It’s really not much different from what Rubio’s group is talking about. But Republicans can slam Obama’s plan as some sort of Kenyan-socialist-inspired abdication of sovereignty. They can blast the provisions on border security as laughable. They can describe the absence of a real plan for reforming the legal immigration process as slapdash, or unserious, or whatever they want to call it.

Republicans in the Senate can line up instead behind a bill that Rubio’s Group of Eight eventually produces; even Paul, a tea party favorite, has indicated he could vote for reform as long as he had more than “a promise from President Obama” on border security. And if enough contrast can be drawn between a Senate proposal and Obama’s plan, perhaps even a significant number of House Republicans can be brought along — if not a majority, then enough to convince Speaker John Boehner to allow an up-or-down vote.

In other words, this isn’t so much about what is being proposed. The bigger factor is who’s proposing it…

So if the president really wants immigration reform to pass, one of the most helpful things he could do is put out his own plan as a decoy, to draw Republican fire, while the Senate works toward bipartisan consensus. Which looks suspiciously like what just happened.