MILITARY

Democrats, and some Republicans, see political blunder in GOP's Homeland Security strategy

  • In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., voice their objections to the Republican majority during a delay in voting for a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. "It’s a staggering failure of leadership that will prolong this manufactured crisis of theirs and endanger the security of the American people," said Pelosi.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., voice their objections to the Republican majority during a delay in voting for a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. "It’s a staggering failure of leadership that will prolong this manufactured crisis of theirs and endanger the security of the American people," said Pelosi. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., stands outside the House chamber holds a procedural votes on a spending bill for the Homeland Security Department at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. King said his party’s wounds are self-inflicted. "Politically it’s going to kill us," he said of conservatives’ demands to link Homeland Security funding with Obama’s immigration policy. "Morally, you’re equating an immigration order with the lives of American citizens."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., stands outside the House chamber holds a procedural votes on a spending bill for the Homeland Security Department at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. King said his party’s wounds are self-inflicted. "Politically it’s going to kill us," he said of conservatives’ demands to link Homeland Security funding with Obama’s immigration policy. "Morally, you’re equating an immigration order with the lives of American citizens." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

Democrats are losing some legislative skirmishes over the Department of Homeland Security.

But many feel they're winning a political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond.

Democrats so far have failed to force Republicans to fund the department for a year, with no strings attached.

Still, even some Republicans say their party has chosen a perilous path. The very public ideological struggle only highlights Republicans' inability to pass contested legislation.

And it might worsen Republicans' weak relationship with Hispanic voters.

Conservative Republicans defend their approach. They say they're courageously keeping promises to oppose President Barack Obama's liberalization of deportation policies, which they consider unconstitutional.

They say a temporary and partial funding lapse for Homeland Security is an acceptable cost of fighting a president's unlawful overreach.