Pardon me, but I'd like to get a little serious here ...
Yes, I would like to get a little serious this afternoon. See, I was cruising through the 'Sphere last night looking for litte nuggets of news and interest. What I discovered is what I had discovered earlier last night, which was most of the news was already talked about, dealt with, and shelved for the day already. Once I put the obligatory notice up about the new issue of Common Conservative being up(yes, our new column is up there), I was about to retire to one of our favorite chatrooms for some typical fun of befuddling simple-minded moonbats that dare to invade our room. It's a conservative room, but around six o'clock our time every night, the trolls begin to meander in. So, last night was target rich, and I'm sure more than one when crying to their mommies that we were, once again, unfairly using facts and logic to ruin their view of reality. Cest la vie.
But before I did that, I spotted a post by Hugh Hewitt regarding the immigration bill. He writes, in part, the following:
At this point I take out my Harriet Miers Fan Club charter membership card and put it on the table: This push for this bill is a disaster, Mr. President. Much much worse than the Miers nomination on which you had many good arguments, or the ports deal, on which you had fewer. On this issue there is no place to stand, and you are asking your friends in the Senate to go down fighting for a bad bill. It is a bad bill because no one believes the government can conduct millions of background checks (many spokesmen for the bill don't even pretend to know where the paperwork will go!). No one believes the bill will halt the next 12 million. No one believes you are going to assure the fence gets built. No one believes that the employer verification system will get done or work when some half-assed version of it does get done. No one believes that the probationary visas don't automatically convert illegal aliens with few if any rights into Due Process Clause covered legal migrants, with a Ninth Circuit ready and waiting to keep them here for decades.
No one believes passing the bill will help catch the jihadist sleepers already in the country. The constituency that has always been with you except on the ports deal --the security voter-- has left the room. If you want them back, act quickly.
This isn't a talk radio fueled shout from the far right. It isn't the Minutemen or the Tancredo people. It is the GOP faithful who don't want it, nor anything like it.
Huddle up, D.C. GOPers, and unveil a new and very different, very improved version. Couple it with the argument that Hillary is coming and this is the best we will get if we lose the White House. But the deal has to be one worth taking, not the same deal we'd get under a second President Clinton. That's why the political rebelion is here: This looks like a bill that Hillary would have sold as tough on enforcement. We can wait two years for that.
First off, don't hold it against him that he was in favor of Harriet Miers. He had his reasons, and articulated them well. But in bringing that up, he reminded me of something important, and I think the leaders in DC have overlooked this, and much to their own foolishness. The immmigration bill marks the fourth serious, knock-down, drag-out fight that our party has gone through. Now I'm an old hat at this. Being thirty-five, I've watched politics for a good deal of time, and I've spent a great deal of my formative years learning about politics, and the ideology I most closely identify with. It's not the first time that the party has been split on an issue, and it won't be the last. But the blunders that have been made over the last six years with regard to the party, and it's de facto leader -- President George W. Bush -- does not make these catfights any prettier.
We went after each other over McCain/Feingold; due in no small part to the restrictions placed on our political speech, but also how the legislation tended to protect incumbants more than ridding the cycle of "soft money." Harriet Miers was the next big tipping point for the GOP as, in our humble opinion, the president nominated someone that wasn't qualified to be a jurist ont he high court; a fear confirmed when it was revealed she was taking a "two week crash course" on the Constitution. (For the record, though I've never spent one day in law school, I have devoted the last twenty years of my life in the study of the founding document. I think I understand it a bit better than Harriet Miers did.) Regardless, the ire raised int he base reached a crescendo that drove her form the nomination, and we instead ended up with Sam Alito -- a far more qualified jurist. Then there was the Dubai Ports deal. This deal would have allowed a company from a Middle Eastern nation to oversee security at our ports during a time of war; a war that is within that region. Too risky, some of us said, and again we watched the base split on this. (Again, on the record here folks, it's telling when Jimmy Carter and George Bush are ont he same page. To be brutally honest, that's when you know something's a bad deal.) And now we have the immigration debate.
This marks the fourth schism in the last six years this nation, and the party, has had to endure. Each time we've taken deeper swipes at one another. Each time the rhetoric has gotten meaner and nastier. Hey, I'm accustomed to it. Remember the caht room I was referring to earlier? I've had my fair share of dust-ups with moonbats AND conservatives there. But I guess what irritates me most about these little arguments is this:
WE ARE SUPPOSED to be the party of ideas and sensible debate. They're supposed to be the party with dead ideas, and vitriol for debate. So what gives, all of a sudden, when our own side starts sounding like their side? What do I mean?
Demogoguery. The president says that our reservations to this bill amount to fear-mongering; "not wanting what is best for the country." Linda Chavez decided to resort to a similar sort of rhetoric that Democrats have used for years against Republicans; she played the racial victim card. (While Ms. Chavez does claim Hispanic ancestory, that side of her family has been here since before the nation was founded, so drop the "Go back to Mexico" rhetoric. It makes you no better than they are.) Those that are looked at and respected as leaders of the Republican/conservative movement sound a lot like the people who have been calling us racist xenophobes for the last forty years.
