You knew it, I knew it, Grahamnesty knew it, even the Democrats knew it. Teeny problem for the Dems, though: They’ve been going around saying the opposite, which now leaves them in a predicament vis-a-vis Latino voters. Having raised expectations, how do they break the news that comprehensive immigration reform is DOA?

Gently, my friends, gently.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backed away from a major push on immigration reform, conceding that the issue may be too volatile for an election year agenda already packed with ambitious legislative plans…

“We have a lot of work to do,” Reid said. “We won’t get to immigration reform this work period. We won’t get to the Supreme Court justice this weekend. We have lots of things to do and I’ve spent most of the caucus today [discussing with my members] the things we have to do and how we’re going to do them.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the leading Republican negotiator over immigration reform, also said emphatically Tuesday that Congress won’t be able to pass a comprehensive bill this year.

“Immigration is going nowhere this year,” the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday.

Indeed. When even Steny Hoyer’s admitting that tea party energy is driving vulnerable Dems into retirement, you can cross amnesty off the to-do list for purple-district Democrats. As for Reid, it’s no secret why he’d been crowing about it until today: If Nevada’s huge Latino minority stays home in November, his odds drop from slim to none. Presumably he’ll plead that the Senate’s calendar is simply too full from now to then and that immigration will be their tippy top priority next year, when being majority leader will be someone else’s problem. One thing I don’t understand, though: If, as Reid insists, he has 56 votes for a bill (including Graham’s, natch), then why not take Kos’s advice and put something up for a vote? If it passes, great — Reid gets a huge win and a reelection boost. If it fails, great — Reid gets to say that he tried and the evil “nativist” GOP thwarted him again. The only way it backfires is if there are significant defections among centrist Dems, which I’m guessing he thinks there will be or else he’d pull the trigger on this. Looks like the Blue Dogs are good for something after all.