Doctor Faustus, I Presume?

Despite pressure from religious groups, humanitarian organizations and the business community–not to mention the U.S. Senate and the Administration– GOP leadership in the House of Representatives is refusing to bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote.

They “don’t have time this year.”

They had time, however, to vote on a measure sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Crazy) to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and treat Dream Act kids like criminals.

The amendment, from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), undercuts the flexibility that allows the Department of Homeland Security to halt deporting DREAMers and instead focus on people convicted of crimes.

After the vote, the House Hispanic Caucus tweeted,”House Republicans just voted to treat DREAMers and undocumented spouses of servicemembers in the same way as violent criminals.” Only six Republicans voted against the measure.

None of those six Republicans was from Indiana.

We expect Marlin Stutzman, Todd Rokita and Jackie Walorski to vote for measures sponsored by the Crazy Caucus (Michelle Bachmann, Steve King, Louis Gohmert et al). But we tend to expect a measure of moderation from those elected from less rabid precincts.

Susan Brooks ran as a reasonable, albeit conservative, alternative to David MacIntosh. Much of her appeal to the more moderate Hamilton County GOP voters was premised on her own (relative) moderation. And those of us who’ve known her for years had, in fact, known her to be personally pretty reasonable and middle-of-the-road.

But Brooks voted to deport the Dream Act kids.

In fact, Brooks’ voting record is strikingly similar to the voting records of Bachmann, King and Gohmert. Her one act of “courage” (if voting as your constituents clearly prefer can be characterized as courageous) was to end the recent government shutdown.

I suppose it is possible that the Susan Brooks I thought I knew was really a rabid anti-Choice, anti-government, anti-immigrant extremist in disguise. But I doubt that.

I think it’s more likely that she is one of the numerous, ambitious political figures who finds it personally advantageous to pander to the currently dominant wing of her party, and is willing to set aside any pesky moral qualms in order to do so.

Doctor Faustus sold his soul and traded his integrity for a taste of earthly pleasures.

As long as I’m trading in literary and historical analogies, here’s a question: Is the Republican base better off with True Believers like MacIntosh, who’ve evidently imbibed the hemlock, or with those who, like Brooks, are willing to make Fausian bargains?

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