Four Days Til Stupidity Erupts

So the expiration of appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security approaches in just four days, and there’s no sign yet that Republicans are going to be able to figure out how to back down from their demands for cancellation of the President’s executive actions on immigration without looking weak to the Almighty Base.

This is all kinds of stupid for a number of reasons, including (a) the conflict with GOP Chicken Little rhetoric over homeland security threats; (b) the fact that the portion of DHS that actually enforces immigration laws would be largely unaffected since it operates on fees rather than appropriations; (c) as of the moment, the offending 2014 immigration executive order has been suspended pending judicial review; and (d) this gives Democrats a huge, huge political gift while contradicting the dominant media narrative of 2014 that the GOP was all grown up and had muzzled its Tea Party faction.

Point this out to your average conservative activist and you’ll generally hear mumbling about the Constitution, various forms of denial that anyone will care, and/or the classic ex post facto argument that being stupid on a government shutdown didn’t keep Republicans from doing very well in 2014. I guess the prospective argument would be that Republicans can and should keep doing egregiously stupid things until they lose an election, which could happen in a little over nineteen months. What you won’t hear are many predictions this strategem will actually work to change public policy. So it’s all about posturing, and that’s never a good sign for a serious political party.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.