The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, May 25, 2007
Is Bush setting the Troops up for Defeat with Immigration Bill?
Bush needs a unified Republican Party going into the fall, which may be the most difficult moment of his presidency. The most likely scenario is that Gen. David Petraeus will report modest to substantial improvements in the war in Iraq, but not definitively enough to fend off Democratic efforts to use his report as a key occasion to end the war.
The president must have his own party in his corner at that time. And yet the party is on the verge of self-immolation over immigration. Passage of the bill would drain most of the remaining affection and respect for Bush from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who would have to deal with the populist fallout from the bill's passage.
He needs all the help he will get. And he will lose a lot of help. What's
astonishing about the bill's arrival is that the White House knows perfectly well it's political poison. In 2004 Bush first announced his immigration reform plans, and the response from the Republican base was so violent that he immediately tabled the subject.
Last year an immigration bill surfaced and all hell broke loose again. It was the dominant subject on talk radio for two months, and helped contribute to the lassitude that overcame the GOP base in the months before the election.
So here is Bush, entering a critical period on the most critical issue of his presidency and for the nation - and he is playing salesman for a piece of legislation that divides his own supporters.
He's got that right: this bill needs to be defeated. But there are political as well as National Security reasons. And Bush needs to back down and let the People and the Congress debate this. He has had his chance to sell this albatross. The future of the Western World may depend on what happens when the funding bill comes up in the fall--and a Republican Party divided by its President is not what is needed to prevail in the War at home.
Let it go, Mr. President: it's just not worth it. And the country would be better of with a bill that protects our borders first.