Boehner on Fantasy Island

It’s time for a pop quiz, people! But, don’t start sweating just yet. This one is really easy. I promise.

Comments: 171

  1. "Yes! Everybody got this one right! John Boehner says the House Republicans won’t pass the plan they came up with last week because Barack Obama ruined everything."

    That's right. The Kenyan socialist in the White House is at fault for absolutely everything. Sadly, those who vote for the likes of John of Orange and his merry band of misfits will continue to take the bait they're fed, regardless of what the bait is made of.

    These last five years have been one long Kabuki theater act where the actors dutifully recite their lines, right down to the perfectly intoned "are you kidding me?"

    John Boehner knows what's right and wrong. He knows immigration reform is the right thing to do, but only right up until the moment his speakership is in jeopardy. Boehner wants to end this term as speaker, and by the Kochs and the Tea Party, he will!

  2. Gail, one of your best political satires ever!
    Of course the GOP is afraid of immigration reform, lest they create millions of New Democratic voters.
    They are already a minority party and cling to power by gerrymandering districts and by trying to make it as difficult as possible for poorer citizens to vote.

    Keep it up, GOPers, and wreck the country while you are at it!

  3. Quite the ultra-liberal tantrum! I'm entertained!

  4. Sorry Rima. Boehner has represented the district I live in for many years and he has yet to convince me that he knows much that is right. The copperheads here keep sending this man back year after year and to what purpose? Name one bill that this man has introduced that helped his constituents, many of whom are quite poor. There is no real opposition to him here. The Republican party here is quite divided, a couple of its leading lights are in prison, but the Democrats are non-existent. It is not just Kansas.

  5. Boehner's a big and & but man,
    But hardly a candy and nut man,
    T'was not always thus
    Threw reform 'neath the bus,
    No more Christmas open & shut man.

    The Tea Party simply won't play
    Which Boehner's unable to say,
    Or maybe it's Christie
    Once proudly two fisty,
    If only Fort Lee'd go away!

  6. Larry's an expert at rhyme
    On matters mundane and sublime.
    Congrats to the Times
    For printing his rhymes.
    I can hardly wait for next time!

  7. Trying to portray President Obama as being unreliable seems to me to be a projection of Speaker Boehner's own unreliability to deliver his conference's vote.

  8. Their game plan has always been to project their own weaknesses and failings on others, then blame them for everything.

  9. The conclusion could be drawn that due to the volatile unpredictability of the Republican Party, few voters will know for sure what factions will hold sway after the 2014 elections. So it may be best not to gamble by voting Republican, and stick with Democrats and our esteemed Independents.

  10. Did Harry Reid deliver his conference's vote on the budget for 4 years? Did he deliver his conference's vote on the Dream Act?
    I think you are projecting Obama's inability to do anything legislatively without resorting to threats, innuendos and misinformation. It cuts both ways. Remember that next time

  11. There are deep divisions in the Republican House. Tea Party ideologues who were once welcomed by the old school Republicans are now shutting down the government, or making outrageously insensitive statements, or killing food stamps and unemployment benefits. At the rate they're going there won't be a man, woman or child in this country who hasn't been insulted, demeaned or hit in the pocketbook by what Republican do, or more often refuse to do. Boehner threw a little fit when Tea Party undermined bipartisan budget negotiations. We got to see in John Boehner a glimpse of the disgust and frustration engendered by conservative partisan zealots that the rest of us have been feeling for years.

    This was ultimately an impotent flash of anger. Since the job of House Republicans is to prevent any legislation from passing that might reflect positively on Mr. Obama, they can't allow a compromise immigration bill see the light of day. Boehner may have tried to signal that reasonable Republican proposal was possible, but he forgot who was really in charge.

    The old school thought they could keep the Tea Party on a leash, and take advantage of the energy they injected into the party while maintaining control over party business. But if you lay down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas, and, in Boehner's case, a pinch collar around your neck.

  12. The Tea Party is nothing more than the money of the Koch brothers used to divide the country with hatred and fear for the purpose of growing even richer and more powerful.

    The crying Speaker has no power. He can only dance to their tune. The Republicans are in a race to the bottom. Just when you think they could not possibly be more hateful and despicable, they manage to not disappoint.

  13. Koch brothers love the mess of lies they funded!

  14. This sounds like sense. Even so, I'd like a multiple choice question about why this abrupt shift happened just now. (I think it's the non-Tea-Partiers on the leash and somebody jerked the chain, but who and why now?)

  15. Well, there is plenty of time to consider impeachment.

    Heck, if the Republicans could impeach Bill Clinton for lying about oral sex while giving shrub a pass for 9-11 and Iraq, why should Obama get away with trying to derail the GOP crazy train?

  16. Biden and Clinton voted to go to Iraq and the last 2 years of Bush's presidency Democrats had both chambers which means they wrote the funding bills for the war did they not? And did they not do this for the first 2 years of Obama's presidency? Why yes they did!
    Clinton lied to Congress and was guilty of perjury. He lost his law license and was fined $800,000. But you knew that. Do innocent uaccept this punishmemt
    I had no idea you were a conspiracy theorist. Let me know when you get facts and not hyperbole.
    We should have impeached Johnson for going to war in Vietnam. You know the attack on the USS Maddox that never happened. Would you please comment?

  17. LBJ should have been impeached. The reasons for the war were based on lies. The fact that some Democrats fell for those lies does not make them, or the Republicans, guilty of anything other than gullibility and/or not wanting to be accused of being soft on terrorism at a time when the country had just undergone attack.

    Clinton should have been censured, not impeached. His actions did not result in death, debt, or injury to anyone except his reputation.

    W should have been impeached as well.

    The facts well known. Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11.

    Without 9-11, there is no invasion of Iraq. The rationale for invading Iraq was based on trumped-up intelligence.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist.

  18. Great catch on this lie. But don't just catch him lie by lie. Show the pattern, what he is, label him. Destroy his credibility, not just one lie.

    The only thing that works is going after liars. It is impossible to whack-a-mole on every lie. They get too far before the truth starts, and there are too many of them.

  19. Indeed, spokespersons of a party that has a policy of usurping power by using lies, fear, hatred and racism cannot be treated as individuals who have made a mistake when their lie is revealed. It is important to identify the strategy, it's goal, and the group that fosters deception for the purpose of subverting our democracy.

  20. Immigrants have been the target of those who think they have something to lose by allowing others to come here with or without some kind of permission from some authority.

    the current crop of immigrant bashers, want that authority to be the most restrictive we have ever had. When we look at who are the targets, it is primarily those from countries to the south, not Europeans who are here without documents.

    It is people who come here to take the lowest paying hardest jobs available, because it pays better than where they come from. They are willing to work under conditions that very few others are willing to.

    In past times their enmity was directed at the Irish, the Italians, the Eastern Europeans, the Jews, the Chinese, and Japanese. people who came here worked hard and eventually contributed to the well being of the country.
    It is a psychology of "Nativism" that is the force behind these movements, the beliefs that these people are taking "American jobs" they are getting unearned benefits, they are not good citizen material.

    There is a belief that farmers can pay better and get Americans to travel the country working the crops, for maybe eight months a year, with no idea how the crops are priced or sold.

    We do not see unemployed Americans lined up at the slaughter houses, or chicken processing plants either.
    The GOP panders to the jealousies and prejudices of their vassals, despite the human cost.

    Now we have a fence that is worse than the Berlin wall.

  21. Slaughter houses have always been dangerous jobs but under Trickle Down Voodoo Economics they're much worse than the days of Sinclair Lewis. Mother Jones had an expose a while back about the practices of one company that used high pressure hoses to wash out the heads of slaughtered pigs where the immigrants who manned those hoses became ill within a few weeks. The company's solution was to hire more illegal immigrants.

    In the South the poor sharecropper has been displaced by a influx of immigrants as well. One of my relatives cited newspaper articles that claimed mayors were bussing illegals in. Chances are that chicken you're getting was plucked and gutted by a wage slave.

    I witnessed warehouse wage slaves from Tennessee who worked at huge operations just over the border in Mississippi. Corker, Alexander, and the other Tennessee republicans all complained about the "law breaking illegals" but they're not doing anything to stop them from taking these jobs. They do support the harassment, jailing, impounding their cars, and fining them though. There wasn't anything they wouldn't do to keep them from standing up and asking for fairness. Suppressing votes is a reflex action by republicans, and I don't mean illegal's votes.

    The undocumented have only one strategy to survive under these conditions, they live crowded together at triple the capacity (and exorbitant rents) and they commute to work in numbers as well. Solidarity is strength.

  22. D.U., do you realize how strongly anti-worker this makes you sound? Obviously you don't know people whose jobs in the construction or food-processing industries have been taken by sneak-ins willing to serve as modern-day slaves.

    Political hatred and fear is no way to go through life. Reading comprehension.

  23. One of the pleasures of reading comments at this hour (8:18 in Sweden, 2:16 AM in New York) on mainliners like Gail C. is that my day is simplified.

    Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Rima, David, and Mark always and then four other Verifieds) say all that needs to be said and say it so well all I need write a reply.

    Today to David since from his vantage point in California he knows more about immigrant workers than any Repub or Tea will ever know.

    Thanks everybody.

  24. “Listen, there’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” he told a press conference. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

    Boehner and the rest of the Republicans just make up this kind of garbage. Until the press starts holding the Republicans' feet to the fire and calling out lies, and by all means they should do the same to the Democrats, nothing is going to change.

  25. Republican contributors and funders own media. So chances are slim for any change or truth telling.

  26. Yes, the press has an obligation to challenge rather than repeat statements by politicians, scientists, and pundits. It has failed.

  27. Just imagine how Walter Cronkite would have reacted to Boehner's statement.

  28. "Listen, there’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,”

    Now I understand the great GOP rationale. Obviously if the Administration is not going to enforce our laws, what's the point in passing any laws? Boehner had just turned our democracy on its head.

  29. Boehner's motive is to keep his job. To do that he has to appease the right wing. That segment is filled with people with the following mindset: This is a (white) Christian country where we speak English; the culture is "our" culture, by which they mean the culture of the right wing because there is no real "our" in terms of culture (think of the differences between the deep south and Vermont). They will tolerate others coming here as long as they take on "our" ways. Non-whites may be welcome, but not too many, and God knows they should never be in charge of "us" or run the place.

    Non-Christians, i.e., Jews, Buddhists etc., are welcome, but only if they understand that Christian holidays, ways, prayers etc., must dominate the culture. Muslims are not welcome at all because they are all considered radical American-hating frauds (Islam is not, in the thinking of the right-wing, a religion at all, but a political movement intent on killing or dominating "us" all.

    Further, to the right wing, there is a crisis so that they need to take back "our" country from liberals, non-whites, and Muslims who have infiltrated the place. They do not see anyone who is not part of their group has having any right to call him/herself an American.

  30. Yes, there's a crisis all right, the sky is falling and the wolf is at the door. You'd think they'd get tired after years and years on red alert, Defcon 5 and screaming at the top of their lungs "emergency! emergency! everybody to get from street!". Most 5 year olds wear out from a prolonged tantrum, but not these guys.

  31. Pressing Speaker Boehner on much of anything thing is liable to make the man cry, because you are wasting his valuable time when he could be kissing the buts of his patrons. What this nation needs is aggressive leadership to carry out the will of the American people rather than protecting entitlements a few ultra rich people that they talk to all the time in constant fund-raising jobs. 97 hours is there time off from the real work of Representatives - raising campaign funds.

  32. Mr Boehner said that President Obama needs to regain the trust of the republicans. I've been chuckling all day over that one.

  33. If Boehner is voted off the island by extremists, who would replace him ? Despite years in Washington, he is unable to broker reasonable compromises. D.C. is chock full of nuts wrecking the House, pulling Congress down, leaving a dusty mound of collapsed debris. The obliteration of Federal power.

    Russian Oligarchs are looking good in comparison. They might say nyet to the wrecking crews.

    We shudder to think that Boehner may be the best of the bunch; with zero influence and no means to curtail obstructionists and blatant crazies.

    Worse yet, we appear to be stuck with Boehner. At least for another year or two.

    Not a pleasant fantasy on any island.

  34. What happened to that JOBS, JOBS, JOBS that all these House republicans ran on in 2010????? And they still are saying it. Why do so many people keep VOTING, VOTING for these people? Boehner, where are those JOBS? Come on dems, get your act together. A lot of us recognized the pandering in the 80's, Reagan set the bar. You used to be better, get out of the gutter the gop drug you into.

  35. John Boehner may not be the sharpest knife in the Republican drawer, but he is the most prolific guy they have for making excuses. He also is a funny guy, and could probably make a second career as a stand-up comic.

    “Well, we got a lot of things on our plate.” For those not familiar with Washington humor, this is short-hand for working on the following tasks: repealing the Affordable Care Act, cutting taxes on "job creators", reducing tariffs to promote "free trade", reducing the minimum wage, deregulating finance, killing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and lastly, making excuses for not raising the debt ceiling.

  36. Cassandra....what cup of tea leaves did you augur this retort from?

    It clearly wasn't the Tea Party's tea.

  37. I don't know about Boehner's candy, but I sure get the point about Collins' nuts and her Fantasy Island column today.

    When you haul this much baloney across column after column, Gail, you too must have calves the size of cantaloupes.

    Or, another dog in your belfry.

  38. Woebegoner - You are joking, aren't you? Though you're nothing like as amusing as Garrison.

  39. The problem of Xenophobia seems to never go away. It just changes with each new immigration wave that arrives to America The Beautiful. My own Irish ancestors were demonized and shunned by the xenophobes of the 1800's. And my same Irish ancestors then well established probably did the same to browner skinned immigrants of Italian or Middle Eastern descent 50 years later.

    All of our population with the exception of Native Americans came here from somewhere else with hopes and dreams for their future generations. That is what America does in theory, it embraces all nationalities. The stark reality is it takes awhile for the all ready haves to except the new comers.

    It should be noted that some of the Latino heritage peoples of the Mexican borders states have ancestors that came to this land long before most of the lighter skinned Northern Europeans, before the gringos stole that land from Mexico.

  40. The people who were already here when Columbus washed up well short of China were descended from ancestors who had walked across a land bridge between North America and Asia under the present Bering Strait, when sea levels were lower during the last ice age.

    So, the record of new waves of immigrants numerically overwhelming the older ones is pretty much unbroken in the US.

  41. Republicans came up with a series of principles for reform during a group retreat. Principles that, Boehner said, “our members by and large support, put together by the leadership team. And they believe it.”

    According to the other lead story on today's Times, the recalcitrance expressed at that retreat came directly from the donor class, the conservative think tanks and PACs driven by the Koch brothers and others. In keeping with their political enslavement to their Tea Party funders, the far right U-turns yet again and Mr. Boehner caves.

    Immigration reform, like modest gun control legislation, are things the public overwhelmingly says it wants. Even the parties "claim" to want it. But the real power in this country--the PACs--don't.

    So money talks, once again. And our unelected donor class holds sway over the entire nation, of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

  42. The public overwhelmingly does not want illegal immigration reform which is why it hasn't passed for the last decade

  43. If the president can't be trusted to enforce immigration laws, that means (according to the Speaker's "logic") that immigration reform is dead until Barack Obama leaves office. Which means that Republicans will be blamed and that they'll pay the price, once again, in the elections of 2016. The changing demographics of this country make this a certainty.

    The polite way of describing the GOP's dilemma is to say its political strategy is confused. But really, it's a party that is totally lacking leadership and is basically out of control.

  44. Boehner and the Republicans have a problem with facts. They refuse to accept the fact that the current administration has done more to secure the border in 4 years than Bush did in 8.

  45. Isn't that the definition of a Republican? Someone who refuses to accept facts.

  46. Have we forgotten the widely unpublicized fact that Boehner's oldest daughter married a Jamaican Rasta construction worker in Florida during the 2013 Congressional spring break?

    Like many Republicans, family principles and relations, even vices and personal experiences, don't get in the way of the lauded ideals of their politics--their firm resolution to punish every law breaking (non-Republican!) family who worked, paid taxes, spent money, provided services, and took dead-end jobs for low wages; now pilloried as criminals without virtues.

    Ask Alabama's farmers if they agree; they lost a crop in the fields last year, after Alabama's legislature passed draconian restrictions on undocumented workers, and could find no American workers to replace them.

    The Speaker is a corporate tool whose mantra is blame Obama. The sad irony is Obama has displayed the most rigorous enforcement of migration of any American president, resulting in zero-net gains and is known by advocacy groups as "the deporter-in-chief."

    Boehner's canard hides behind a smoke screen that Democrats don't won't to identify; Obama's efficiency to stopping undocumented entry, but it reveals his own absolute, dismal indifference to the issue as national policy--and by proxy to him--the indifference of corporations to reforming immigration, except to expand visas for educated foreign workers--which the Boehner-led house passed in 2012, expanding visa admissions by 55,000 to graduates of US schools.

  47. Mr. Rhett, there are two main reasons that American farmers have difficulty finding workers to replace immigrants. The first is pay. The profit structure of American farms is based on low cost labor and industrialized harvesting of crops. Ten dollars an hour is not enough to support a family, even in a rural area, even if more than one person in the family works. The low wages on farms reflect the lower wages paid generally in rural areas, so it is not likely that one worker in the family can do other work and make up the difference in pay scales. At 20 dollars an hour, there would be many more workers available. At 40, farmers would have people swarming their fields seeking employment. Farm wages have always been low and they haven't kept up with inflation, even marginally.

    The other main reason farmers can't get enough people at harvest time is that the rural zones have been hollowed out of population. With mechanized harvesting and planting, many fewer people are needed. With big commercial farming, people don't commonly live on small farms any more. The America ideal of the small farm supporting a family has been ground into the dust.

