As you know, Hugh is one of the most strident and persistent objectors to the current immigration bill, but in this piece, he takes on the more venomous critics of Arizona Senator Jon Kyl:

Arizona’s Jon Kyl, perhaps the single most effective and principled conservative in the United States Senate, is the model of what every senator should be –smart, hard working, humble about his occupying the office, and aware of the obligations of that office. He is also a gentleman and a scholar –a genuine authority on Constitutional law, and a man of genuine character. Kyl’s also a fighter for conservative causes, especially the fortunes of President Bush’s judicial nominees.

Jon Kyl is also the workhorse for the GOP caucus on the immigration bill, doing his best to make the bill as workable as possible from the position as point man of the minority party.

This unenviable task has earned Senator Kyl an enormous amount of enmity from very vocal opponents of the bill, especially those for whom the issue is the single most important piece of legislation. Suddenly Jon Kyl’s impeccable record on the war, cutting taxes, the life of the unborn, spending restraint, and of course judges matters not at all, and the airwaves are full of spleen. The attacks on Kyl haven’t just been harsh, they have been full of the sort of venom usually seen in the fever swamps of the left directed at George Bush for waging the war against the Islamist jihadists.

If I was a member of the United States Senate I would not vote for cloture on the immigration bill, even though this version is bound to be much better than the version that failed to gain enough votes on the last go around. I wouldn’t vote for it because the border fence “trigger” is only 375 miles instead of the 700 authorized by last year’s border security bill. There may be other reasons to oppose the bill, but in an on-air conversation yesterday with Senator Kyl –the transcript is here —the senator indicated that many of the other major problems in the bill are being worked on. Whether those fixes are sufficient to remove some of those concerns –such as the treatment of illegal immigrants from countries with deep jihadist networks in the same fashion as illegal immigrants from Mexico—remains to be seen. Senator Kyl is clearly working to improve the bill as much as is possible.

Somebody had to say it, and I’m glad it was Hugh Hewitt who did. Two words for what he wrote: THANK YOU. I said similarly about Kyl (in a lot less words) a couple of weeks ago, but more people read Hugh than they do the ST blog, so … ;)

While it’s good to the see more vocal anti-immigration bill opponents like Hugh start to defend conservatives who have been raked through the coals for trying to forge a compromise on this bill, Kyl is only one of many solid conservatives and loyal Republicans who have been vilified by the “Jorge Bush” “Bush is a sell-out”-type accusers in the Republican party simply because a minority of conservatives don’t strongly oppose this bill – nor immigration reform in general. And yes, I know that type of criticism has been two-sided, but the overwhelming opposition to this bill has lent itself to overwhelmingly harsh criticism coming mostly from the types of conservatives who think the President is a sell-out to Mexico and traitor to this country because of his stance on this issue.

When all is said and done, and whether or not the bill passes, certain House and Senate Republicans as well as rank and file conservatives will have a lot to answer for to each other on how the debate on this bill degenerated into nothing more than a Nutroots-style slugfest between conservative proponents and opponents. And make no mistake about this, either: If conservatives move to oust strong conservatives like Jon Kyl and other loyal Republicans out of the House and Senate over this bill, guess what’s going to happen next year: We’re going to have a more Democratic Congress, on top of the very real possibility that a Democrat will regain control of the WH, and as I’ve said before, the immigration bill that would come out of that Congress would make the current bill look like the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. Think about it.

We must learn to be able to work together not just on this bill, but any other major disagreements we have in this party, in coming up with positions we all can live with. Otherwise, we’re going to find ourselves in the minority for the forseeable future. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to see that happen.

Related: Make sure to check out Senator James Inhofe’s (R-OK) guest post on the immigration bill at Captain Ed’s.

PM Update: To anyone out there who may doubt me when it comes to how low the debate on this bill has sunk in this country, you have to look no further than the comments section to Hugh’s article. Hugh has been a staunch opponent to the current bill and has been leading the fight against it. Yet because he defends Kyl, he’s all of a sudden a turncoat who is shilling for the administration.

Disgusting. Disheartening. Disillusioning. Disgraceful.


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