No use blaming the Democrats when the backlash comes against this ill-conceived, ill advised Administration “guest worker” program. Whatever credit Bush is going to get from his corporate supporters and the US Chamber of Commerce will be lost in an avalanche of criticism from the center-right.
In short, Republicans who vote for this mess are going to be put on notice: Make sure you have something lined up in the way of another job after November:
President Bush and a group of senators yesterday reached general agreement on an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for many illegal aliens.(HT: Malkin)
But left out of the closed-door White House meeting were senators who oppose a path to citizenship. The meeting even snubbed two men who had been considered allies of Mr. Bush on immigration—Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and chairman of the immigration subcommittee, and Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican.
Mr. Bush in brief remarks to the press said there was agreement to get “a bill that does not grant automatic amnesty to people, but a bill that says, somebody who is working here on a legal basis has the right to get in line to become a citizen.” But senators, speaking afterward, said Mr. Bush was far more specific in the meeting.
“There was a pretty good consensus that what we have put into the Hagel-Martinez proposal here is the right way to go,” said Sen. Mel Martinez, Florida Republican. “I think he was very clear [on] pathway to citizenship, so long as it goes to the back of the line, and he even opened the door here for something we’ve haggled back and forth on, that you can shrink the time for people to become citizens by simply enlarging the number of green cards.”
It is not an overstatement to say that this is a complete electoral disaster for Republicans. Not only are there sure to be howls of rage from the Republican base, but every single poll on immigration shows that the great political center for which any candidate must depend to put them over the top on election day is dead set against the President’s program.
Americans are a normally fair minded people as a group. And when they see special treatment being doled out to people who break the law, it sticks in their craw and makes them more likely to take out their feelings on the closest available target; in this case, Republican lawmakers.
In an irony of ironies, the President is going to have to rely on Democrats to get this bill through both Houses of Congress. I’m sure the Democrats will be more than willing to oblige the President since they correctly see the immigration issue as a winner. They can criticize the President from the right by attacking his border security measures while continuing to assault from the left by saying that Republicans are racists who want to oppress Hispanics.
Such arguments won’t impress conservatives but they will resonate with their own base as well as peel middle of the road voters away from Republican candidates. This is a recipe for defeat in November and if it occurs, the President and the open borders Republicans will only have themselves to blame.
There’s a chance that opposition can still coalesce in the House and defeat this bill when it comes to a vote. But those Republicans are going to have to be certain that we conservatives have their backs. I suggest sending an email to your Representative urging him to vote against this proposal and making it clear that how he or she votes will be a determining factor in your decision about who to vote for (or whether or not you intend to vote at all) this coming November.
Both Tano in the comments and PJ Media who linked to this piece sound a little skeptical about my analysis. Let’s go to the polls!
From Rasmussen Survey of 4/7/06:
Forty-six percent (46%) of Americans said that they prefer the candidate with the harder line on illegal aliens while 38% opt for the candidate who wants to expand legal opportunities for foreign workers to find jobs.
However, those who say the immigration issue is very important in determining their vote prefer the pro-enforcement candidate by a much larger margin, 67% to 23%. This suggests that the short-term political advantage on the immigration issue lies with those who want a tougher enforcement policy.
Fifty percent (50%) of Americans say the immigration issue is very important. Another 32% say it is somewhat important.
An earlier survey found that two-thirds of Americans believe it doesn’t make sense to debate new immigration laws until we can first control our borders and enforce existing laws. That same survey found that 40% of Americans favor “forcibly” requiring all 11 million illegal immigrants to leave the United States.
Sixty-seven percent of those who think immigration is an important issue favor a pro-enforcement (anti-amnesty) candidate. And 82% of Americans think the immigration issue either “very important” or “somewhat important.”
Disaster? What disaster?
Oh btw – I’m not one of them but that same poll shows an astonishing 40% of Americans favor “forcibly” requiring all 11 million illegal immigrants to leave the United States.
In short, a politician would have to try pretty hard to get to the right of the American people on this issue. Congratulations to the President and the open borders Republicans who support him in Congress. Not only are we going to be stuck with a nightmare of an immigration law, but you’re making it very difficult for the dwindling number of people who support you to become motivated enought to get up off the couch on election day and go vote for you.