    Farming is a business. When any business faces problems, it has to find ways to adjust to new conditions. American agriculture is very inventive, scientifically oriented and changing all the time, except in the area of wages paid to workers. Then, the managers complain that "Americans don't want to do this work".

  48. Alabama's action to scare the undocumented from going to work seemed to me to be a cynical ploy to use the issue of the undocumented as a means to put the small family farmer out of business. The only people who could profit off of this action are people & corporations with enough money to come in and buy up those farms. The shock on the faces of the small farmers who could not harvest their fields was astonishing to see - they had been staunch conservatives long before this happened so getting stabbed in the back was new to them. Welcome to the neocon world.

    Corporate farms would get whatever they wanted out politicians like that so when they stepped in the legislature would allow them to get as many of the undocumented as they needed, and they wouldn't even have to treat them like human beings.

    The police in Alabama arrested several people without the documents to prove they were there legally that Fall, a couple of German and Japanese industrialists taking advantage of Alabama's weak labor laws and low wages.

  49. John Boehner is a reasonable man, and the great gift of being a reasonable man is that no matter what one does, one can always procure reasons of support.

    In this case a media flood of talking heads, auto-calls, tweets, Facebook posts, and even snail post all financed by the abused and discriminated against super rich WASPs who fear the onslaught of non-members - a sad repete of the rise of Nationalism we saw in the 1930s.

  50. There are days I really want the President to say, "Okay, John, have it your way. Gimme the plans and I send 'em through Congress."

    This has dual purpose:
    1) We, the People might actually get to see "the plans" that the GOP keeps telling us are gonna save the country.
    2) The GOP will get a change to put their "plans" into action and will finally _have_ to save the country.

    Sure, a few people might starve, freeze to death, or die from simple strep infections, but what's that when compared to the millions of Americans who will be "saved" by GOP healthcare and job creation.

    The GOP really shouldn't be hiding behind all that savior talk when all they really wanna do is see the working class become so desperate for food that they'll take any job at any wage.

    Time to put up or just shut up, fellas.

    On second thought, just shutting up would probably be best.

  51. This newspaper admits that ten million Americans are out of work.

    Why are we now pushing to add millions of low skilled foreigners to our society? Why are the Dems so ready to throw our own unemployed locals under the bus to pander to the Hispanic lobby? Why are there no calls for Mexican leaders to give their own residents a better life? Why is we only Americans who are being completely ordered to hand our job market and access to our welfare state to foreigners who deliberately broke our laws?


    And if one were going to talk rationality on immigration laws shouldn't that be about logic? Shouldn't be about who can make this country a better place? Who can create jobs? Who speaks our language, obeys our laws and has the education we need? Why instead is it all about what unskilled Latinos want for other Latinos on the basis of race and the belief that dragging a child here gives them complete right to break our laws?

    How is this fair? How is rational?

    What kind of nation is expected to demand that locals make sacrifices so that foreigners can have better lives for themselves? When can we have a rational discussion on this issue? Instead all we get are Times editorialists insisting that any one who dares argues against amnesty is a racist and posters with delusions about their relatives and an inability to understand this is not 1880 anymore.

    Why are the concerns of the vast majority of Americans simply shoved aside?

  52. Immigrants grow the economy. They always have. Many start small businesses that hire both immigrants and the rest of us, and which provide services and flow of money to other businesses in the community. This idea that an economy is a zero sum game has been refuted by study after study. If you want more jobs, a thriving economy and higher wages, let the immigrants come out of the shadows and become full participants in creating More wealth in America.

  53. Why is it that immigrants are hired or are starting businesses? Answer that and you will have the answers to all your questions (other than your request to have a rational discussion).

  54. I always pictured John Boehner on Jones Beach among the hypodermic needles, in a speedo with black knee-socks and wing-tips, explaining to anyone he could button-hole WHY "Boehner" should be pronounced "Bayner". Yes, I know ... it's weird.

    There was a time when the House looked as if it would propose reforming immigration piecemeal, focusing first on the least controversial fixes. But, then, the president intensified his "le roi, c'est moi" attitude and began making ObamaLaw all by his lonesome. The House concluded that any immigration legislation that was passed would be enforced in whatever manner he thought proper, and not as it was written.

    That's the problem with enforcing only the laws you like. Laws are the results of compromises, and they need to be enforced fully, or one side or the other feels cheated in the compromise ... and stops compromising. This is known as "the whole system falling apart".

    By way of illustration, he unilaterally granted temporary status to illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children without involving Congress (a result I applaud, but others don't), he's made multiple unilateral changes to law related to ObamaCare to suit himself, and refused to enforce laws that regulated marriage.

    So, look not to Fantasy Island for the loss of desperately-needed immigration reform: look to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, and the loss of trust that a U.S. president will enforce the nation's laws ... unless, of course, he happens to agree with them.

  55. Republicans have used this rhetorical ploy so often one would think the public would immediately see through it. I mean the scenario where they fail to do something vital for completely venal, partisan reasons, and then, completely out of the blue and with no justification, blame President Obama. It works with their base because neither Republican leaders or their supporters care about the facts or the truth those facts demonstrate. It is shameless behavior, but then Republicans appear to have lost all sense of shame in their drive to cement their raw power.

    The true shame is that in their drive to "win" they hurt people--usually the most vulnerable who have no way to defend themselves. Undocumented immigrants are in the crosshairs and they don't vote so who cares about their welfare?

    Certainly not the Republicans.

  56. Why is it that Republicans are so evil whenSenAte Democrats voted down extending unemployment benefits
    If liberals mock Boehner do they do the same with Obama and his pathetic comment about Special Olympics. Where is your condemnation? Where is your sarcasm about Biden's comment about what you find working in a convenience store. Why don't you decry his comment? Liberals excuse it by saying "it's just Joe being Joe". I see. When liberals have an opportunity to drill a conservative the Gail Collins go to work in another methodical character assassination but when a conservative says anything about Obama or any liberal we are racists, extremists,homophobes

    Somehow liberals embraced the misguided belief that they set the narrative and they, and only they can say anything about a conservative and we'll just accept it. Guess again. Mocking Boehmer, Cruz, Rand Paul or anyone just emboldens you but it doesn't change the fact that the ACA is a disaster and this column is nothing more than vainly trying to take the focus off the ACA but with each new revelation, each new delay is just a reminder that most people don't want it. The midterm elections will show that disdain and a repudiation of Obama'ps policies. Can't wait to read the vile comments I will. Make them good!

  57. The old GOP nabobs who were mainly the defenders of big and medium businesses thought they could manipulate the Tea Party types to do their bidding by letting them vent and some token gestures. After all they had be doing that for years with the Christian fundamentalists and Southern racists.
    This is reminiscent of the German industrialists illusions in the early 1930's with controlling the Nazi party while giving away the store. Admittedly the Tea Party is nowhere near the Nazis in ideology and the use of violence but they show the same contempt for opponents and any hint of compromise. They are convinced of the rightness of their cause without even knowing what their cause is beyond opposing the Federal government and Obama in particular. Until Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership lose their fear of those funded by the Koch brothers and their ilk it will remain a party incapable of any responsible statesmanship.

  58. Forty years on the border have made me an advocate of y'all come immigration. Believe it or not, the number of people wanting to come here is finite. And those that do come dream of going home some day. Meanwhile, they'd welcome the ability to come and go without being hassled by the migra. And the migra (by whom I mean the agents on the ground, not their office-bound superiors) would be happy to inspect and welcome well intended newcomers at the ports of entry. And this would make it a given that whoever tried to circumvent the checkpoints via the river or the desert was up to no good. The migra is more than well equipped to deal with such lawbreakers. If you really want border security, y'all come immigration is the way to get it.

    They won't come out and say so in public, but what most worries the opponents of immigration reform and the so-called path to citizenship whom I have met is, to be blunt, too many Mexicans and the rise of Spanish as this country's de facto second language. My reply to their qualms is a remark made long ago by a quite conservative U.S. ambassador to Mexico. The relationship between Mexico and the United States, he said, is like a marriage with no possibility of divorce. It's time to get real. The America of Norman Rockwell and Howard Johnson is long gone, and it isn't coming back. But we have the opportunity to build a much better, polychromatic and more inclusive America if we'd only try.

  59. There is a key admission in your comment that touches on the difference between today's immigrants and those who came from the early 20th century and earlier: the desire to go back. When the original immigrants came to America, they knew they were cutting all ties to their homelands. They knew they would likely never return. This forced them to adapt completely to the United States as their new home and their children usually felt little in the way of ties to their parents country of origin.

    With ease of travel and increased prosperity, people can come to the US and NOT think of it as their permanent home. Therefore, adapting the language, customs and habits here is less important, which can create problems if the number of temporary residents is large enough. Further, it can leave their children feeling like residents of new nations and two cultures: take your pick, which one do you like best? This is not a social problem at the onset, but it can become part of one over time.

    My only point in summation is that we have to be aware of the potentials that are being created and manage the situation as carefully and wisely as we can.

