Monday, July 02, 2007

In a nutshell. . .

This will probably be the last thing I post on the failed immigration bill, but I couldn't let this Arizona Star Opinion Piece go without comment. If you want a real reason why the bill failed, look at how it was being defended and pushed. This piece of "journalism" demonstrates all of this succinctly. Short and facts and sound argument it relies entirely on emotionalism and venom. Certainly not the way to win a consensus. Here is my rebuttal of the piece:

By the end of last week, every politician who could get to a phone or a computer was eager to let the world know how disappointed he or she was over the death of the immigration bill.

Those were the people, like Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who had made a valiant but unsuccessful effort to create an immigration bill that would lure hard-liners from the far right and far left into the center.

Mr Portillo, and I assume that this is Mr. Portillo, should go ahead and list the names of the politicians “disappointed” about the death of the Bill. Last I checked the vote was 53-46 which would signal to me that a majority of the Senate wasn’t really all that broken up about it.

Indeed, Senator Kyl’s own valiancy should be called into question during the second iteration. He surely voted for the bill, but his advocacy became subservient to Graham, Lott, and the administration. That would possibly be a result of seeing the damage his fellow deal makers were taking back home. That Randy Pullen gets around.

That didn't happen. Narrow-mindedness won the day. Anyone who sees this as a victory for America is living in a fantasyland.

Wow, an editorial masterpiece! As someone deliciously points out in the comments section, “Narrow-mindedness” isn’t even a word. Three sentences in and he is already resorted to name calling. Do you think that just maybe this might have been part of the problem in the first place? In the lack of solid evidence or argument to support the immigration bill, this seemed to be the preferred method of convincing America. Here’s a hint, you want to pass a six hundred page law that drastically changes the status quo, it is your job to convince the people. It is not your opponent’s duty. If you cannot do this, your law deserves to lose on it’s merits. Accusing others of narrow-mindedness is not a defense.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen reflected the views of many of the critics when he declared that the defeat of the immigration bill was "a great day for Americans in general and the grassroots of the Republican Party."

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps called the death of the immigration bill "a small but significant victory . . . in the fight to secure our nation's borders."

It is questionable whether either Pullen or the militia reflects the views of most Republicans or most Americans. Certainly their views are opposite of those expressed repeatedly on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which is arguably the most conservative mainstream newspaper in the country.

What is questionable is the editor’s evidence that somehow most Republicans or even Americans were for the Bill. If support appears in the Editorial section of the Wall Street Journal, it must be insanely popular. I wonder if the editors would hold that to be true of all issues that the Wall Street Journal editorial board writes about? I’ll hold them to it.

Now, for those who do not live in a “fantasyland” here is actual polling evidence to back up claims of the Bills unpopularity:

Dem Poll finds Tepid Support for Immigration Bill
Bush Sinking Along with Immigration Bill
Just 22% Favor Stalled Immigration Bill

In fact the only supportive polling that I ever saw was polling that culled out some favorable points out of the Bill and asked about them. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t actually work that way.

There is no question, however, that both Pullen and the militia reflect an opinion consistent with that of the John Birch Society, which says, "The problem facing the nation along the southern border with Mexico is not so much immigration as invasion."

For those who missed the previous MINUTEMEN!!! association, Mr. Portillo throws in MILITIAS!! And THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY!!! for added effect. I don’t remember any of those groups being part of the larger debate, but whatever. . .

By extension, this view holds that those here illegally are nothing more than criminals, regardless of how long they've been here or what their achievements have been or how much they have contributed to the U.S. economy.

If “by extension” means, “please wait while I construct a suitable straw man.” Please check the number of Democrats that voted against this Bill. I’ll play their silly game, however. Very few view those hear illegally as “nothing more” than criminals, but what part of illegal is hard to understand? If “contributing to the US economy” is all that is needed to justify illegal action, then we better free everyone jailed on account of Enron (my straw man is bigger than yours). And it is not like those employed illegally are some type of Peace Corps operation to improve America’s economy. They are here to make more money than they could back home. Obviously laudable in terms of achieving more for their families, but not enough on its face for America to obviate many of its current laws to accommodate them. It is the job of the Bill supporters to make a sufficiently convincing case for this. They did not.

But those who cheer the death of the immigration bill in effect cheer the death of progress. The bill's defeat does nothing except maintain the status quo, which is precisely what the critics were fighting against. By a roll-call vote of 46-53, those who were unhappy with the bill basically shot themselves in the foot.

Ahem, that would be 53-46 AGAINST which is not at all insignificant.

Failure to adopt a comprehensive immigration law will not result in a protective bubble over the United States, nor will it lead to a long line of buses carrying 12 million illegal residents out of the country.

Nor would passing this bill. Enforcing the laws already on the books, and avoiding this mess of a bill, however, could possibly keep that 12 million from reaching 20-25 million is short order. Please see 1986 immigration bill for further detail. It is up to Bill proponents to show how passing this Bill is good for anybody outside of illegal residents, firms that hire illegal residents, and Democratic politicians wishing to inflate their voter totals. Here’s a hint, calling those who need convincing names is not a good place to start. An “out of the shadows” reference is due in 3.. 2.. 1..