I bring this up not because of the more seasoned and savvy members of the movement, such as Hugh, or Captain Ed, or even myself. I bring it up for Marcie. Marcie is only 20, and participated in the adult right to cast her vote for the first time in 2004. While she hasn't been in the process long, she's just as astute as I am when it comes to politics. Anyone who's read her posts here knows this. But the youth question comes into play when she sees this sort of division going on in the party she chose because, like me, it identified closer to her beliefs than any other party out there. (I disregard third parties because there's no cohesion to their platform, and no real leadership in their ranks. Though I'll admit I did toy with the idea of the Constitution party for the briefest of nanoseconds.)
What she, and a number of your people see, is a party that's tearing itself apart over this one issue. And believe me, it's by no means a small one. Anyone with two brain cells available to them that can rub together fr the friction to create a thought knew deep down inside thsat this issue was going to be, shal we say, "heated." When members of our own party are sniping at the base over our decision that this bill stinks, it sends the wrong message to the base, and especially it's younger members. Let's face facts here: People my age, Hugh's age, etc., aren't going to be around to carry the torch forever. At some point, those youthful, energetic masses will take up the mantle. But, if this sort of scurrilous swiping continues, there may not be too many of them left to assume the much needed roles of standard bearers. They'll be turned off; driven from the party because the party is acting like the Democrats usually do -- spoiled, rotten do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do petulant brats. C'mon, that's the turn-off that kept us away fromt he Democrats. We're the party of adults. They're the party of emotional children.
I'm not saying that people like Marcie, or any of her friends, will go Democrat. (First, I say "her friends" meaning those she goes to school with. I myself have only ever met a couple, and they're fairly sharp when it comes to politics. Not fully polished yet, but that comes with time. Second, I know Marcie won't switch parties, though I can't say the same for those friends of hers I o know. I don't know them well enough, and they're not GOP. They're Independents right now.) What I am saying is that when you turn people off, especially the younger ones, you risk cutting off your nose to spite your face. Case in point, this observation from Bryan at Hot Air. Going into an election cycle, and RNC donations are down 40%, and due in no small part to the fracas splitting the party right now.
That's the legacy that awaits the next generation of voters. That's the legacy that will be left behind by President Bush, and his immediate push for amnesty. Ah, ah, ah, I don't want to hear the pro-immigration crowd going ape over this. It is amnesty. In a nutshell it is, and they know it. ANYONE who has read the fdraft, and have been keeping up with the amendments being tacked on in the Senate knows damn good and well that this is a form of amnesty. But our side is being painted in a light that's not true, is far from accurate, and the broad briush is in the hands of the president and his water bearers.
Believe it or not, Marcie and I fancy ourselves as Reagan conservatives. And in the end, Reagan granted 2.7 million illegal aliens amnesty in 1986. I disagreed with it then. Marcie didn't have much to say about it as she was about two months old at the time. (The IRCA was signed on 6 November 1986.) But she's read the history of it, and she disagreed it was wrong to do it just ont he sheer fact that it bumped everyone else trying to come here for citizenship to the back of the bus in favor of those who broke the laws to get here in the first place. Likewise, she has noted that because it was granted in 1986, it only encourgaed more illegal immigration. Now, she sees it happening again. So do I.
Only this time our concerns go to a simple, undeniable fact. In 1986, the nation was promised an increase in border enforcement and control, and comprehensive security measures to deal with the flow; eventually hoping to stem the tide. Of course, it's hardly possible to stop every single one of them that try to cross our borders. But the sheer fact remains that the goverment didn't follow through then, and they're now asking everyone in America to trust them this time. "This time we'll make it work." Marcie noted to me when this debate started that if they broke their word before, why should we trust them now, especially given the vehement opposition to certain security measures. We called for and fought for the border fence last year. Should this bill be passed, less than half of that fence will be built before "regularization" begins. A farce in it's own right because as soon as it's passed, people will be lining up for their Z Visas; a form of regularization.
So our concerns go to the security first stage before we deal with those here. Build the fence, hire the 25,000 border patrol agents needed, provide -- to the public -- who will be conducting these background checks -- and be serious about it -- rather than the three-ring circus proposed in the draft, and put a provision in that calls for extra scrutiny on "people of interest" from "countries of interest." (That means Asia, Africa, and the Middle East -- all the places where jihadis happen to be, for the most part.)
And that is where her greatest frustration lies. She simply can't believe or comprehend why we're getting this jam-down. That's exactly what this is because, as she has observed to me countless times since this debate began, Congress and the president aren't listening to the concerns of the nation. Forget the base, they're not listening to the nation, as a whole. Their oaths are to the nation, and they're breaking those oaths by forcing this upon the nation. They're blowing off the security concerns. They're thumbing their noses at experts like robert Rector, who is warning of a massive economic fallout should this go through. Worst of all, they're attacking detractors rather than debating it civilly ans sensibly.
I see how much this frustrates her, and at times it even sickens her when she sees this sort of back-biting and character assassination going on. These people are acting as though they're up on high, and none of what we say matters in their world. They know best. The all important federal government knows what's best for us. Ronald Reagan once stated in his Fisrt Inaugural address that "Government is not the solution to our problems; governemtn IS the problem." He was right then, and he's right now. The government's comprehensive reform is no reform. It's a punchline to a very bad joke.
In the end, this bill could cripple this nation in ways that have yet to be determined. But for the party, they're alienating people like Marcie, and the other younger members of the party. this isn't how we act, and I condemn those that have acted this way. Instead of taking what level-headed, sensible criutics are saying, and examining those concerns, they've opted to ignore them and go on the attack. What they're sacrificing in the end may be what condemns them to the darkest regions of politics for years to come.
Think about it.