Last Thursday, The Hill reported that the House Republicans are putting together some kind of DREAM Act like bill. It is coming directly from Eric Cantor’s office, although his spokeswoman says it is in the early stages of development. There are a few things to say about this—none of them good. First, it probably is just a ruse—nothing but a panicked effort to push back on all the bad press the Republican Party is getting for killing the immigration bill. Second, it is very weak tea—an attempt to do as little as the party possibly can. But I think there is a third option that is far more likely: bait and oppose.
Not surprisingly, The Hill is treating it like it is a real and important proposal. How long can the Republicans continue to be dishonest brokers in Congress before everyone admits what is obvious? The article itself is highly respectful of Cantor’s rhetoric about reaching out to the immigrant community. What’s more, further down in the article, much is made of all the Republicans who discussed the need for something like the DREAM Act during last week’s closed door meeting. What’s more, it reported that there is a “growing recognition” that something needs to be done to deal with the issue.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are treating this reporting like it is the weak tea option:
That’s pretty clear. It isn’t even a proposal. It is just leaked information that indicates that the Republicans have just started working on a proposal. So to say that it is not enough is an enormous understatement.
What I think is really going on is another bait and oppose. We saw this with the years of discussion about healthcare reform. The Democrats wanted real reform (some kind of single payer system) and the Republicans countered with their supposed free market plan. When the Democrats accepted the “free market” plan, the Republicans dropped it like a hot skillet. The same thing is going on here. The Republicans are offering a terrible alternative to comprehensive immigration reform. And if the Democrats are stupid enough to accept the deal, the Republicans will drop it like—Oh, I don’t know: a hot skillet?—and claim that it is, “Amnesty! Amnesty, I tell you!”
Will the Democrats fall for this again? Maybe. After all, despite the cries of socialism providing ten years of Republican gerrymandered success, the Democrats got their “free market” healthcare reform. They might be able to get their DREAM Act too. Of course, if they do, it will go along with militarizing the boarder and other nasty additions—all to get Republicans votes that won’t materialize. It won’t be what the people want, but that’s democracy. Am I right?!