I took part in a small-group discussion at Netroots Nation this morning with Rep. Luis Gutierrez organized by the fine folks at America's Voice, and afterward I managed to squeeze in a brief interview kind of summing up the discussion.
The upshot: President Obama's political team may well be endangering his ability to gain re-election by deferring action on immigration -- not merely in passing comprehensive immigration, but in providing administrative relief for DREAM Act-eligible students, and laying off its draconian "Secure Communities" initiative -- because it wants to tackle these issues in its his second term.
As the congressman said:
GUTIERREZ: That's what he doesn't understand, I think, is that people just won't show up. And you know what? There's nothing more, I believe, that the Republicans want, than to see us just kind of sit on our hands. 'Cause guess what -- they're voting. They're not staying home. You can say in the polls they're 10 points behind, but they're still going to show up the next day. Our folks? We need to be fed.
C&L: Well, if you're being taken for granted ...
GUTIERREZ: And we have been. And unfortunately, we have an administration who made us a promise about bringing about comprehensive immigration reform. Now, are there challenges this president -- are there challenges the president of the United States could have been defeated on? Yeah. But you see, what they want is someone who goes down fighting.
I would say that the congressman is talking about a lot of progressives from across a wide spectrum.
But this is a significant case of short-sightedness. Latinos delivered the vote for Obama and Democrats in 2008. They saved the Senate for Democrats in 2010. And now the administration's inaction threatens to wash all that down the drain -- along with their own re-election chances. That's plain stupid.