Today’s dumb immigration kabuki: Dems to demand that gay illegals be allowed to sponsor partners abroad
posted at 6:01 pm on May 1, 2013 by Allahpundit
Mickey Kaus is right, of course. Not remotely is this an obstacle to passing the Gang of Eight bill. If anything, it’s a little nudge towards passage from Schumer and company.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has told advocates that he will offer an amendment during the bill markup next week allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for green cards, just as heterosexual couples can. The measure is likely to pass because Democrats face pressure from gay rights advocates to deal with it in committee, rather than on the Senate floor, where the odds of passage are far less favorable…
“It will virtually guarantee that [the bill] won’t pass,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Gang of Eight negotiating group, told POLITICO in a brief interview. “This issue is a difficult enough issue as it is. I respect everyone’s views on it. But ultimately, if that issue is injected into this bill, the bill will fail and the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart.”…
Democrats, led by Leahy and the party’s progressive allies, are expected to make the high-risk push because they aren’t convinced that Republicans would ultimately abandon the measure if it includes protections for same sex couples. The GOP made similar threats about the Violence Against Women Act before Congress passed a version that covered victims of domestic violence in same sex relationships, advocates point out.
This is what’s known as ginning up a “demand” for the express purpose of conceding it later for strategic reasons. Maybe Leahy will get it through committee, just to show the party’s liberal base that Senate Democrats are all about gay rights in case that wasn’t abundantly clear yet. At that point, Republicans will have veto power. If a quick whip count reveals that Rubio’s right about this provision tanking the bill, rest assured that Leahy and Chuck Schumer will find a way procedurally to have it stripped out, replete with plenty of assurances to the left that amnesty will eventually be extended to gay couples after the bill is signed into law. Then the GOP can declare another lame “victory” with which to supposedly impress conservatives. Kaus knows kabuki when he sees it:
For example, the amendment could be offered on the Senate floor, where it would fail to get the necessary 60 votes but allow Democrats and some Republicans to go on record in seeming support. Or the gay provision makes it into the bill, but the bill itself fails to get 60 votes. Then the Dems take out the provision and have another vote. Or the amendment gets removed in conference with the House, giving Democratic senators a “yes” vote on the initial bill and Republicans a subsequent. ”concession” they can use as cover for a final pro-amnesty vote.
That last thing, I suspect, is the real purpose of the gay dispute. The Kabuki of Amnesty not only includes fake fights between Marco Rubio and the President, and fake anti-Obama ads praising the Republican senators who support Obama’s immigration approach, but also the creation of fake threats that can then be used as bargaining chips with gullible conservatives (or fake-gullible conservatives)…
Opponents of amnesty, in particular shouldn’t fall for that false hope,. The amnesty side isn’t about to fumble.. They will have to be beaten on the ground, on the core failings of the bill (“border security or guest workers or …the path to citizenship”–the concerns Carrie Budoff Brown dismisses). The gay issue only can only divert attention and energy from those core debates.
All true, but there’s more to it than that. Total Democratic victory on immigration doesn’t just mean enacting a path to citizenship with phony border security provisions. It means preserving certain grievances against the GOP that can be used against them in 2014 and beyond to keep core Democratic constituencies alienated when Republicans try to build on the “goodwill” they’ll have allegedly earned by passing this thing. Rest assured, if the bill becomes law with a 15- to 20-year citizenship path, amnesty shills will waste no time afterward slamming the GOP for such a draconian demand at the expense of poor “undocumented” Mexicans. The “gay couple” amendment works similarly. Legalized gay marriage is famously popular among younger voters, whom Democrats depend on, but also increasingly popular among Latinos, especially younger Latinos whose political identity might not have solidified yet. (According to some polls, a majority of Latino voters already support legal recognition of SSM.) Democrats don’t care if the “gay couple” provision passes, they care about voters noting that they tried to pass it and that it was the GOP that stopped it cold. Frankly, given the minor trend towards public support for SSM by some Senate Republicans like Rob Portman and Mark Kirk, it’s not a bad idea strategically for the Dems to call Rubio’s bluff on trying to pass the bill with the “gay couples” amendment as part of it. Maybe they can get to 60 with it in there and claim an even bigger victory for their base. If they can’t, great — they’ll use the GOP’s opposition as an attack point later. Either way, in no sense is this amendment an “obstacle” to passage. One side or the other will cave.