Politico claims he was joking but I’m not sure why. This guy’s only saying what the entire Republican leadership thinks.
Maybe the “joke” is that he’s pretending to care about the political implications of amnesty and the fate of the GOP when all he really wants is cheap labor.
“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”…
“You think Congress can get immigration reform done this year, in an election year?” moderator Eamon Javers asked Donohue.
“Yes, yes,” Donohue replied.
National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons said he also thought immigration reform could pass this year, perhaps in a lame-duck session.
I’ve been thinking they wouldn’t dare try something as sneaky as passing immigration reform during the lame-duck, but realistically there are only three “windows” left before the 2016 election. One is this summer, if Boehner decides (stupidly) that he can’t afford to let Obama out-pander the GOP on immigration yet again by “relaxing” U.S. deportation policy before the midterms. I think passing something this year is less likely than it used to be, though, now that ObamaCare isn’t quite the catastrophe for Dems that it looked to be back in October. If Boehner’s going to risk amnesty, he wants the party to be in a position of absolute strength so that even a small fall-off in turnout doesn’t cripple it on election day. Right now the party seems a bit weaker than it was a few months ago. That fall-off could cost the GOP a race or two if current conditions hold.
The second window is early next year after the new Congress is seated. Boehner might decide to start the session off with a big “achievement” on immigration, to get it done and get it out of the way knowing that grassroots righties will revolt short-term but that most will forgive and forget in the interest of beating Hillary once it’s time to vote in 2016. The window here is small, though — just a few months before Republican presidential candidates start declaring and the primary campaign begins, as GOP contenders won’t want to deal with the issue on the trail. Doing it next year also gives ammo to amnesty opponents to argue that the issue is simply too hot to touch in a presidential election cycle and will tear the party apart if it happens. And by 2015, Obama’s saber-rattling about granting an executive mass amnesty will be louder than ever. If the GOP’s serious about not trusting him to enforce the law, those threats will only hurt the cause in the House.
Which leaves us with the third window, the lame duck. There’ll be no worries then about Republicans staying home in the midterms to protest the new amnesty law, as there would be if Boehner passed something this summer, and having it done before the new Congress is seated would give GOP leaders a chance to start fresh in January with a new agenda to help conservatives move on. Just one problem: If Boehner’s serious about coming back as Speaker next year, the lame-duck would be the worst possible time to pass something. It’ll look cowardly to amnesty opponents since the lame-duck is a moment of minimal congressional accountability and it’ll be fresh in everyone’s minds when the vote for the new Speaker happens in January, galvanizing anti-Boehner forces. He’s probably done as Speaker if he decides to go ahead with this in November. Is he prepared to make that sacrifice?
Exit quotation from the man himself: “We’ve got a lot of good candidates out there, and yes, Jeb Bush is my friend, I think he’s make a great president. And I’ve been nudging him for some time.”