Four ways amnesty is not so dead

2) The House is pursuing a “piecemeal” approach: Scheduling a vote on the massive “Gang of 8″ Senate bill would cause grassroots opposition to peak. Like Obama’s pivot, a go-slow, piecemeal approach focusing on smaller-bore bills, as announced by Speaker Boehner, calms everyone down. The ostentatious White House condemnation of Boehner’s approach, and Republican return fire, is almost certainly a semi-staged fight of the WWE-Kabuki variety. Both sides know the Democrats are quite happy with a piecemeal process, because …

3) It’s only a bunch of little bills! Any one of these little bills (on border security, or a limited “DREAM” amnesty) could–and probably would–trigger a conference with Harry Reid’s Senate, out of which would likely emerge a big legalization bill. “Piecemeal” is just a quieter, more effective way for Boehner to get to that place. Once a “comprehensive” amnesty bill came out of conference, it could become law if a) Boehner broke his promise not to bring it to the floor unless it was supported by a majority of Republicans (the so-called Hastert Rule) or, more likely, b) it managed to get Hastert-level GOP support, perhaps because it stopped short of guaranteeing illegal immigrants citizenship–a concession which Dems would make seem significant by complaining loudly, in another bit of Kabuki.