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In Praise of the Do-Something Kabuki/Do-Nothing Congressional Immigration Bill Debate

June 28, 2007

So the immigration bill seems to be dead. I agree with Mickey Kaus: “this seems like a humiliating defeat for Bush and the self-styled, MSM-idolized Grand Bargainers”. And the boot-licking Bush-worshippers couldn’t be happier. What gives?

I’ve held back from commenting on this issue- partly because I don’t have strong feelings about it, partly because the feelings I do have are contradictory. There has been a lot of debate on this one in the conservative thought world- giving rise to cries of “division” and “dissent” and the “destruction of the Republican Party” etc. I see it as a healthy dialogue. Healthy being a relative term of course.

This bill was unpopular with the American people, cutting across ideological lines. It’s good that it has been tabled for now. Sometimes doing nothing is the smartest thing to do. Not that I want to give this Congress credit for being smart. I think what’s been going on is some strange ritual for someone’s benefit – the American people? The illegals? – to convince them that effort has been made and appropriate denunciations of racism uttered. Better than messing things up even worse.

How bad could it have been? I’m sympathetic to security concerns with illegal immigration, but the truth is many of the really bad guys come here through the front door legally, not the back. Whatever wall we put up won’t stop determined terrorists and criminals. Still, slowing them down is better than nothing.

In this case though, doing nothing was better than something. Hopefully the issue will be addressed in a more serious way in the future.

I wonder about this though: why is it OK to import low wage earners who reduce opportunity for the lowest income segment of America, but not OK to “outsource” jobs to other countries. It seems to be consistent, one ought to be against both.

In the end, the only thing I worry about is how (surprise, surprise) this affects support for the War. A lot of pundits are saying it will hurt Bush. Maybe it’ll give campaigning Repubs a different issue to disown Bush on. Which will be come very very important in the next year. Personally, I don’t really care what people say about Bush as long as we don’t give up the fight against terror in Iraq.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this one!

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