Bush Wedges the Right.
Every now and again, I get one right. Looks like I really got it right on immigration. Here's what I wrote during immigration week on the Hog:
This is perhaps one of the main reasons the right are so exercised by the immigration issue. As long as no legislation is on the table, it's a great issue--it unites everyone behind an opaque, fuzzy issue. But it emerges instantly as a wedge for the right when any legislation comes out because either the security hawks, the business lobby, or the isolationist/racist wing loses.Yesterday, Bush decided to use the bully pulpit to press the immigration issue.
I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English, and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship, but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I've just described is not amnesty, it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.As he often does, he used coded langauge to speak to his base--see the word "amnesty" toward the end--but last night, that was a purely defensive gesture to appease the isolationist/racist base. This morning, the reviews are in. The base? not happy. (Glenn Greenwald collected these together, and I give him many thanks for rooting through righty spleen to cull them.)
- John "The Rocket" Hinderaker: "Apparently, he doesn't think he needs any allies. He certainly didn't win any with tonight's speech . . . . President Bush doesn't have many chances left to salvage his second term. After tonight, he might not have any."
- Ankle Biting Pundits: "Whether he likes it or not, the president did not carve out a 'centrist' position at all. He articulated one of the two conflicting positions in this debate. And by pretending to be a 'middle grounder' I believe he cheapened his argument."
- Mark Levin, National Review: "I didn't spend 35 years in the conservative movement for this. . . . This is pure idiocy, and it has the potential of being far more damaging to this nation than any big-government power-grab perpetrated by any previous president and Congress."
- John Hawkins, Right Wing News: "After the speech last night, I took a look around the right side of the blogosphere to get a sense of what people thought. The reaction was probably -- oh, let's say somewhere between 75-90% negative."
That Speech [Andrew Stuttaford]Perhaps the bizarro world of George Bush has finally crashed. It seemed inevitable, though I wouldn't have guessed, even six months ago, that immigration would have been the issue to put it over the edge. A month ago? I did manage to predict it then.It's hard to say what was most discouraging about the President's miserable performance last night. Was it the dishonesty (the non-amnesty amnesty, and the way that his opponents in this debate were characterized)? Was it the implicit admission of incompetence (he's only now 'discovered' that the National Guard is, apparently, needed at the border)? Was it the economic illiteracy (the idea that there is a shortage of labor)? Or was it the refusal to learn anything from Europe's disastrous 'guestworker' experience? Incredible.Posted at 7:59 AM