Immigration bill collapses
The collapse of the immigration bill endorsed by President Bush last week (see Washington Post) was neither unexpected nor terribly disappointing. To accomplish a genuine "comprehensive" reform would take months of careful "ground work" and deal-making, which did not happen. This is a hot potato issue that exposes the dirty little secret about our "steroid" economy, i.e., one in which growth is stimulated by artificial means. Nobody wants to face up to that, so the status quo keeps getting worse, while politicians pretend otherwise. The Republicans blew their best chance at such a reform last year, and the best we can now hope for under a Democratic Congress is something that strengthens border security and penalizes businesses that hire illegal workers.
Columnist Robert D. Novak pins part of the blame on the passive attitude of Senate leaders such as Kentucky's Mitch McConnell. He and others who are facing reelection campaigns next year have become timid about taking forthright stands on controversial issues, as many conservative activists have been in rebellion mode against any kind of "amnesty." (I too strongly oppose any blanket "wiping of the slate.") Novak writes that failure to deal with immigration is a reflection of the more general malaise among Republicans:
It is difficult to exaggerate the pessimism about the immediate political future voiced by Republicans in Congress when not on the record. With an unpopular president waging an unpopular war, they foresee electoral catastrophe in 2008, with Democratic gains in both the House and Senate and Hillary Clinton in the White House.
I think Novak is being just a little too harsh on McConnell. The plight of Republican legislators at present results to a large extent from the lack of concern under the Bush administration for serious policy analysis. The idea of standing on one's own record is out of fashion; these days it's all about "getting out the vote" -- and, too often, smearing your opponents...
Blog meltdown again
"Spank That Donkey" and "General Grievous' Dog" are on a rampage once again, showing that hopes for party unity any time soon is out of the question. "STD" just cannot let go of Scott Sayre's defeat, and evidently has learned nothing at all from the voters' emphatic rejection of the nasty mudslinging against Sen. Hanger and his supporters. Since last week, I noticed that "GGD" has metamorphasized from a right-wing political porn fest into the ersatz-liberal "Teddy's Dog," a play on the pro-Hanger "Teddy's Truth" blog (as in Teddy Roosevelt), but referring instead to Teddy Kennedy. The blogroll includes various Democrats, leftists, and me (very funny), and it briefly included bogus material suggesting that I was its creator (not funny at all). That was removed after I complained to Blogger about the fraudulent identity content, but this case is not closed yet...
This would be a good time to see whether any of the pro-Sayre bloggers have enough good sense and integrity to distance themselves from "GGD," before he drags the Republican Party right into the sewer.