in Kulturkampf

Choosing Not To Choose

Senator Lindsey Graham explains his holdup of the bipartisan climate bill:

“Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,” Graham said. “Let’s be clear, a phony, political effort on immigration today accomplishes nothing but making it exponentially more difficult to address in a serious, comprehensive manner in the future.”

Holding up a climate bill in the face of melting ice? Not a phony political effort to stop reform. Because comprehensive immigration reform might actually address the issue in a serious, comprehensive manner, and Republicans cannot allow that to happen.

Mind you, they know it’s important. Graham and the Republicans also know how bad the optics of the issue are right now, with Arizona jailing brown people who don’t have a copy of their birth certificate with them:

Abdon was told he did not have enough paperwork on him when he pulled into a weigh station to have his commercial truck checked. He provided his commercial driver’s license and a social security number but ended up handcuffed.

An agent called his wife and she had to leave work to drive home and grab other documents like his birth certificate.

Jackie explains, “I have his social security card as well and mine. He’s legit. It’s the first time it’s ever happened.”

Both were born in the United States and say they are now both infuriated that keeping important documents safely at home is no longer an option.

Jackie says, “It doesn’t feel like it’s a good way of life, to live with fear, even though we are okay, we are legal…still have to carry documents around.”

Republicans know all this, but don’t care. The Grand Old Party simply cannot allow Democrats to be the ones who actually, y’know, do something about it. They had their chance to do something under Junior Bush, but chose inaction; if the immigration bill under discussion resembles the one Bush failed to get through a Republican Congress, they’ll denounce it as un-American anyway.

It’s just normal Republican reactionary behavior. The GOP also knew that health care spending was bankrupting families, business, and government; they just didn’t want the Democrats to succeed in doing something about it. But the uglier truth is that a right-wing teabagging base will crucify any Republican who votes for immigration reform, and that has the GOP terrified.

They know the demographics are changing and they could lose the southwest for a generation. But they also know the racist right-wing authoritarian warmongering teabagger fringe will crucify any Republican who votes for reform. Their solution for this dilemma is…nothing. Down the memory hole again! Graham wants to quash any discussion of the issue — and no doubt most Republicans in Congress would really, really like that to work.

They’d rather be free to demagogue in home districts without being on the record in Washington, which is a pretty good argument for Democrats bringing up immigration reform ASAP. It’s also an example of the GOP painting itself into rhetorical corners that guarantee minority status.

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