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May 12, 2014 5:39 PM Chamber “Ultimatum” on Immigration Reform: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

By Ed Kilgore

So expect some big noise tomorrow about a fiery comment made by U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Dohohue, described in the headline of the Politico piece (topped by a photo of Donohue shouting into a microphone) by Kevin Robillard as an “ultimatum to GOP:”

Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the GOP shouldn’t even field a presidential candidate in 2016 unless Congress passes immigration reform this year.
“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”

First of all, it’s rare to see an “ultimatum” delivered via a “joke.” It’s probably one or the other, and Donohue himself told us which it was.

Second of all, if the Chamber is going to go to the mats to push congressional Republicans into passing comprehensive immigration reform, wouldn’t you figure they’d decline to endorse Senate candidates who oppose it?

Well, Mitch McConnell has been Chamber-endorsed and its working with him hand-in-glove on a bunch of races. McConnell voted against the bill that passed the Senate last year. Another recent Senate endorsee is Jack Kingston of Georgia, whose website declares him dead-set against any kind of “amnesty.”

Yeah, I’d say Donohue’s “ultimatum” was definitely a joke. Yuk yuk yuk.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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