  60. True, before enforcement was intensified, many Mexicans came and then left again voluntarily; because of stricter enforcement, they now tend to stay. If you're not Asian and your ancestors came before 1920, it was almost impossible for them to come illegally because immigration was virtually unrestricted (unless you were, say, an anarchist or a prostitute). And around 1900, about 20 states allow immigrants to vote before they were even naturalized.
    People pontificating about their lawful immigrant ancestors are unaware of how generous U.S. immigration policy was until ca. 1920. True, the industrial jobs they were filling have shrunk, but agridultural needs haven't changed and basic service jobs have expended. And Upton Sinclair's "Jungle" jobs in meatpacking and poultry processing have simply migrated from Chicago to smaller towns across the Midwest and South.

  61. "But it’s sad. The immigration bill that was passed by the Senate last year would have done a lot of good, both in giving millions of undocumented residents a better life and in rationalizing the way we decide who gets to come here legally and who doesn’t."

    The immigration bill is not just a single piece of good legislation that is being held hostage by Mr. Boehner's party. A decisive loss in the mid-term elections would do a lot to cure Republicans of their delusions. But that is probably not going to happen this year. We will wait.

  62. Led by the extreme right wing of the party, the Republicans are again self selecting to be on the wrong side of history. They won't give President Obama a win in his already pale agenda, even if it works on their own political benefits. Republicans expect that stalling immigration reform will boost their chances to win over the Senate next November, but this bad decision will prove to be costly in both the House and the Senate.

  63. We can only hope. This batch of Republicans has my Republican ancestors spinning in their graves (and the gyroscopic effect of that may be the only thing stabilizing us).

  64. The Republicans are telling the coming majority to stick it. Romney lost even though he won 59 percent of white males. Just a glimpse of the future.

  65. Boehner would like to pass an immigration bill that would make Republicans look more favorable to Latino immigrants than they really are. This might win them a larger share of the Latino vote. But there are now too many prejudiced tea party types in the party who oppose any reform, no matter how weak. To try to pass even a modest bill full of loopholes and no path to citizenship would tear the party apart in an election year. So Boehner falls back on a transparently phony argument that Obama can't be trusted to enforce any law that is passed. What can one expect from the worst Speaker in our history?

  66. Boehner is the weakest Speaker of the House that I have ever seen. His need to blame Pres. Obama only reinforces this.

    He's too weak to even discipline violent Members like Grimm. He allowed a fanatical fringe to shut down the government then complained about it!

    He serves those with money, as evidenced by his own fund raising abilities, but he's unable to function as a high official.

    Boehner could do the US a favor and resign.

  67. Gail,

    but of course, "It's Obama's fault" is as indisputable as Earth began 6,000 years ago! One shouldn't be surprised the Coca Cola's "America Is Beautiful" campaign was instigated by President Obama when he met with the corporate chieftains to plant the idea in people's mind that the United States of America is a nation of immigrants!

  68. Boehner blames the right wing of his party but there is only one barrier and that is Boehner himself. Just bring the Senate bill to the floor of the House and let the House vote. Let our elected representatives vote.

  69. "A sizable chunk of Obama’s own base is furious over the all-time high rate of deportations — nearly two million so far in his tenure and way ahead of the record of George W. Bush. The government now automatically goes through the fingerprints of people who are arrested and sifts out the ones who are here illegally."

    And the Republicans are not happy with this? As a member of the base of Obama support I am extremely unhappy with this policy which breaks up families and destroys any hope for many of those deported. But there is nothing on the President's agenda with which the Republicans could ever agree with unless it involved bombing Iran into dust. And that won't happen. Sorry.

  70. Nonprofit organizations ask me to write/call my representatives on environmental and hunger issues. My Republican representatives have no intention of promoting anything I request. For five years the Republican Party has offered nothing positive and even caused some chaos. I suspect they hope in another 3 years to gain control of all three houses (or is it four with the Court?) and then further the empowerment of the plutocracy. Personally, I don't believe even with the huge sums of money and voter registration requirements and other avenues used they will obtain the win sought. But, until another three years pass, i don't see any significant legislation coming from D.C. Call it pessimistic or cynical, but Boehner and company seem to believe time is on their side. They will wait for more power to implement their disastrous plans. While writing to my legislators is a waste of my precious time, the American people will come to understand the R.P. does not represent, speak for, care about them. And, yes, writing to a few N.Y. Times readers who actually read comments feels much better than writing to my legislators.

  71. We are having an election this year. It is important to remember that we can vote the repubs out within a year if we want to.

  72. After the right wing's reaction to Coca Cola's multi-lingual version of "America, the Beautiful" (essentially, "Carbonated beverages that touch lips of non-English speakers will never touch mine") what choice did Boehner have?

  73. What a surprise that Obama ruined everything! It is even questionable if the Kenyan socialist even went to Harvard, leave alone be the editor of the HLR. There is only one reason why Obama is the root cause of all evil in the eyes of Republicans, and I'll let you guess what it is.

  74. We owe two things to Gail:
    She has demonstrated for readers what political obsession looks like with her house-of-mirrors fantasies about her political enemies. What a way to make a living!
    More importantly, she is laying such a groundwork for the removal of a sitting governor that it can be used soon to facilitate the removal of a sitting president. Now, THAT''s cooler than 200 games of golf!

  75. This proves that there is no principle behind modern conservatism. It has degenerated into a bad attitude. The admission that no matter what Obama proposes they personally dislike ( do not trust ) him so much they will vote for nothing. This is an abdication of democracy. To personalize Presdential authority into a petty feud is bottom dwelling at its worst. Any increase of disgust for Obama that exceeeds disgust for Clinton, it isa racism as both are hard core centrists

  76. Pathetic just pathetic. The repubs will undertake no legislation of virtually any kind solely because of potential challenges from their right. Let's be clear: the incumbent's sole function as a congressman is to retain one's seat. This is the current state of congress- they might as well adjorn and go into permanent campaign mode.

  77. It is all about Texas. Undocumented workers underpin their economy. As long as they fear the INS they will hold down wages while propping up productivity. All without using state services or affecting the vote.

    Democrats have California and New York. Republicans must hold Texas.

    And texans love their braceros, even if they have to be smuggled, hidden and overlooked.

    Republicans will never pass substantive reform. Things are just right as they are.

  78. Given my strong support of the President and the Democratic party, I am no fan of Boehner.
    However he has grasped the essential factor underlying the issue of illegal immigration, and that is that the majority of the electorate is opposed to illegal immigration.
    Boehner is playing the issue like a fine violin and knows what he is about - at least on this one.

    Take note:

    I have expressed my own opposition to illegal immigration many times in this forum and the last time I did so (Jan. 31 - Editorial titled "Fixing Immigration, In Principle") my comment was #4 under Readers' Picks.
    The 3 before mine and a number after expressed in a variety of ways opposition to illegal immigration as well.

    Those of you who belabor this issue should make an effort to get up to speed on this troublesome issue and get your ears to the proverbial ground.

    As a strong supporter of President Obama, his political party, and all his policies and programs; I also support his ongoing efforts to deport any and all illegal immigrants - whoever they may be and from wherever they may come via whatever route.

    What is it about the word "ILLEGAL" that escapes the attention of an indeterminate number of persons.
    Everyone I know, in both political parties on both coasts of this nation, are of a like mind on this issue.

    Given the 1500 character restriction, I will provide my earlier comment in a separate Comment.

  79. Yeah! And besides, a lot of them don't look like us so they must really be illegal, soon-to-be-criminals in the normal sense of the word, like those operating illegally at the NSA, recording all our electronic communications.

  80. The Republicans think they will win the Senate in 2014. People in this country are not stupid. The Republicans can already write off the women's vote. Because of the harsh voting restrictions they will once again, as in 2012, suffer a backlash from minorities. Hispanics are not going to wait around while Republicans dither on immigration. So that guarantees that at least three groups who are going to reject them. The Republican party is a suicide party. But what gets me is that they won't enact legislation because our "lawless" president can't be trust to carry out this country's laws. Boehner should be removed as speaker. He is only serving the interests of the right wing. He should ask himself a quesiton: is the job worth it? Obviously he thinks so

  81. It matters not, Obama is a middle of the road republican, and a very ineffective president. The elephant in the room is manufacturing jobs, and neither of those stellar statesman even understand that.

    It's all window dressing, nothing more. Theater. Nothing happens, which is exactly what they want.

    The only way we fix our problem is with laws that level the imported goods playing field. Look at Bosnia. No jobs no peace. How far are we from that and what will trigger it? It is a safe bet the multinationals who really run this country won't give up without a fight.

  82. I don’t understand why Americans exert so much pressure on the EU to have Turkey join it, and why they don’t see that their immigration problems would disappear the moment Mexico would become part of the United States.

  83. What a motley crew we have in Washington. They are there to govern, right? They simply play politics to the nth degree and concerns themselves solely with saving their collective butts. Perhaps they need a reawakening, and a commitment to doing their jobs or facing the consequences the rest of us do....termination.

  84. It's all because of Obamacare. If it weren't for Obamacare everything in America would be perfect. There'd be no more crime. No more unemployment. No more problems. The Republican Party left pathetic behind a long time ago. They're not even on Fantasy Island. They're through the looking glass. And they won't be coming out any time soon.

