Every now and then the stars align for the passage of monumental legislation. An election creates a mandate, a party decides it needs to change, a voting bloc flexes its power, and so on.
Immigration reform was that legislation. President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012, coupled with a poor showing by Republicans among Hispanic voters, peppered with a renewed recognition from GOP leadership that they had to soften their nativist edges, topped with talk radio personalities giving Republicans their blessing to pursue reform was the perfect brew. And then it wasn't. After the Senate passed a sweeping bill with a large bipartisan vote, shit hit the fan -- the shit being negotiations and the fan being the House of Representatives.
How could something that seemed so primed to pass fall apart so dramatically?
In the latest episode of Drinking & Talking, The Huffington Post posed that question to the reporters and operatives on the front lines. The insights offered by Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of the pro-reform America's Voice, Doug Heye, communications director to former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Esther Lee, immigration reporter for ThinkProgress, and HuffPost's Elise Foley provide one of the most detailed accounts of the failure to date: from the missteps made by activists to the precise moment when it went haywire in the House.
It's enough to make you drink ... while talking.
Watch the video above. Here's an index of key moments in the discussion:
00:00 - The High Water Mark For Reform
01:30 - Signs Of Trouble
03:50 - Shit Begins Falling Apart
05:00 - Marco Rubio Busts A Move
08:20 - What Did Eric Cantor Want?
09:23 - Greg Sargent's Cameo
10:30 - Frank Gets Feisty Part I
12:00 - Did Cantor Derail It Behind The Scenes?
14:00 - The Ballad Of Mario Diaz Balart
15:00 - Steve King's Party?
17:00 - Frank Gets Feisty Part II
18:15 - The Price Paid By The GOP
19:15 - Frank Tells An Unrelated Tip O'Neill Story
Also, listen to or download the audio below: