One difference between the two major parties is that Democrats harness the energy of their base to fight legislative battles; Republicans make end-runs around their base to obviate their energy.
Let’s examine the GOP’s strategy for dealing with immigration. Instead of harnessing their energy to fight amnesty and hang it around the necks of Democrats in the red state electoral landscape next year, they are trying to outflank the conservative base with subterfuge in order to pass amnesty. National Journal has an inside story of the strategy:
House Republicans head home for the August break having done little to pass immigration reform, falling well short of Speaker John Boehner’s goal of voting on legislation before next week’s monthlong recess begins. But far from a failure of leadership, top House Republicans are casting the inaction as a tactical play designed to boost reform’s chances.
Keeping immigration on the back-burner helps avoid a recess filled with angry town-hall meetings reminiscent of the heated August 2009 protests where the backlash against health care reform coalesced. Doing nothing also starves Democrats of a target, Republicans argue.
“August was a central part of our discussions. People don’t want to go home and get screamed at,” a House GOP leadership aide said.