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Not About McCain

But McCain isn't really the issue here. He's used to this kind of mau-mauing, probably even enjoys it at some level. And he not up for reelection again until 2016 when he'll be 80 years old.

The real question is, who else gets this treatment? Or is this just a one-off where a handful of activists got a very white and very senior-heavy crowd riled up over a perennial GOP issue? What Senators, what House members flirting with comprehensive immigration reform?

That is or would be the other shoe dropping in the immigration reform debate. Opposition to any form of 'Amnesty' or any effort to legalize rather than deport the country's more than 10 million undocumented immigrants was intense in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. And there's little or no evidence from public polls that Republicans' opinions on this issue has changed. But without the party apparatus or the standard rabble-rousers ginning up the issue, will those same people turn out at town halls? Threaten to primary members of Congress?

That's the question: Can the GOP establishment get the party's anti-reform base to sit out this two year cycle or muzzle it effectively?

About The Author


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.