From Shutdown to Amnesty

by Rich Lowry

My fear is that having stuck it to the establishment with a defund strategy that, unfortunately, could never work, House Republicans will now turn around and do the establishment’s bidding on so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

1) The Republican leadership is going to feel pressure to do some sort of bi-partisan pivot in a misbegotten attempt to repair the party’s image, which at least for now is uniformly in the toilet in every poll.

2) The political judgment of the groups and members who favored the shutdown strategy and most strongly oppose amnesty is going to be highly suspect after defunding didn’t work. This will give them less influence in the immigration fight than they would have had otherwise.

3) The supporters of defunding in the House could use a few dozen members to drive the rest of the caucus. The dynamic will be different on immigration. Because Democrats all opposed any fiscal measure offered by the Republican leadership, the votes of those few dozen members were essential to passing anything. On immigration, Democrats could well support incremental immigration measures to get to a conference with the Senate, meaning a few dozen Republican votes against don’t mean anything anymore.

If the upshot of all this is that Obamacare is not defunded, the Republican party’s standing is diminished and we get a disastrous immigration bill, it will depressing indeed.

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