Friday, May 18, 2007
Posted by Dean Barnett | 5:37 PM
The image you see above is of the still-not-completely-written immigration bill that Senators Kennedy and McCain rushed out to embrace yesterday. Next to it is the Holy Bible. That should give you some idea of the billís scope and whether or not our Senators have actually read it.
I was talking to my mother earlier today, and she admitted to being perplexed regarding this immigration imbroglio. She understood why the Republicans were folding like a cheap suit Ė thatís just what they do, sort of the way barking ferociously at the pizza boy is just what my otherwise adorable Cairn terrier does. But what was driving the Democratic Party? I told her to follow the votes.
Itís always the same with the 21st century Democratic Party. I really believe itís true when I write that Markos Moulitsas is the ideological standard-bearer for the modern Democrats. Itís therefore no small irony that in his book, Markos (along with Jerome Armstrong) candidly admitted to having no defined political ideology. Indeed, a linchpin of their plan for future Democratic dominance was to form the Democratic equivalents of the Hoover Institute to tell the Democrats what to think.
In the absence of any present guiding ideology, Democrats have latched on to what Markos calls ďwinnerism.Ē They play the game to win elections. And whatís the game? Everything, including the most important things like Iraq and the war on terror.
So again, to understand whatís happening here, follow the votes. There are 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. Most of them are poor, most of them are people of color. In other words, they are the kind of people who, demographically speaking, predominantly vote for Democrats.
Right now, of course, they donít vote at all. Thatís part of the problem with being an illegal immigrant. You canít do neat things like vote or demand things from the government. But, if by some miraculous stroke of legislative fiat, they were able to cast votes, the Democrats have every reason to believe that most of those votes would wind up in their column.
Are Democrats bothered by the ďillegalĒ part of illegal immigrants? Youíd have to say no. This is the third time around the block where Ted Kennedy is spearheading an amnesty to cure our immigration woes. Since no one has made a convincing case to me how 370 miles of border fence will staunch the future flow of illegals, Teddy may be able to go for four if his liver holds outs. (Allah, in probably the best blog post of the year, has much more on this topic. I borrowed the Teddy joke from him, improving it slightly.)
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REPUBLICANS? What are they thinking? Iíve got to be honest with you Ė this is a tougher nut to crack. I know everyone views everything Hugh and I say about John McCain through the prism of presidential politics. But both of us, Hugh especially, were harsh McCain critics long before Mitt Romney was even a glimmer in Iowaís eye.
Thus, wary of the audienceís jaundiced views, I will tread carefully in analyzing the Arizona maverick. In private communications the past couple of months, Iíve offered a unifying theory of all things McCain with a few correspondents. Now, I will spring it on the world. McCain responds to all issues viscerally rather than intellectually. For instance, McCain/Feingold was a viscerally satisfying effort to drive money out of politics.
But because McCain doesnít make any cerebral efforts to complement his visceral ones, most of his initiatives are misguided. To return to McCain/Feingold, if its authors had bothered to ponder the matter, they would have realized that money will inevitably find politics the way Ted Kennedy will inevitably find a bar. Itís literally a force of nature that when something means so much to so many people as our politics do, the interested parties will find a way to express themselves.
I think McCainís reaction to the situation with the 12 million illegals in the country is from the same school of non-thought. Yes, itís unsatisfying to have so many people living lives in a state of endless limbo. And closure would be nice. But McCainís pursuit of closure seems to preclude any thoughtful look at the consequences beyond the warm feelings that will sweep over Congress on the day our Solons pass the measure that they havenít even read.
As for the rest of the Republicans, Iím at a loss. My only explanation is they thought the mediaís approbation would make up for whatever anger they caused within their base. Boy, did they blow that one. Thatís bubble thinking for you. Itís entirely possible that the Republican Party doesnít know how serious its base is about Border Security. Speaking from personal experience, I didnít know how much this issue meant to so many people until I began writing for this blog and getting 300 emails a day from members of that base.
But hereís the good news. Thanks to the internet-led hue and cry thatís come forth, I agree with the guy from NZ Bear: This bill is going nowhere fast. Even the most hide-bound Democrat (Hint: rhymes with ďSchmarry SchmeidĒ) today realizes that immigration ďreformĒ without real border security is a remarkably unpopular idea. And the Democratsí would-be Republican enablers understand that any Republican who affixes his name to this bill, even a guy like John Kyl who we all love, would forever tarnish his image by doing so.
If you out there in Blogistan keep the pressure up, this bill will likely die the gruesome death that it so richly deserves. Itís up to you.