So what’s the purpose of this hollow threat? The only explanation I come up with is that it’s a Double Kabuki play: 1) The President gets to posture as the tough guy demanding a deal (or else he’ll unleash his draft!). Meanwhile the Hispanic caucus and the amnesty lobby can gnaw on all the pro-illegal statutory tweaks they would like to see in the “path to citizenship,” etc. But more important 2) Republicans like Rubio and Paul Ryan get to posture by denouncing the President’s draft (Rubio: “Dead on Arrival” Ryan: “the wrong direction”) thereby earning themselves seeming-tough-on-illegals street cred that might serve them well when they sell out by endorsing an instant-legalization compromise (as, in fact, Rubio has already done).
That would not only explain why the plan exists but why it was leaked by “an Obama administration official” to USA Today. Obama wants to give Rubio and Ryan the opportunity to look like they are fighting him. But it’s a fake fight.
Got a better explanation?
Actually I think Kaus is correct in his own paranoid way. I agree that the plan was leaked to USA Today in order to give Republicans something to publicly beat up on for a while, but the reality is immigration has to pass, or the GOP will take the blame for killing it, and that means the Dems will continue to get the vast majority of the growing Latino vote forever. Dubya may have been a meathead, but even he was smart enough to listen to Rove and Cheney on this. The problem is that he underestimated the bigoted monster he helped to create, and it turned on him.
That monster still rampages around the Republican countryside, and the last few Republicans left to be motivated by enlightened self-interest are trying to slay it.
I think it will fail. The Republican Party is a hate group in 2013, period. They will have to be reconstituted at some point in the future, but they are effectively done right now.