06.26.13 6:09 PM ET
And Back to Immigration
The Senate today passed the border security amendment 69-29. Again that sounds like a resounding victory. But again, it might not be.
Look at the vote. There are five Republicans in their party's leadership: McConnell of course, and Jon Cornyn, and John Thune, and John Barrasso, and Roy Blunt. Blunt missed the vote. The other four voted no. What kind of signal do you think that sends? Remember--this is their own bill! From two of their own, Bob Corker and John Hoeven.
Now imagine that you are a conservative House member from a conservative district. To the extent that the Senate matters to you, you study the roll call. You notice this. Trust me, this is orchestrated. McConnell is certainly not dumb, whatever else he is. He could have directed two of them to vote aye.
Meanwhile, thinking a little more about the impact of the DOMA ruling on immigration. In theory, it has no impact. The Supreme Court just made the Leahy amendment unnecessary, so there's nothing legislatively for Rubio and McCain and the others to oppose.
But there's something for the right-wing base to oppose--the idea that after this ruling, not only is the United States going to grant "amnesty" to a bunch of illegals, but for God's sakes now gay ones too! My gut tells me that this decision potentially ratchets up right-wing base opposition to the bill considerably. Unless I'm really misreading, this might kill the bill off, although the vote could be months from now, after passions on this point have cooled just a little.