Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, left, walks with President Donald Trump as they head to a meeting of House Republicans to discuss a GOP immigration bill at the Capitol in Washington, June 19, 2018. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite | AP

Here’s a political tip: If you are going to expose your utter fecklessness and irrelevancy, do it on the day the most critical member of the Supreme Court decides to retire. That’s what House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisconsin, did on Wednesday. The Post reports:

“By a vote of 301 to 121, the House rejected a wide-ranging GOP immigration bill that would have funded President Trump’s border wall, offered young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and partially addressed the family-separation crisis at the southwest border.

“The vote came hours after the president tweeted that the House should pass the bill to ‘SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY.’

“After weeks of negotiations between GOP conservatives and moderates, the vote made clear how split the party remains on the issue. The measure barely won a majority of Republican lawmakers, and with no Democrats voting for it, the bill went down in a lopsided defeat.”

First off, consider taking a vote you will lose by nearly 200 members. Why would Ryan do such a thing, demonstrating his own lack of influence? No doubt the pressure from the White House was so intense that Ryan simply relented, and let Republicans look foolish and inept.

Trump insisted Republicans fix his self-made “zero-tolerance” mess, but they are incapable of doing so — in part because he fails to provide any guidance. (“Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other top Department of Homeland Security officials have repeatedly insisted that the country’s immigration impasse requires urgent legislative attention. But the country’s border security and immigration agencies now find themselves pressed by Trump’s June 20 executive order and the new court order to reunite the migrant families they have spent the past six weeks pulling apart.”)

Trump will not get his wall and will leave “dreamers” stranded. The latter, along with the human anguish of migrant families, is likely to fire up Democrats, while Trump’s utter failure to get his wall (or punish sanctuary cities) leaves all but the fans of the Muslim ban wondering how they got so little with a GOP president and Congress.

The risk for Republicans is threefold. Those Republicans who voted for the bill, including endangered Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., will get it from both sides. The wall is hugely unpopular outside red enclaves, while legalizing the dreamers will drive the base up the wall. Why put endangered Republicans in that position? Apparently Ryan takes his marching orders from the White House.

Second, the visual images of distraught children and anguished parents as well as the sight of law-abiding, productive dreamers being run out of town are not going to go over well in states such as Florida, Texas, California and Arizona. It is why, to his credit, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, struggled to forge a bipartisan compromise to hire more immigration judges — one small way to reduce the border crisis. Democrats can rightly say that unified Republican government has made our immigration system even more dysfunctional, dangerous (resources are being diverted to lock up innocent children and their parents) and inhumane.

And finally, Trump hasn’t solved his problem with the executive order — that’s for sure. He has a court order he likely cannot satisfy (reunite all kids under 5 in 14 days, others in 30 days). His zero-tolerance policy will cost a fortune and likely result in indefinite family incarceration — until a judge applying the Flores settlement agreement says the kids cannot be held more than 20 days even with their parents.

The image of a GOP government both cruel and inept, dishonest and confused is not one that will help Republicans’ midterm prospects.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a center-right perspective.

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