  85. It's getting close to the time we must all form local and regional "Vote the Rascals Out" movements. Every Republican rally, cook out, and speech should be vigorously and lawfully challenged in the next election.

  86. Thanks, Gail. Nothing like a few facts to illuminate the Party of Cynicism's latest strategy. When Boehner alleged "widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws”, I wondered at the words "widespread" and "our." I knew the first was a lie because I'd never heard it, and I follow our public discourse pretty closely. About "our" I wondered, to whom and about what could he be referring? Certainly not to immigration laws, as you have proven here. This must be the POC's attempt to rebut the President's decision to work around this dysfunctional Congress, and Mitch McConnell, the self-proclaimed "father of gridlock". So now the POC wants to pit the Congress against the Presidency, by saying they won't pass laws until they are persuaded the President will enforce them? Honestly, isn't that rhetorical strategy evidence not only of cynicism, but also of stupidity?

  87. Oh, yes. And, those deported were not US citizens so they could not vote anyway.
    I think the Brits have a saying about a monkey and a monkey puzzle tree that puts this in good perspective. (there is such a tree, look it up)

  88. Speaker Boehner has said that there would be an immigration bill this session of the Congress. Until the House left for the December recess, it seemed likely that enough House Republicans would vote for a bill like the Senate passed in June 2013 to ensure its passage in the House.

    But anti-immigration and anti-Speaker lobbyists (fill in your favorite name here) have caused the Speaker to cave on this. He came up with the "can't trust the President" line to excuse his failure to put the bill up for a vote. But really it's the incredible recent lobbying effort of the usual lobbying groups that caused him to turn tail and run.

    Boehner has again invoked the Hastert rule, which says that the Speaker will not put a bill before the House for a vote unless a majority of House Republicans favor it. No matter that deprives the Democrats of any vote on the bill, even if, as may be the case here, there are enough Republican votes in favor of it to ensure that it passes.

    The Senate immigration bill passed by a vote of 68-32. All Democratic and Independent Senators voted for it, as did 14 Republicans. Yet Boehner thinks he can jettison it, just like that.

    See charles M. Blow's excellent column in todays NYTimes on this.

  89. John Boehner's real motivation in dropping immigration reform is the 2014 midterm election, of course. The radical Republican Party needs to fuel its propaganda machine and for that, it needs to activate its base or at least, it cannot offend its base.

    When a large part of the American electorate is outraged by a Coca Cola commercial in which "America the Beautiful" is sung in many languages, one cannot expect the GOP to get behind immigration reform. Not this year when the GOP is making a major play for the Senate. The xenophobic crazies and money win again. (BTW, I do not regard Mr. Boehner as a xenophobic crazy and as an ex-Ohioan, I feel kind of sorry for him.)

  90. I thought the CocoCola ad demonstrated how the US was formed--from people of many nations and backgrounds and racial groups.
    I was not able to pick out all of the languages used, but I hope some of them included those of the native nations of the US prior to arrival of Europeans and of the languages used by those brought here as slaves who formed the base for the Black community after passage of the Emacipation Proclamation.

  91. Face it, folks, the Republicans simply want to block anything President Obama wants. Some call it racism, conscious or subconscious, but it strikes many as strange that the Republicans are busily trying to block anything that President Obama (and common sense) wants.

    Remember this when the polls open in November. It requires you get off your duff and get to the polls…that is if the Republicans haven't eliminated your access to a voting booth.

  92. For all of the foolishness which emerges from the Speaker's lips, I must admit I heaved a sigh of relief when he threw Immigration Reform over the railing. Not that I don't feel that reform is needed, but I certainly do not think our Congress is up to the task, mentally or morally. If you doubt my words, just examine what the Congress accomplished the last time they reformed immigration during the Reagan era. Reform will require better minds and greater skills than currently reside in the halls of Congress.

  93. The Speaker's deliberately passive language is a feature of political syntax meant to imply more than conceal his personal views--- "...there's widespread doubt...". Since the agenda of complete obstructionism has never been outside Speaker Boehner's purview, what other forces are at work here? Complicity in racism without having to endorse it. Shall we look at the wall that has been raised to block immigration reform in ways beyond even the budget deal or even the obnoxious farm bill? Repeating the "lawless" meme directed at this President creates a cover of stand-your-ground mentality for Teaparty nationalist and religious fundamentalists making a far deeper emotional appeal to their base's racist fears of their own impending minority status. This President cast as "lawless" is more than the harbinger of non-white majority rule, he is exemplary of the lazy, untrustworthy brown man who will cheat you out of your money and have you pay his bills. All illegals must be kept from everything truly American. The vested interests of 1%Support is similarly transparent: their plutocratic power is demonstrable control of the nation's politics; they guarantee their authority by creating a strife that divides us by race instead of by class. The southern landholders of Reconstruction understood well: if the poor and middle class rally in rejection of racist agendas, the rich will have more to fear than fear itself. So the rally call is "lawless" and race the easy bait.

  94. "The government now spends more on enforcing immigration laws than it spends on the F.B.I., Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives combined."

    All this effort to catch some poor mexican who is trying to support his family after NAFTA destroyed his income. Outrageous!

  95. As has been pointed out at least a couple of other places in today's paper, the reason Boehner won't pass any immigration bill this year is that it would cost him his job as Speaker. That raises the question, Why would he want his job?

    Can't he go home to Ohio and run the family bar? A publican is truly a public servant, something that he can only occasionally claim during his tenure as Speaker of the House.


  96. Gail, even your superb writing and ever spot on wit and irony can't remove the
    bittersweet flavor that accompanies this piece. The Republicans may have something in the strategy to repeat, to repeat, to repeat the lies and obstruction. I for one, am so weary of this nonsense, so disenchanted, so disgusted.

  97. The speaker and all other Republicans say they don't trust the president.
    This week it became clear that Republicans don't trust those immigrants, mostly from Mexico or other Latin countries, if given the chance to be citizens eventually would be worthy of such a status.

    Have you noticed a pattern here? Republicans don't trust those whose skin is not the same color as theirs.

    The pattern continues since they've indicated that they would choose to remove an untrustworthy speaker, who has an orange color skin.

  98. "Widespread belief" is a function of successful propaganda campaigns. So Mr. Boehner is lead being lead by the nose by propaganda and lobbyist Although he and his staff should surely be able to construct the facts, why oh why does he not bring those facts to his podium? Does he not realize the buffoon this makes him appear?

  99. Hilarious. Well done, Gail. The answer to your last question, in my opinion, is that the real motive the speaker dropped immigration reform is because the GOP just doesn't want anybody who doesn't look like them coming in. All the black and latino GOP officials are basically just window dressing.

  100. This is not the first time that Boehner has denounced his own plan and blamed Obama. It will not be the last. I suspect that there lingers a thread of decency in this fraud. I suspect that when a rational, reasonable, positive compromise can be fashioned, Boehner holds on to the belief that his party will support it. I suspect that despite compelling evidence to the contrary, Boehner imagines that his party wants to preserve the Presidency as a credible authority and democracy as a worthy form of government. That is my best consideration of Boehners reversals. He could just be stupid though but who wants to contemplate that?

  101. There are days when it seems more probable than that Boehner really does want to preserve the Presidency and our form of government.
    However, many in his party simply want to trash the US government and the Presidency until they can boot Obama out of office. They tried with Clinton. Do you remember how the French and most of Europe laughed at us? They are trying again with Obama. Fortunately he doesn't seem to stray or drink too much and is a good father.

  102. Chris Christie could avoid a heap of trouble if he just can connect the GWB closure to Obama. I know; during the hug, Obama whispered in his ear and told him to do it, or else.

    Now, on to the Polar Vortex .....

  103. In almost plain English Boehner said that what is thought to be good for the Republican Party trumps what is good for the country. Hopefully the electorate will remember that come November when they decide whom to trust to run the country.

  104. We live in a democracy. Through that democracy we have established an immigration system that is by any standard the most generous in the world. Millions of people, however, have decided that they will not respect the democratic will of the American people and have entered the country illegally or remained illegally after being lawfully admitted. Hundreds of thousands have court orders obligating them to leave that they have decided to ignore. The President has substantially curtailed interior enforcement of immigration law and his position seems to be that so long as an illegal alien does not commit a violent felony he or she may remain indefinitely. Illegal immigration has wrought profound social and economic change in our country in the past 30 years, some good, some bad (as recently as the Clinton administration the Democratic Party opposed illegal immigration as adversely impacting poorer, less well-educated Americans, i.e. the least of our brothers and sisters). None of these changes have been the result of political decisions made by the American people. As Americans, we have the right to establish laws to determine who is and who is not admitted to this country, the right to expect that citizens of other countries will respect our democratic will, and the right to expect that our government will enforce those laws, irrespective of the ever changing calculus of partisan political interest.

  105. Again, not paying attention are we? Most people who are here illegally overstay their visas. Some are brought by their parents. The people who are here working are brought by businesses to work cheaper than we are willing to work. Curb the illegal hiring and you curb the tide of immigration.
    And Obama has done way more to send people back home than any of his predecessors.

  106. If Rand and budget cuts were declared legally nuts, then everyday would be, a Happy Holiday.

  107. Folks, here's investigative journalism at its best, courtesy of Gail:
    "So what do you think John Boehner’s real motive is for dropping immigration reform? Do you think his members are worried that if illegal immigrants get a path to citizenship, they’ll use their franchise to vote Democratic? "

    You think, Gail? You think?

    Thanks for the largest "Duh" of far.

  108. Actually, it would take many years under the Obama plan for the illegal immigrants to be able to vote--for either side.
    Thus, the next 2 general elections will have come and gone before they will be able to vote for anyone.
    Republicans just don't realize the process to become a US citizen is long and requires one to pass certain requirements.

  109. The word "craven" immediately comes to mind when I think of John Boehner. Other words the also apply include "rogue" and "marionette." And then there's Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor . . .

  110. Agreed. It is hard to remain civil when talking about the last three on you list.

  111. The immigration advocates have it wrong. The illegal immigrants are not just violating the law on minor traffic violations. They are here illegally. That is a violation of the law. Period. Violations of minor traffic rules can lead to serious damage to others and their vehicles and often those illegal immigrants have no insurance or driver's license. So that looks like 4 violations, illegal status, no driver's license, no insurance, and the actual traffic violation.

  112. Immigration reform should be headed by American Indians!

  113. Gail hits on a rarely discussed fact. That Obama has deported more illegal entrants than any other president. It shows yet again that one must watch what Obama does and ignore what he says.
    My only quibble with her article is that it hardly seems rational to allow people to come here illegally and then give them legal status. That simply tells people that the best way to immigrate to America is to break the law.

    No a better way to have rational immigration policy is to prosecute all employers of illegal entrants and continue to deport all illegal entrants and then open up our borders to LEGAL immigrants.

    I'm tired of hearing about how difficult life is for people who CHOSE to break the law and come here in 15 articles per day but hear nothing about the millions of displaced American workers who suffer the brunt of our immigration "policy".

    Illegal immigrants are being used by government and Big Business to break the back of American Labor, in conjunction with automation, globalization, and tax policy. I'm sorry hut we must help our citizens before we solve Mexico's problems and we need to stop throwing American Labor under the bus to help illegals.

  114. Baloney. By and large, they do the work that American labor feels it's too good for... where's the competition?

  115. Republican opposition to Obama does make use of racism. However, they would do the same to any Democrat. They did it to Clinton. They'll do it to the next Democrat, no matter who that Democrat may be. The only thing that will change is the "reasons" given, not how Republicans behave.

  116. Obama just happens to be convenient because of his ethnic heritage.
    I do wish many of these republicans would remember that the Civil War is over; the north won and slavery was ended. Then somewhat later Civil Rights legislation was passed and discrimination against minorities and women was officially no longer allowed.
    Obama was properly elected, twice, no shenanegins. That is unlike the first term of GW Bush when he was named president by the US Supreme Court. This was totally against the Constitutional provisions for resolving such issues as contested elections.

  117. Boehner was never going to address immigration, in my opinion. Doing so would set off a wave of Tea Party protest (as the Heritage Foundation and Fox News demonstrated this week), leading to massive primary challenges. In addition, it would place even popular and moderate Republicans squarely in the crosshairs of both Democrats and Republicans in 2014.

    The best that a moderate Republican could do, is what he is doing now: trying to make the case that he is sensitive to immigration, but that his hands are tied. It doesn't matter whether anyone believes it is Obama's fault, because saying so endears him to Heritage and Fox. Problem solved.

    From a strategy perspective, it is fascinating to see how Obama has turned this issue from a serious Democratic liability a few years ago, and -- by means of deportations and militarization of the border -- has turned it into a permanent migraine for Republicans.

  118. The Republicans could have solved many of their own image problems by embracing the Dream Act. Who can argue with protecting people who were brought here without any intent to violate any laws, and who have achieved great things on their own, contributing to our national benefit? But they wanted to toss these innocents in with "drug mules," following Steve King's road to insanity. Then when President Obama did his best to mitigate the injustice to these innocents by completely legal executive order, he was labeled as "lawless."

    Now the Republicans must live with the judgement that they consist of bigoted white males who care nothing about justice or compassion. Even President Reagan knew how important it was to avoid this image. Any American with recent immigrant relatives knows that even if they become U.S. Citizens, Republicans hate them and their families. Given that Republicans seem only to care about garnering votes at any cost, this is self-destructive behavior.

  119. Try as he might, no matter how repressive, mean spirited, militaristic and manipulative Obama has been it seems nothing will satisfy these guys,

  120. Not being able to trust the administration to enforce a new immigration law?? That's rich, the greatest lack of immigration enforcement was the Reagan administration. I don't blame the GOP for dropping it, assuming they do, because it would seriously divide the party prior to an election, and that is the bottom line. Of course they will suffer with some of the minorities, but that matters less in regional elections. Who cares if you lose a seat by a greater margin, when you were destined to lose it anyway?

  121. Now look what Obama's doing. He's causing clever New York Times reporters to write stuff that makes fun of the Speaker. I tell you, Mr. Boehner's struggle seems to never let up.

  122. Some Republican leaders talk about the need for a big tent for the party. Some advocate an immigration policy to gain the support of Asian and Hispanic citizens. This is a dream and will not happen.

    White supremacists among southern social conservatives and among northern white working class are a powerful element in the Republican party. The immigration stalemate is just one consequence of racist elements in the Republican party. It's the Elephant in the room.

  123. I think "candy and nuts" belongs in the same lexicon as "Uncle Sugar." What some people are forgetting is these immigrants are human beings. Washington is playing with their lives. These are Moms and Dads and sisters and brothers. When many of them came to this country (legally or not) their presence was met with a wink and a nod because they were "cheap" labor, doing work no citizen wanted to do. They staffed hotels and restaurants and landscaping companies and many were "just as illegal" forty years ago as they are so-called today. It was unjust not to resolve this forty years ago. Now many of these "undocumented" people are our neighbors and friends. They have made their lives in this country. Either an immigration reform should be dealt with NOW or forgotten about forever.

  124. So, they won't pass this, or likely any Laws, on the chance they might not be enforced, then we don't need Legislators. Lets downsize Congress rather than pay them not to pass laws.

  125. The way the NYTs continues to dance around the terminology -- and yes, I have read the tediously politically correct and mealy-mouthed Public Editor on this issue. I'm glad I don't have her job -- Ms Sullivan has, in journalistic terms, all of the backbone of an Udon noodle.

    "...and sifts out the ones who are here illegally." And then later the phrase " giving millions of undocumented residents a better life."

    An *undocumented* worker is my Austrian friend who left her green card at home or, worse still, misplaced it. An *illegal* immigrant is one who is here in violation of the applicable immigration law. As I said, the silly NYTs Public Editor's argument simply nullifies that distinction.

    It's not something we have to parse closely; the difference is immediately apparent and obvious to any reasonable mind that is not carrying sixteen tons of political agenda.

    Having said that, the Republicans don't have a clue as to how to meliorate the illegal immigrant situation in America. The love the cheap labor. A hint: Not amnesty (Reagan did that, and it was useless); give them, these illegal immigrants, a realistic road -- albeit not necessarily easy or quick -- to becoming legal immigrants.

    Having done that, then give them a reasonable chance at citizenship. If they decide against that (re: the myth of return), then do not allow them to vote.

    Not complicated.

  126. There is a very simple and low-cost solution to illegal immigration: remove the reasons the illegals sneak into our country. Everyone knows what those reasons are - jobs, money, welfare, free health care and schools. If those are not available there will be no reason to come. The problem will solve itself. But, of course, without a thousand page Bill full of earmarks to benefit Congress, its owners and donors, and K Street.

  127. Gail, Boehner is like all GOP'ers - doing nothing but throwing rocks, whyyyyyyning about how hard it is to get anything done in D.C., stalling and obfuscating until they have control of more state houses, so that GOP'ers can convene a constitutional convention, which retiring Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.) told us all about this week:

    GOP'ers can't win playing by the rules in D.C., so they are trying to re-write the rules by keeping people away from the ballot box and not granting citizenship, until such a constitutional convention can change all the rules.

    In such a situation, we have a Senate on steroids, since Rhode Island, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska would have just as many votes as California, Texas, New York and Florida.

    It's hard to imagine the current crop of GOP'ers sitting around pretending they are on par with our Founders, but that is the result we are seeing of Obama Derangement Syndrome run amok.

    Remember, GOP'ers only consider things to be legal when they win; anything where they are not winners is de facto corrupt and lawless, therefore they can disregard such results.

    We need only recall how GOP'ers tried to erase every last vestige of Clinton, and ruminate on Ron Suskind's report about creating their own reality:

    to realize the danger of GOP'ers working down plutocrats' wish lists in a constitutional convention.

