CAMBRIDGE, Md.—Everything I learned thus far at the House Republicans’ retreat is in this piece about the party’s “immigration principles.” It was filed at the end of a long day, before I had more low-key conversations with some more Republicans—none of which changed my thinking, most of which reinforced my theory that the party needs to look busy on immigration but doesn’t fear great suffering if it fails to pass an immigration reform bill.
Some of the reasons are elucidated in this Jon Ward story about why the GOP doesn’t have a strong reform wing. Right now, there’s plenty of theorizing coming from the “reform conservatives,” who want a less corporate and more pro-family Republican Party, and a lot of money coming to defeat obstructionists, coming from the Chamber of Commerce wing of the party. The chamber wing does want immigration reform, badly, but not as intensely as it wants to defeat Democrats in 2014. So it’s easy for the party to fall into a holding pattern, with new rhetoric, without actually passing a bill.