Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, April 14, 2006


Democrats behaved disgustingly in the Social Security debate last year. President Bush made a good-faith effort to tackle one of America's most serious long-run problems. He was willing to make the system considerably more progressive. Democrats refused to negotiate; it was demagogue, demagogue, demagogue.

A bit unsavory but perhaps tactically justifiable was their behavior last week, when 191 Democrats voted to leave the "felon" language in HR4437, a bill drafted by wicked House Republicans who wanted to label illegal immigrants and those who help them criminals. It turned out that the public, though it has a good deal to learn about immigration, was conscientious enough to be horrified by this, so now the "felon"-Republicans are backing away from the law they just passed. More damaging was Harry Reid's deliberate sinking of a compromise bill in the Senate which would have given millions of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Credit for the passage of a big immigration bill would probably have gone to Bush-- who raised the issue and has been agitating about it-- and paid big dividends to non-"felon"-Republicans with the Hispanic vote. Reid's move seems like a cynical way to keep Hispanics' votes without taking any risks for the benefit of their undocumented brethren.

So now, all of a sudden, the Republicans are cynically trying to blame Harry Reid for the "felon" bill, in an effort to make the Democrats' cynicism backfire:

"Harry Reid is not an honest broker in this debate and has proven he will manipulate the issue at any cost," RNC spokesman Danny Diaz said. He would not disclose how much the group spent on the radio campaign.

The 60-second spot says in Spanish that Reid "blocked our leaders from working together" and blames Democrats for legislation that passed the Republican-controlled House that would make illegal immigrants subject to felony charges.

"Reid's Democrat allies voted to treat millions of hardworking immigrants as felons," the ad says, "while President Bush and Republican leaders work for legislation that will protect our borders and honor our immigrants."

I wish them luck. It's good to see Republicans turning against their own bill. And it would be nice to see Harry Reid suffer for obstructing a Bush agenda that a more decent Democratic party would find much to admire in. And on the other hand, the more congressmen roast in the flames of public indignation for the bill they passed, the better.


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