  128. I remember when Alabama passed draconian immigration/guest worker laws that frightened even the legal immigrants; they fled the state as growers and farmers begged the state legislature to ease up; they were met with a brick wall--not even allowed to address the legislature to state their case.

    Blackberries, tomatoes, etc., rotted on the vine as unemployed Alabamans refused to take on these back-breaking jobs that guest workers had been happy to perform for years.

    Has anyone noticed the slow price-inflation in fresh produce? $10 for lettuce? How about no lettuce.

  129. I could live with no lettuce. Or all the other things you mentioned. Historically, the markets have always adjusted to demand and price price for anything, and I am sure they will do so now. The prices will have to come down or the wages go up. My father taught me a long time ago that if you cannot afford it, don't buy it. It still works.

  130. Agent Orange once again defoliates the truth.

  131. A few weeks into the year and the Speaker announces that immigration reform is a no go this year leading one to wonder if House Republicans are going to spend the rest of the year do nothing while laying on their tanning beds.

  132. My Mantra: The Republican party has to return the White House to a white man. In order to do that, the Republicans must make Obama so toxic that "reasonable" people will vote Republican. (But, the smart Republicans know, there will be a white Democrat on the ballot in Nov 2016, which will negate insipid racism) Nothing worse than partisan politics and racism. All people have gotta do is read about Reconstruction after the Civil War.

  133. Boehner is the guy who doesn't want to be President because he wants to keep smoking, drinking and playing golf. He seems to be a guy who likes living in the 1950's which is where he spent the 1st 11 years of his life. At least at the country club he doesn't have to think about things like health care because all of the members have Cadillac plans. The only illegals at the club work for the greenskeeper and the cart master. Those illegals are hard to tell from the normal staff because they take a speed course in English. They are taught to say "Yes Sir, and Yes Ma'am," and to keep away from the members. We all know how all American golf is. Just look at the tournaments on TV. They even have a black American playing with the Afrocentric name of Tiger. What could be a more democratic caring sport than Boehner's fav! Let the games continue. FORE!

  134. There are so many levels of which this article infuriates me. The congress (including some democrats) refuse to do their jobs WHY? Oh yes, President Obama is leading our country as he was elected to, but the Congress is more concerned with their "hissy-fits" that they DO NOT care they are tearing our country apart!

    The media has failed our democracy and republic by not calling out ALL the LIARS and untruths on both sides. Fox News continues to brag about their "numbers" in viewers, and I continue to cringe if it is true. Why do rational people people listen to Rush L, Palin, Hannity, Dobbs, and whatever excuse for journalists they put on the air?

    It makes me sick. When my parents moved to this country we assimilated, but kept our culture. When I travel here is a joke that still makes me cringe:
    What do you call someone that speaks two languages (bilingual), what do you call someone that speaks 3 languages (tri-lingual), what do you call someone that speaks ONE language (American). Not so funny, and the clowns in Congress still arguing over our "official language, immigration, minimum wage, abortion, etc".

    Get a life Congress, we should come up with goals that are tied to their salaries? Of I forgot isn.t that what the elections are for? I give up!

  135. On the one hand, I wish Boehner would be replaced as Speaker of the House. Yet, I fear the result if he is. However, the ultra conservatives might well get lucky and elect their own speaker. There is a very slim possibility that such a change would result in the few remaining sensible Representatives breaking rank and voting intelligently for legislation that will do the most good for the US as a whole.
    Those who have lived in the US for many years, raised families here, and are good residents should have a path towards legalization and eventually citizenship, especially if there are US citizens in the family unit. Those who were brought here illegally as children, graduated from high school, and have not committed a serious crime should also be able to become citizens.
    However, if some think this results in too many people in the US, then immediately halt all H1B visas. These are the people who do take jobs that US citizens want.
    Remember, only some of the illegals are of Mexican and Central American origin. Many are Irish, Asian, South African.
    We should be more accommodating towards refugees from the Middle East.

  136. Gail Collins is brilliant at explaining current Washington. Besides her wonderful writing skills, she is also a natural teacher.

  137. Excellent, Gail—someone had to do it. The facts, I mean. Party of Cynicism "thinking" on this, led by the intellectual black hole of the Heritage Foundation, has got to be that the 2014 elections for Congress and Senate are emphatically local, so anti-immigration reform won't hurt them and will help them retain the House and win back the Senate; then they can really kill that reform, along with other constructive Democrat initiatives. This means that for Latinos and other immigrants, 2014 is the decisive election—they must defeat as many Republicans as they can, everywhere, or they can forget immigration reform.

  138. Mr. Bohner and his band of merry men should visit the starue of liberty. Read the inscription.
    Pretty sure at some point the teaparty will have that inscription sand blasted off.
    The GOP plays to the hatred of the "other" and boy do they have a lot of "others". Not white =other. diferent religion=other, gay-other and lately woman =other.
    I can see it now. Cloning themselves so everyone is "pure".
    The "Grand Old Party" isn't grand anymore.
    Fear is a great tool and delusional fear is an even better one.

  139. The real news here for me is not that Boehner threw over ten million hard-working immigrants under the Tea Party bus to save one job -- he's done it before and he'll do it again -- or that he blamed President Obama for doing so (ditto).

    It's that on February 8th, the House under his "follow-that-bus-over-the-cliff-ship" has only 94 working days left until 2015.

    Are there any other full-time federal government jobs that work less than this? No wonder Congress can't accomplish anything. Why is this not the story?

  140. If Senate Bill S. 744 did not include an exception or a waiver for every requirement listed the public might have been more receptive to illegal immigration reform. Instead politicians tried to hoodwink Americans by issuing bullet pointed requirements with no details...details which spelled out amnesty for illegal aliens. Yes, Americans do not trust this administration or the liberal press for glossing over or eliminating the facts.

  141. I am just curious why you did not include GW. Bush as part of the blame or at least one of the multiple choice answers?

  142. At least Boehner avoided his second favorite line (after "candy and nuts"): "that proposal is DOA"

  143. While reading the list of ways in which Obama has vigorously enforced existing immigration laws and comparing that list to Boehner's pathetic attempt to blame Obama - again - for the intransigence of his own members, I am reminded of a child with his hands on his ears, saying, "I can't hear you - la, la. la ..."

    Forgive the infantile metaphor; I realize it is not appropriate to an adult discussion of an extremely important issue. Unfortunately, it is the most accurate depiction of the actions of the opposition party.

    Tragically, these people bear the support of a significant number of Americans. And that is why nothing will be accomplished until Americans get fed up enough to stop reelecting lunatics.

  144. Great essay!
    I'm rarely bothered by Boehner or other Republicans/Tea-rs lies or sophistry--that's what they get paid to do most of the time. I am REALLY worried, though, about the people who believe them.
    You want to know what would be the most difficult educational reform program to institute nationally? Answer: instruction and workshops in Critical Thinking and Logic beginning in grade !.

  145. The tactic Boehner and his people are employing to "solve" our nation's rather serious problems, such as income inequality and lack of jobs, is simply to run out time doing NOTHING while Obama is in office. They are scheming to have the House, Senate and possibly the WH under their control once he leaves. Then they will swing into action!

    One characteristic to "admire" about the current crop of Republicans (or is it Republicons? I say that as a registered Republican, who is disgusted with what has happened to my party) is that they stick to their agenda, no matter what. When they decided to block Obama at every turn even as he was being sworn in back in 2009, they really meant it. The whole idea was to make sure "he" fails and the ill-informed or actually misinformed (by them) electorate never elects anyone like "him" ever again! Does not matter what a paralyzed government does to the nation or how much misery it brings to the common folks! As long as they retain power (by whatever means) and their rich bosses are happy ... that is all that matters, right?

    This is treasonous behavior and we should not only kick every one of these prevaricators out of office in 2014 and 2016 and take control of every branch of our government, but also pass an amendment to our Constitution to impose stiff penalties for economic "treason," so that nothing like this happens ever again. Treason is treason, whether against the security of our country or the economic welfare of our people!

  146. "People call me a comedian, but that's not quite right. I just cover Congress and report the facts." -- Will Rogers

  147. The reference to "nuts" refers to his Republican members...

  148. Don't forget, the Republicans wouldn't pass W's version either.

  149. The right knows better than to start an internal war on immigration. Sorry to say it is just the argument the left needs them to have. All the left has to do is agree and then watch their money and racism take over. Guaranteed indelicate comments and arguments, while we quietly gain at least a few more seats in the house.

  150. Boehner telling us about nuts! Yah, he's got a caucus full of 'em.

  151. If president Obama's Muslim ancestors didn't migrate from somewhere to Hawaii, then ruin the local population by forcing Obamacare on them, the president would not have to have paddled his canoe across the Pacific to keep Boehner from fixing the immigration problem. Now too preoccupied to get anything done, "Big B", (my new name for Boehner) allowed the rest of the country to become malnourished from a diet of candy and nuts. Obviously the diet trick worked. Now an unhealthy America needs Obamacare!!

