Archive for April 14th, 2006

The current political climate in immigration has everything mixed up. Just look at Nebraska. Incumbent Senator, Ben Nelson – a Democrat – is all hot to build a fence across the entire U.S. – Mexico border.

How do his GOP rivals react to Nelson’s stance? “Incremental.” “Unworkable.”

So far, the Nebraska Republican candidates have portrayed Mr. Nelson's approach as misguided. Mr. Nelson, a Democrat in a fairly Republican state, has introduced legislation to build fences along the U.S.-Mexico border but [Republican Sen. candidates] Messrs. Kramer and Ricketts say that isn't a solution. Instead, both are advocating steps like more border agents and tougher enforcement of laws.

Got that? The Democrat is in favor of fencing off Mexico. The Republicans claim the plan is unworkable.

Or take another Western state:

The desire for tougher treatment has become an issue in places like Utah, where Rep. Chris Cannon, a five-term Republican, is facing a fight for the nomination, in large part because of his position on immigration. Mr. Cannon, who represents a conservative district in a solidly Republican state, has taken heat for supporting a proposal that includes a guest-worker program. Like many politicians, Mr. Cannon is caught between needing to appease constituents, many of whom support tougher measures, and businesses that rely on immigrants for labor. That has created an opening for Republican challengers, including Merrill Cook, a former U.S. congressman, who has cited Mr. Cannon's position on immigration as the reason he entered the race.

Many Republicans realize that a harsh stance on immigration is bad for business, especially in the Western states whose agricultural industries rely on seasonal migrant workers. So some GOPers are advocating a softer stance on illegals.

(Seems to clash with the ueber-conservatives over at “What’s Right…,” where I’m excited to witness a flip on the issue once they get new talking points from on high.)

Meanwhile many Democrats waffle on the issue, too, torn between liberal ideaology supporting multiculturalism and providing opportunity to the downtrodden, and loyalty to unions, who don't want or need the cut-rate competition for their jobs. Nelson's stance — wanting to build a fence, indifferent at worst to amnesty — happens to fall into lockstep with the views of the majority of Americans. Nelson's playing politics with his wall.

Another indication that GOP leaders see little or no reason to continue to pursue a hard line on immigration can be seen in Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo’s announcement that he will no longer be seeking the presidency in 2008. (Tancredo is the GOP’s bulldog on immigration and outspoken critic of multiculturalism.) Tancredo’s bid for the White House was with the full knowledge that he couldn’t win the job; he just wanted to ensure that his views on immigration were represented in the debate.

But now that the debate has reached the mainstream – in a very large way – and is seen by some as having hurt the conservative House hardliners, it’s likely that Tancredo’s withdrawal from the race for president is a result of his success in getting his message out and his realization that his views are doomed, both practically and politically.

I’ve said this before, the solution is inevitable, and it’s going to have to include amnesty and fast-tracking citizenships and guest worker visas and everything illegal-haters hate.

Update: In the comments, Matt Singer pointed out that I misrepresented Unions. Matt:

The AFL-CIO is pro-citizenship and has had a consistent pro-immigrant position since ‘99. The SEIU and AFL have both been lending support in organizing pro-immigrant rallies.

The conflict on the Democratic side may come from some concern over jobs, but it isn’t from unions.

Sorry, union folks. Shoulda poked a little harder about that facet of the issue.

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There’s a lot to talk about today.

First, Elizabeth Dole’s in town to talk up our nation’s least popular Senator, Conrad Burns:

Dole said the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by national Democrats for ads against Burns are "so offensive" and amounted to "character assassination."

"They cannot beat him on the issues," she said. "His opponents are not taking positions on the issues."

Honestly, does any sane person still believe that Conrad Burns is being framed by “national Democrats”? Burns has done this to himself, and to Montana, too. If the circumstantial evidence tying Burns to Abramoff's illegal operations weren’t already overwhelming, the recent emails published by the Associated Press should push some of even the staunchest doubters into belief.

Dole’s rhetoric – perfectly in tune with Burns’ – appears to count on Montana voters not being educated on the issue. I think it’s counterproductive. Independents and conservative Democrats who would otherwise vote for Burns might resent being taken for fools. But then the strategy is probably aimed at Republican loyalists who are begging for the illusion that Burns is actually a straight-up kinda’ guy. After all, Burns has to win a primary first.

(Thanks to the Gazette report, I discovered that Dole has some “accounting irregularities” in her campaign past, too. No wonder she’s sympathetic to our junior Senator.)

Another question that leaps to mind: why Dole? It’s not like she’s much of a celebrity nationally, or even in Montana. Well, other than as the wife of a failed presidential candidate.

Where’s McCain? He’s out and about stumping for other candidates, why not Burns? McCain’s appearance would be a great boost for Burns: McCain is very popular with voters on all ends of the political spectrum, and he projects an image of integrity.

Perhaps it’s because McCain, with an eye on a 2008 presidential bid, doesn’t want to be associated with a politico under investigation by the Department of Justice. Maybe McCain’s earlier efforts at campaign finance reform were aimed at politicians like Conrad Burns. Maybe McCain doesn’t like the guy.

I admit it’s wild speculation. But still, with a valuable Senate seat on the line, it seems foolish that a high-profile and popular Republican would ignore the Montana race. H*ll, the president recently stumped for Burns…

Links…

Submit your dream to Slow Wave, and have it drawn into a four-panel comic strip!

Samuel Beckett’s 100th birthday today. Take the Beckett quiz!

Blogenlust found a Guardian profile of Seymour Hersch. Interesting guy, fearless journalist. Hasn’t been wrong about Iraq yet.

Secrets for sale! To-o-o-p secrets! How much? Fifty bucks and she’s yours. Wait! Okay, make it forty and a stick of gum.

Bloomberg poll shows a majority of Americans don’t trust Bush to do the right thing in Iran. The analysts predict support will drop “…the more the war is discussed…” Well, then. Let’s discuss!

That’s odd…this poll says Americans trust Democrats more on the issue of illegal immigration. Of course, with everyone on both sides of the aisle flopping like fish on dry land, who’s to say what this means?

Ann Coulter refused to specify her gender when filling out her registration form. Hmmm….

ATF agents defending America against ninjas! (Does anyone doubt that the ninja would have kicked *ss if he weren’t already tired out from battling pirates?) On a serious note, isn’t this why Bush sucks? Institutionalized fear is ugly.

Um…Bush may hire our nation’s most corrupt lawmaker (no, not Conrad Burns) as head of the Office of Budget and Management to watch over government spending. What’s next? Osama bin Laden as director of Homeland Security?

An argument for supporting Massachusetts’ “crappy” new healthcare plan.

SSquirrel Googles a couple names on Duke U’s lacrosse team and finds a possible reason why Fox News and Tucker Carlson are attacking the black rape victim. Hint: someone’s daddy has connections. Serious connections.

The NYTimes’ Krugman sticks it to Bush and Cheney, calling them liars. Tristero’s got the column.

Busted! New Orleans mayoral candidate Kimberly Williamson Butler used Disneyland’s New Orleans in her campaign photo. Guess she couldn’t be bothered to take a picture in the real city.




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