I've been saying for a long time, here and on TV and such, to keep an eye on the conservative base as immigration reform begins the march from amorphous idea to legislative reality. I meant that while loads of Republicans were talking nicey-nicey and most pundits judged success to be a near-sure thing, let's just wait and see if the base rises up in opposition.
That hasn't happened yet, but we see signs. Three emerged today. There's a poll out from Quinnipiac showing that support for a path to citizenship has dipped from 59 to 52 percent. The crosstabs don't show exactly where support has dipped, but they do show that more Republicans think undocumented immigrants should "not stay" (42 percent) than should "stay/citizenship" (36 percent).
Number two, Jenny Beth Martin, the big national tea party leader, seems to have come out against the bill, albeit mainly on process objection rather than substantive ones. Now I don't know whether Jenny Beth Martin moves mountains, but if her position is not "just" her but a reflection of a congealing conventional wisdom amongst the tea set, then that could matter.
Number three, The National Review, which once found itself in the business of promoting Marco Rubio's bright future, released its new cover story, called Rubio's Folly. It's not clear that they've released the article, just the cover (which, interestingly, photoshopped out Grover Norquist, who was standing in the background of the original--strange, since Grover is a sellout supporter of a path to citizenship himself).
I also see that Rubio was recently quoted saying that the current version of the Senate bill probably could not pass the House. That's quite an admission. There are 201 Democrats in the House. Assuming Boehner would allow it to come to the floor in the first place, and assuming that virtually all Democrats vote for it (subtract out five or seven just because), then only about 25 Republicans would have to vote for the thing for it to pass. So is Rubio saying that his bill, his baby, his glidepath to the White House, couldn't even get 25 Republican votes in the House? Or is he saying that Boehner wouldn't allow a vote? Either way, he's in some trouble.
If Republicans block immigration reform, then maybe finally the Green-Lantern people will acknowledge that the party is hopeless. I wouldn't say I'm cheering for that outcome, since I'd rather see sane policy be made, but it would be a nice potential silver lining.