PM Update: I see the congrats are being passed all around the conservative opinion sites and blogs, but this piece from Jim Geraghty stood out to me:
So, Mr. President… now that you’ve demonstrated that you’re willing to:
–put enormous resources, time, energy, political capital and appropriations approval into an effort for legislation that drives the base of your party batty;
–have your aides call the base of your party xenophobic, racist, and not wanting what’s best for America;
have legislative allies like Trent Lott contend that your longtime loyal friends in the media world, talk radio show hosts, are a problem that “needs to be dealt with”;
–accuse your opponents of ignorance and not reading a bill when few, if any of us, believe you read through an entire 500 page bill;
–flatly refused to listen or consider our arguments that nearly-instant “probationary Z-visas” that permit a recipient to work without fear of deportation amounts to a de facto amnesty;
and chosen to do all of the above when you have a 30 percent approval rating or so and the base of your party is your last remaining friend…
…when you need our help in the future, you had better ask nicely and have a long list of persuasive arguments.
That “ask nicely” bit is a two way street. Unfortunately, so many of the bill’s opponents didn’t see it that way. Of course, we’re not supposed to “ask” our representatives to do anything for us – we’re supposed to let them know what we want, what our concerns are, what issues are important to us, and they’re supposed to keep that in mind when they go to the floor of the House or Senate – or sit in the big man’s chair in the Oval Office. But we’re supposed to act like adults when we do it, and calling the president “Jorge Bush,” and a “traitor” etc doesn’t cut it, so it’s not just the President who needs to rethink how he deals with conservatives. Conservatives need to RELEARN how to deal with a Republican President they respected until he “sold out” the country to Mexico.
I’m also seeing at NRO and other places many pats on the back to conservative talk radio and conservative pundits in general who have supposedly been a ‘wealth’ of information on the “amnesty” issue. I beg to differ. Many of these people were part of the problem, because they mislabeled the bill as “amnesty” when it’s not, and they repeatedly kept claiming that this bill would essentially ignore the criminal elements of the illegal alien community. It doesn’t. There was so much misinformation out there about this bill being thrown at people by conservative pundits that by the end of the debate (or the end for now, at least) correcting those errors proved futile. Talk radio and conservative pundits can be great when they’re digging into the liberal opposition’s record, but sloppy when taking their own to task.
What is the result of this version of the bill going down in flames? It is being widely predicted amongst politicos and beltway insiders that this bill will not be taken up again until when? After the 2008 elections. Just as I thought. Think this ride against the bill was bumpy and painful? Wait til you have to lobby Democrats – and a potentially Democrat administration – against their own bill. And if many of the bill’s conservative opponents have their way about it, solid conservatives like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t be returning to the Senate, so the Democrats are facing a prime opportunity to expand their lead in the Senate. This is not good.
Since my email has been filling up lately on the immigration issue, I figure now is as good a time as any to clear up some misconceptions about my opinion on the bill:
1. Most importantly: I am not an “enthusiastic supporter” of the current-now-dead immigration bill. But I am a supporter of immigration reform in general, and while I’d like to see that fence built, I also want the issue of the status of current immigrants who are here today dealt with sooner rather than later. We should do both, but we shouldn’t have to wait for one to get the other, especially considering that the likely time we will see this bill brought forth again will be in 2009.
2. I do not begrudge for one second anyone taking an active role in trying to get this bill tabled. This has never been about wanting people to just roll over and take whatever the give us to me. My big issue has been with how the debate has been conducted, and to those in my email who have complained that I’ve been too “one-sided”, au contraire: I have taken the bill’s proponents to task, too. The fact of the matter is that you can find an overwhelming number of blogs willing to take proponents to task but very few taking opponents to task. So the criticism of proponents is not exactly lacking in the blogosphere.
3. I sincerely believe that the vast majority of the bill’s opponents had/have good intentions and obviously care deeply about our national security, about our public resources and who gets to use them, our crime rate – but again, I disagreed with the way many went about expressing disagreement with others about it, and was especially upset to see Hugh Hewitt of all people get demonized by conservatives simply because he was defending a staunch conservative like Arizona Senator Jon Kyl. I mean, if you can’t trust Hugh Hewitt on the immigration issue, who can you trust? And as I’ve said before, how the administration was characterizing opponents of the bill was wrong, yes, but it was no different than how some of the strongest opponents of the bill have been talking about him and his administration on this issue for years.
4. A few emailers have told me they will no longer read my blog because of my stance on this issue. It’s a free country, of course, but I had hoped that people wouldn’t feel they had to do that, considering on the vast majority of other issues we’re standing right there together. But having said that, just for the record I have never wanted this blog to seem like an echo chamber, even though most of the time most of us agree in general on the issues I blog about. That’s to be expected and there’s nothing wrong with that. But from time to time, readers of this blog and I are not going to see eye to eye on an issue. But I can promise you this: You will not see me talking about the people who disagree with me on whatever the issue is in the same way you’ve seen some people talk about people who didn’t oppose the immigration bill with every fiber of their being. There is a reason I have cut down on visiting certain other blogs I used to visit regularly and that’s because I can’t stand the way they are classifying anyone who disagrees with them. I try to keep that in mind whenever I write something here that goes against the grain because I don’t want people to come to this blog, think I’m a hateful, shameful so-and-so because I don’t know how to express my disagreement without denigrating my fellow conservatives who don’t share the same opinions. I don’t ever cut down on visiting certain other blogs because of mere disagreement. I cut down on visiting those blogs when I feel like my opinions aren’t welcomed nor encouraged and my positions are being twisted into something they’re not.
We all work well when we’re working together and when we’re bouncing ideas off of each other respectfully. We have to be able to take little victories where we can. The way I look at this immigration bill was that it contained little victories – not big ones. It’s the same way I view any legislative attempts on abortion. Abortion, as longtime readers now, is the issue that makes or breaks it for me in the Republican party. If they ever were to change their position on the issue, I wouldn’t be a Republican anymore. But I also know that I can’t be an all or nothing Republican on the issue of abortion. I take the little victories – like the partial birth abortion ban – to heart, knowing one day they just might snowball into a big victory, and I can’t turn my back on Republicans just because instead of banning all abortions they choose to ban just PBAs. I view the immigration bill in the same light. The Republican party has not turned its back on the illegal immigration issue, but you’d think they had, the way some people view the issue.
5. I want to encourage people to post their thoughts on the issue in the comments sections of the posts I write about it, even if they are likely contrary to mine. I don’t want anyone to think that they will ‘offend’ me with a contrary viewpoint. I don’t need nor want to be insulated from differing viewpoints. On the contrary, I welcome it because other opinions – when well-written and presented civilly – always make me think and reassess. I realize that most of my readers disagree with me on this issue, but also know that I’ve got probably the most thoughtful group of commenters in the blogosphere, and that is not a kiss up – I really believe that. The comments section in this post in particular is filled with responses that make you think no matter what side of the debate you fall on. That is what I love to see. What happened in Hugh Hewitt’s comment section (which is the norm in the comments sections of so many blogs now on this issue) is not what I like to see.
I think that about sums it up for now. If I have anymore to add to this, I will later tonight.
Prior this week: