Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why Bush is Jumping Into the Immigration Battle

With Bush already being more unpopular than ever, you have to wonder why he's diving headfirst into the Third Rail of immigration reform. Immigration is probably the most dangerous wedge issue out there, for both parties. It cuts across party lines more than any other issue.

I personally have no opinion on illegal immigration. I’m usually pretty opinionated (no!) but this issue is just too complex with too many underlying issues. Whenever somebody says “those illegal aliens are stealing American jobs and draining our resources” I think “yeah, that’s right.” When somebody else says “these people are doing the jobs Americans won't do; America was founded by immigrants” I think “hmmm, good point.”

Here's one take on why Bush is so gung ho about the doomed immigration reform bill. Bush sees himself as a Hacendado — an estate owner in Old Mexico. He needs to get the maximum amount of work from “his” people, but he also needs to protect them. He thinks the shrewdest thing he could do is grant citizenship to “his” people. As Howard Fineman puts it, “he wants employers to have access to all of that cheap labor, but wants to make the system more orderly.”

Whether this theory is correct or not, it’s as good an explanation as any. Bush’s furious devotion to this immigration reform bill seems more like a suicide mission. Fineman says: “Here he is, an unpopular leader fighting an unpopular war. His two-term presidency is clattering to a conclusion, besieged on all sides, taking hits on everything from his attorney general to his general incompetence. And so he decides to do what? Climb into the ring for an ultimate fighting bout with the base of the very Republicans who got him to the White House.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

From rightwingnews.com on how the senate is planning to pass this treasonous illegal immigration bill.

The Inside Story On What's Happening With The Senate Immigration Bill

Yesterday, a GOP aide, who is one of my sources in the Senate, gave me the rundown on what's happening with the Senate immigration bill (This is the same person that I talked to last week about the bill).

First off, it does look like the Senate immigration bill is coming back. The conventional wisdom seems to be that it's going to be brought up right before the July 4th break, so that the Senate Republican leadership can try to use that as leverage to get votes (In other words, "vote for the bill or we'll have to waste your vacation time until you do").

This is despite the fact that the conservative leaders of the anti-amnesty movement are refusing to cooperate, and won't give Mitch McConnell a list of amendments that they want considered. My source tells me that the reason for this is that the game has now been rigged. McConnell is essentially promising to bring the amendments up in exchange for cloture votes, but Trent Lott is publicly saying that they will strip any problematic amendments out in committee.

In other words, if the bill gets through the Senate and the House, the Democrats and the open borders Republicans will work together when the bills have to be reconciled in committee to strip out any amendments that the "grand bargainers" don't like. Therefore, at this point, it doesn't matter what amendments pass, because any tough enforcement provisions that slip through will be rendered toothless when the bills are reconciled.

My source also noted that the cloture vote to end debate will be the "real" vote on the bill because if debate is closed off, the bill is sure to pass. Then, what will happen is that the votes for the bill will be counted, and a few senators who are afraid that their election prospects will be jeopardized by a "yes" vote, will be allowed to vote against the bill. This enables those senators to tell their constituents that they voted against the bill, but it will still allow them to collect campaign contributions from lobbyists who have a better understanding of how things work, and know that the bill couldn't have been passed without their support. Put another way, they get to reap the rewards of supporting amnesty while telling the voters in their home states that they opposed the bill.

My source also let me know that the White House and the Senate leadership, and Trent Lott in particular, are pushing very hard for this bill.

I asked my source to speculate on why Lott was pushing so hard, and he said that Lott may be naive enough to think that this bill might help John McCain's presidential campaign. He told me that despite McCain's dip in the polls since the bill hit the news, it was hard to miss the fact that the biggest supporters of this bill in the Senate, Jon Kyl, Trent Lott, and Lindsey Graham, are all solidly behind McCain in '08.

Before we finished up, I asked my source what he thought the prospects of passage were. He stated that it is a toss up, but that the pro-amnesty side has the momentum. I asked how that could possibly be given the outpouring of anger against this bill, and he told me that a lot of moderates are afraid of being called racists by people like Michael Chertoff, Luis Gutierrez, and Fred Barnes. He also noted that the Senate has a very insulated, clubhouse-like atmosphere, and that a lot of these pro-amnesty senators seem to be more worried about getting the President or Trent Lott mad at them than enraging the voters in their states. In addition, he told me that he thinks a lot of these senators have "drunk the DC Kool-Aid", and believe that they're better off passing a bad bill, even one that won't ultimately become law if, as expected, the House kills it, so that they can at least tell the voters in 2008 that they did something about immigration.

June 14, 2007 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Interesting glimpse into the legislative process and all the politicking and finagling that goes on. Like the old saying goes, laws and sausages are the two things you shouldn't watch being made.

June 14, 2007 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

I posted a topic on the immigration bill just today myself.

I still can't see how Bush will get this bill brought back up through the Seante, when you have the Republican base against it.

As they say, time will tell this story.

June 14, 2007 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Let's Talk: Yeah, I don't know what Bush is trying to do, clashing with the rightwing power brokers who purchased the White House for him. I'll check out your post.

June 14, 2007 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

I would say Fineman has a good grip on Bush's mindset.

I will be really shocked if this thing passes. The conservative base is rabidly angry about this plan. And actually, a lot of independents and moderate Dems are too.

June 14, 2007 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J. Marquis: Yup, I think Fineman has Bush dialed. And I don't think this bill has a chance.

June 14, 2007 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

I have tagged your blog with the
Thinking Blogger Award

June 14, 2007 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lizzy: Cool. Thanks.

June 14, 2007 at 9:36 PM  

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