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.