    Boehner's relentless obsession with Obamacare reminds me of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. However the violin wasn't invented until Boehner's time, so blame that too, on Obamacare!

  152. Given what usually happens in off-year elections it's more than likely that the highly motivated Republican base will again turn out in large numbers keeping the House and possibly making the Senate more difficult to deal with as well. For whatever reason Democrats only seem to get up and vote when there's a motivating headliner at the top of the ticket. Unless and until Democrats )and Independents) get themselves together and purposely vote in large enough numbers to push the crazies out of Washington we're going to continue to be forced to watch and suffer from the never ending Kabuki play that Gail describes.

  153. Everything is the President's fault and no name calling is inappropriate. See the comments on Fox "news." The hate spewing far right is off the chart. Loud applause meets every invective. Civility and constructive dialogue is completely gone. I only hope the thinking voters will react appropriately.

  154. The real problem that Republicans have with immigration laws is that they don't want to create a huge wave of Democratic voters. That, and certain elements of the party have other unsavory motives.

  155. "Ryan continued, “We have an increasingly lawless presidency where he is actually doing the job of Congress, writing policies and new laws without going through Congress. Presidents don’t write laws, Congress does.”", A Pen, a Phone and a Meme, New York Times, February 7, 2014

    The Republicans huddled and came up with some quick quotes. This time its on immigration. Someone must make laws. Certainly Congress isn't. They cannot even increase the debt ceiling without consternation. The reason is simple. If they have a choice of crafting laws or blocking the president at every step, they chose blocking the Executive Branch of government from doing its job.

    Congress forgot! Their job is not to block the president to gain power. Their job is to work with the president lo do what is in the best interest of the country.

    Their problem has two prongs. First, some of them are outright racist; not many but enough. This is sad but it will not change until the make up of Congress changes. Secondly, and more importantly, they look at their responsibility as a vocation instead of an advocation.

  156. Don't neglect another critical cost of the militarization of the border -- the number of deaths of immigrants trying to cross in harsh and remote desert areas. In one area of Southern Arizona alone, over 200 persons have died each year in the past few years, according to the documentary film "The Undocumented" by Marco Williams. This film was shown on PBS and is quite disturbing.

  157. Let's be clear. If President Obama detonated nuclear bombs anytime someone came within 1 mile of the Mexican border, imprisoned people in work camps for speaking a language other than English in the US, and executed citizens arrested for immigration violations, no matter how minor. If he did ALL of these things, the Republicans would STILL accuse him of being soft on immigration.

    Nothing the President can do can satisfy them - because they don't want to solve the problem. I'm not sure why the president even tries - and it saddens me that he is as draconian as he is because I think it is only to prove that he is willing to be tough so that he can achieve the greater goal of helping the millions of people who live in the shadows (many who came here through no fault of their own).

  158. There are two schools of thought regarding the latest blast from Speaker Boehner.

    The first is that it's a head fake, designed to buy time for his caucus until after the spring primary season--to avoid provoking primary challenges from even more xenophobic politicos--and that sometime, in early June, the House leadership will roll their principles back out, with the addition of more "triggers" that could be used to revoke the law if the President somehow displeases the GOP on enforcement--or perhaps anything else.

    The second is that immigration reform really is dead for this year--and that Boehner & Co. are betting on the 2014 election to give them control of both chambers of Congress, so that in 2015, they can craft an immigration "reform" bill that will be more to their liking (i.e one that maintains the ability of their business supporters to access a labor pool that is underpaid, compliant, and easily intimidated into not complaining about health, safety and labor violations; maximizes the number of Latinos who will never be able to vote; guarantees there is no path to citizenship; and makes the path to "legal status" so arduous and expensive, no one will take it and no one can accuse them of putting forward something resembling "amnesty."

    My money is on the second.

    In part because it seems pretty clear that the Republicans are dusting off and reviving their 2010 rhetorical playbook of over the top rhetoric designed to freak out and turn out their crazy base.

  159. If the House Republicans can't get it together to support immigration reform, then that's fine -- just stand up and announce that there's no consensus and move on. What saddens me about this is Boehner's blatant cynicism in spinning this "can't trust Obama to enforce" trope. Much like the bogus "Obamacare-will-cost-2 million-jobs" flare-up earlier this week, the GOP seems to feel Americans will just lap up whatever idiotic rationale it throws out there. It's incredible how little they think of their fellow citizens' intelligence. And, it's disheartening that it seems to be working.

  160. What this is really indicative of is that Republicans are no longer the party of business. Failing to pass an immigration bill will take 1 to 2% off the GDP over the next few years. That may not sound like much, but it is a tremendous amount of economic activity that could make the difference between an OK recovery and a solid, good recovery. Far be it for Republicans to put their petty self-political interest ahead of the nation. They're so afraid the immigrants will vote Democratic. So make yourself more attractive? No. So the politicos see the numbers against them, but what about their base? Presumably many of them work and live around plenty of immigrants and see what a vital part of the economy they are? Well, what we really have hear is a study in how the propaganda of Fox News is 100% effective in enslaving the 25% of the population that is completely out of step with the rest of the country and reality. Congress should fund a study of that.

  161. You've got to give Boehner credit. He says Republicans would like to do immigration reform -- but they just can't trust Obama to carry out the law because the president keeps signing executive orders that change the law without Congressional approval. So now all Obama has to do is sign an executive order requiring Homeland Security to stop arresting and deporting all immigrants who meet the requirements of the Senate-passed immigration law and to release detainees who meet those requirements.

  162. With Citizens United on the books, one would think allowing undocumented workers to flood the US would fit the mentality of Corporate "People" who say "learn to budget", "get a second job", "we can't afford to pay you a living wage, that money fuels the corporate jet"...a population they can exploit with no worries of revolt.

    I always wonder why people would leave their homeland, struggle to enter the US, live in the shadows, listen to Americans talk about them in ugly terms, keep quiet and send all their money home. What a miserable life story. Maybe it's because back home living in a shanty and caring for a sick parent or child with no income is a slow death. Living in the shadows here earning $7 an hour provides them with enough to send home for the ones left behind. Some of these people haven't seen their wives, parents, children or homeland for years while working long hours under the radar to ensure the well being of their family. I couldn't imagine not seeing my kids for years.

    Why don't some want a path to citizenship? Maybe because they might have to treat these workers with some dignity.

    And Boehner? He's like Magic Mike flocking to the next person willing to put a dollar in his GOP-string.

  163. Boehner, under pressure from the right, is gambling that immigrants don't vote (yet), businesses want the cheap labor and the rest of America doesn't really care that much. This bet is valid as a winner for at least the next Presidential voting cycle. There's no mystery here. He's not even deluded. And assuming that Americans turn out in the "huge" numbers that they usually do and thanks to the suppression of votes in 36 states, I'd say this is a good bet. Only the media need this as an argument in order to churn emotions and sell papers. Progressives have always supported this kind of legislation.

  164. Maybe if the repub house shut down the government again it would help the president to enforce the laws.

  165. Above all, Speaker Boehner wants to keep his job. However, he cannot do his job as most of would understand doing one's job. All he can do is follow orders. Since he's being pushed around so much, what is the point of his desperately wanting to maintain power, when he actually has none? It couldn't be the cushy salary for what is virtually a part-time job. He could make a lot more as a lobbyist.

  166. When did concern for enforcement become a reason not to consider a law? What logic am I missing here?

  167. The Republicans are fond of saying that they're not synonymous with the Tea Party, big tent and all that stuff. Baloney. I think the Tea Party is gaining steam, and pushing out any notion of governing once held by the GOP. These Koch funded anti-think tanks are so destructive, and are a perfect example of why citizens united is so bad. And please, not another defense in the media that goes, "both parties are guilty".

  168. Perhaps the glass darkly before me up here is distorting truth, but I see a big GOP year all things considered. Boehner's message resonates in the far districts, where majorities are made. Democrats seem to believe that by force of intuition, they will default into victory in November. What they forget is that in many states, the union backed agendas and urban focused policies mean very little. Years of economic punishment, for crimes committed by largely urban others, has left the hustings grieving for a past, not looking for the more desperate future. The GOP knows the acupuncture of rural misery, and if rustbelt and urban alliances seem impregnable right now, Democrats are in for a shock.

  169. Perhaps they'll lose enough votes over this to lose a lot of Republican seats in Congress. Perhaps Boehner will lose a primary challenge to a tea party candidate. Perhaps a lot of republicans will lose primary challenges. A long shot? We can only hope and pray.

  170. What Ms. Collins doesn't say (but read between the lines): John Boehner isn't all that bright and lacks intestinal fortitude to boot.
    It amuses me when I read that Obama is somehow ineffectual because of his low-key style. That low-key, non-back-slapping style has helped him pull us out of the worst financial crisis since 1930, offered health care to millions who didn't have it before, pulled us out of two wars, and done more for mid-East diplomacy than any president for decades.

    Compare this to Boehner, the "leader" (I use the term loosely) who can't move his caucus out of their terrible 2s (the conservative wing learned how to say "no," and that's as far as their philosophy of governance takes them).