Monday, May 21, 2007

Not the Way to Win Friends and Influence People

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff mouthed off against opponents of the new immigration bill last Friday: "I understand there's some people who expect anything other than capital punishment is an amnesty."

In another interview, Chertoff said: "I understand that some people think it’s not tough enough. Maybe they want people thrown in jail for 10 years or they want people executed."

Gee, thanks, Mr. Secretary. Wonderful attempt at reasonable discourse with those with whom you disagree.

What about "Secure the borders first" don't you understand, Mr. Secretary? Isn't securing the borders supposed to be a priority for you? Pretending this bill does that is a patronizing insult to your fellow Americans.

Unfortunately, as David Frum notes, this is the same playbook we saw during the Harriet Miers debacle, when the White House lashed out against its critics, calling them "sexist" and worse.

The White House seems to have a completely tin ear about their fellow Republicans and two of the most significant issues of our time: the Supreme Court and the borders. Saying "trust us" just isn't enough, especially when, in the case of the amnesty program, we've trusted before (can anyone say "Simpson-Mazzoli"?). Fortunately, in the Miers case, conservatives ultimately prevailed and we ended up with someone who seems to be a superb justice on the Supreme Court. We can only hope for the same success on this issue.

The White House needs to work a lot harder on building bridges with their supporters, not burning them.

Chertoff should be ashamed of himself. He owes conservatives everywhere an abject apology for his nasty remarks. That was a new low from an administration I have been proud to support.


Blogger UGN said...

If the administration were to say something about illegals as callous as what Chertoff just said about American citizens, they would be marching in the streets tomorrow. I can't tell you how angry this makes me.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

You and me both. The administration wants to hand out goodies like tax amnesty to illegals like it's Christmas, giving illegals privileges average Americans could only dream of, while simultaneously saying American citizens have some sort of blood lust. It's part of the same playbook that calls those of us who believe in the law and national sovereignty "nativists" -- only worse. We desire murder?

Good gravy. How does one respond?


10:00 PM  
Blogger LargeBill said...

What I thinks galls most conservatives is the dishonesty. These clowns think they can lie and we are too stupid to understand. When I hear Chertoff claim it isn't amnesty because the crooks would have to pay a fine I feel like screaming at the TV. These people are working for less than minimum wage. Is Chertoff really dumb enough to think they have $5,000 in their dresser drawer to pay a fine?

If our representatives would actually listen they would learn our concerns are not racist. It isn't racist to want people who come to live and work in this country to assimilate. It isn't racist to want those same people to follow our laws.

Most of us are not against increasing the numbers of authorized immigrants. However, we do want people desiring to immigrate to ask before they come here. We do want to know they weren't crooks in their home country, etc.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I completely agree, Large Bill. I find it disheartening to hear a conservative like Fred Barnes sit on Brit Hume's show insisting "Some people don't like immigrants," completely ignoring the issues the trouble many conservatives, such as real (not promised) border security, amnesty on back taxes (talk about "amnesty"!), putting illegal immigrants in line ahead of legal immigrants, and so on.

We need straight talk combined with respect; at the moment we're receiving neither.

Best wishes,

2:16 PM  

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