay in the bed they made. They have to, and they know they have to. That's why they're groaning. Like a wounded elephant stuck in mud.