Thursday, May 18, 2006

The President's Point of View

An interesting discussion today at The Corner about the President's motivations for the amnesty and guest worker programs.

Is the President "morally and emotionally opposed to immigration enforcement, especially on the Mexican border," because "he sees it as uncompassionate and un-Christian"?

Or is one of Peggy Noonan's theories correct, that Bush sees himself as preserving the Hispanic vote for Republicans? Or is her other, more cutting, theory correct: the President doesn't like "the base"?

I don't believe he doesn't like the base, but I think at times he doesn't understand us. There is a bit of a disconnect. Whether that disconnect is caused by his assessment of political realities (dealing with Congress, future votes, etc.), his "compassionate conservatism," or otherwise, I'm not sure.

As I conclude writing this post, Mark Steyn is discussing the Corner discussion with Hugh Hewitt, and they're also discussing their concerns about a permanent underclass if the guest worker program goes forward. Steyn is also pointing out that illegal workers who pay a fine on the "path" to citizenship will receive a net financial gain, full Social Security benefits, if today's Senate amendment is reflected in the final law. Can we afford that? It might be that the House should draw a line in the sand on that issue.

I do find it helpful to remember that despite the disconnect on some issues, we are far better off in 2006 than we would have been under a President Gore or Kerry -- or with a Speaker Pelosi. We have two solid new seats on the Supreme Court, lower taxes, and a commitment to fighting the War on Terror. We need to work harder to push the important domestic issues: border security, less spending, and more judges confirmed, and simultaneously remember that if we don't bend in some places, as we fight for what we believe, we might lose our part of a loaf and end up with nothing. If we can have concrete border security and assure ourselves of national security and stopping the huge numbers of people entering this country, that's worth a lot, as Tony Blankley suggested -- though it may not be worth bankrupting already-in-jeopardy social security.

Hugh Hewitt makes a good point on his radio show, however -- if we lose the Presidency or Congress, we'll end up with judges giving illegal aliens Social Security anyway. (Witness California's attempt to withhold public benefits from illegal aliens, Proposition 187, being declared unconstitutional by the courts.) Hugh, like Tony Blankley, is a pragmatist and suggests the best thing is to fight hard for the security, which would at least stop the numbers madness for the future, as well as help secure us from terrorists, and we may have to let the financial issues go. Sigh...


Blogger Tran Sient said...

'I don't believe he doesn't like the base, but I think at times he doesn't understand us.'

I think it is more likely that he doesn't care what anyone thinks once he decides he is right on an issue. Republicans loved this trait when it came to fighting terrorism. Now he is seen as disconnected with the base. The problem this time is that he is wrong about the guest worker/amnesty plan.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think there's some truth in what you say. When he believes he's come to the right decision, he generally sticks to it (Harriet Miers being a notable exception). This trait can be both a positive and negative quality.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts -- Best wishes, Laura

8:08 PM  

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