Monday, May 29, 2006

John McIntyre on Immigration

John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics has written an extremely interesting piece on the Republicans' need to "finesse" the immigration issue, addressing the "quiet rage building among average middle class folks" on the one hand and the need not to alienate future Hispanic voters on the other. I think this is one of the best articles yet on the immigration issue, in that McIntyre presents a concrete game plan for Republican victory, both in terms of border security and politics.

As an aside, McIntyre is absolutely right that Bill Kristol represents the kind of Beltway type who just doesn't "get it." I thought he was, well, dreadful on yesterday's FOX NEWS SUNDAY, sneering that someone like Rep. Chris Shays opposes the Senate bill because Shays' Connecticut constituents just want illegal employees. His arrogance was insulting and terribly disappointing.

As McIntyre writes, the President and Congress will not benefit from the passage of "comprehensive" reform "if we are talking about any compromise that looks remotely like the Senate bill that passed with 85% Democratic support over the objections of nearly 2/3rd of Senate Republicans." He believes Congress will be lost if there is a signing ceremony for this bill with the President, Senator Kennedy, and Senator McCain.

McIntyre believes that the way this is playing out, "conventional wisdom" is being turned on its head and House Republicans are positioned to reap benefits from standing in the way of the Senate Democrats' bill.

McIntyre's suggestion: The House Republicans need to focus on halting illegal immigration and pass a true compromise bill where proven success of the borders being closed then (and only then) triggers a "path to citizenship" for those who are already here. Handled carefully, this could be a p.r. victory, appealing to both conservatives and immigrants.

Works for me.

Read the whole thing, I think he's done an excellent assessment and pointed the way toward something that would actually work. The big issue, of course, is getting the President on board with this plan, instead of continuing to push the Senate Democrats' appalling bill. A plan such as McIntyre suggests would represent a compromise on the part of House Republicans; I hope the President would also be willing to compromise on the meaning of "comprehensive" and work with his own party. If the President would back such a plan, the Senate Democrats would then be put in the position of either voting for it and handing the President a victory, or filibustering the plan and looking like obstructionists. Either way, the President and Republicans win politically.


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