Our View: . . . For reasons difficult to fathom

Posted: February 1, 2014

The American people — or “the folks,” as pundits jocularly refer to them these days — repeatedly rank immigration reform low on their list of priorities. Of far greater concern are such home-and-hearth matters of import as jobs (“Where can I find one?”) and health care (“Will I be able to keep my doctor?”).

As such, one would readily assume the issues for this midterm election cycle are set in stone for a resurgent Republican Party. Issues, that is, on which rival Democrats are most vulnerable — a dismal employment landscape and the wretchedly abysmal excesses of ObamaCare.

Why then would the GOP, seemingly on the cusp of a 2010 electoral redux, willfully wade into the swamps of immigration reform? What’s more, why especially would they embrace such an issue whose resolution — to any extent whatsoever — figures to impact negatively not only on their base but on independents whose votes they are seeking this November?

Columnist Ann Coulter frames matters crisply: “Republicans have no obligation to assist the Democrats as they change the country in a way that favors them electorally, particularly when it does great harm to the people already here.”

So why, why, why are they so insistent on treading down this path, particularly when such philosophical beacons as the Heritage Foundation and Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are so defiantly dead-set against it?

Many reasons have been posited for this vexing move, starting with the obvious: The GOP sees reform as a vehicle to wresting a greater share of the Hispanic vote. If so, this quest is, at best, quixotic. Even at conservatism’s high tide — the Reagan landslides of 1980 and ‘84 — the vanquished Democratic nominees still claimed 56 and 61 percent of the Hispanic vote respectively.

More plausible is that GOP leadership is moving at the behest of moneyed backers in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce set, which views the vast illegal population as a reliable source of cheap labor. But why would Republicans risk their ascendancy by lending further credence to what one pundit calls “the Left’s generations-long charge that the GOP is the party of corporate whoredom”?

So, “stupid”? You be the judge.