Obama’s new strategy: Use amnesty to splinter the GOP

The White House plans to test Republicans’ unity and political resolve on three controversial issues: repealing the Bush tax cuts, implementing the deficit commission’s findings, and pushing immigration reform. Obama’s team says that these issues will make for good policy—and good politics, forcing Republicans elected in swing districts to choose between placating Democrats and independents and risking a possible Tea Party challenge in 2012.

The White House believes immigration reform may be the toughest test for the GOP—even tougher than tackling the deficit. “This will separate the reasonable Republicans from the pack running for president,” said one senior Obama aide.