On the contrary, maintaining the status quo means the estimated 12 million undocumented workers will continue playing a game of cat and mouse with immigration authorities. The rejected bill would have set up a system for bringing those people out of the shadows. Amnesty was not a gift without strings; certainly it led to citizenship, but it was a difficult and cumbersome process. It was not carte blanche.

Thank you for at least identifying Amnesty by its proper term, now we just need to work on the “undocumented” euphemism. Honestly, that is a step forward. And yes, the Z visa program was pretty much Carte Blanche. That was the killing point of the whole bill. Remove the Z visa and this bill passes quite handily, at least on the Republican side. But there I go assuming the editorial board has actually read the bill. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t get a 51 foot ladder reference here.

The bill that died addressed that issue, as well as the need for beefed up border security. Voting to allow the bill to proceed by ending debate were 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans — including Kyl and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — and independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. Voting to block the bill by allowing debate to continue were 37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont. One senator, Tim Johnson, D-S.D., did not vote.
Kyl's theory is that the bill's failure was part of the larger voter backlash. A significant number of Americans, he says, lack confidence in the government's ability to secure the border, issue passports and take care of emergencies like Hurricane Katrina.

"Conservative activists," Kyl said, have "a very firm view that the government is unable to get anything right." Those activists had "a huge impact" on the Senate vote, he said.
Kyl may be right, but it seems to be the most positive spin possible to explain the influence of a bunch of fear-mongering, do-nothing pontificators who have been polluting the airwaves all year.

Jon Kyl is exactly right on the money. And this supposed “bunch of fear-mongering, do-nothing pontificators who have been polluting the airwaves all year” happen to be his constituents by a very large margin. And it appears that the “do-nothing” pontificators seem to accomplished what your pitiful editorial board could not. Just an observation.

Now they've achieved their goal, which means Congress will not revisit the immigration issue until after the 2008 presidential election.

That’s entirely up to Congress. Perhaps they could try submitting a bill through committee, giving it a proper debate, and not depend upon unfinished legislation (which cannot be debated), parliamentary tricks, and a rushed timeline to attempt to club down any possible objections. This is especially true if you are depending upon Harry Reid, who looks a lot like Jeff Sessions’ rented mule.

In the 12 days that ended on Wednesday, 11 bodies were found in the desert between the Mexican border and Tucson.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the non-sequitur emotional appeals? The same 11 would have died had the bill been signed. It is quite plausible to argue that more would have died due to an influx of migrants who wanted to take advantage of the Bill’s provisions.

How many more will die before Congress musters the courage to act on an immigration bill that includes a humane process for regulating the flow of foreign workers into the United States?
We've heard all the critics who say such laws already exist, of course, but it doesn't take a genius to see that those laws are not working.

I would invite the author to show me the provision in the Bill that “includes a humane process for regulating the flow of foreign workers into the United States.” As far as I could tell most of the benefits occur for those who are already here, unless you can get onto the “chain migration” route. There may be provisions for new labor to enter, but they are at a significant disadvantage to those who are already here illegally, almost to the point of being laughable. The CBO estimated that the bill would only discourage illegal immigration by 25% even if all the requested enforcement measures were administered in good faith.

And, indeed, critics DO say that the laws exist, but they are not being enforced which lies at the crux of the entire argument. At some point promising MORE enforcement options when little to none have been enforced to date becomes a lot like trying to pay off your real house with Monopoly money. If there was a sustained, good-faith effort to enforce existing law, immigration reform or even amnesty could not be stopped. I would probably be an advocate. I believe, however, voters are tired of “I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

A new approach is needed that includes a guest-worker program, tighter border security and a way to legalize those who are here and have proved themselves worthy of citizenship.
Every member of Congress knows that is needed. However, it is revealing that even a bipartisan effort led by Kyl, a staunch conservative, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a staunch liberal, was unable to build a consensus.

The immigration vote was one that will cost us dearly until more reasonable voices make themselves heard.

There is no grand law that states that all provisions of a better immigration plan need to be contained in one bill. That is just idiotic. Now if you want to argue that there are parts of a plan that are better hid in a 600 page document because they are boondoggles or would be wildly unpopular if scrutinized on their own, then, yes, I would agree.

And the self-styled “more reasonable” voices were heard. Indeed a vast majority of the media fell into this category. Its just that their arguments weren’t and still aren’t convincing. Bummer that whole media monopoly thing didn’t work out for you like you planned.


Sirocco said...

Excellent post. I especially like:

"Here’s a hint, you want to pass a six hundred page law that drastically changes the status quo, it is your job to convince the people."

Obviously the bill proponents were unable to fulfill this responsibility.

There is a lot I could comment on, but while I disagree with some of your points I agree with the larger theme. I do think the problem with taking the "better" parts of the bill out is that the different sides have diametrically opposing views on what those "better" points are.

Anonymous said...

Napolitano reluctantly signed the very radical employer sanctions bill today forwarded by the Republican House and Senate.

Who will get credit? Who will get the blame?

My money is on business not being happy with Napolitano, but really taking a hard hard look at there support of the party of Pullen and those who align with him.

Republicans are starting to sound strangely populist and are about to push away business and those who fund you.

Look out!

Framer said...


Again, illegal labor vs. more taxation and regulation. Do you actually run a business? That is really not a hard call to make. Especially as a great majority of businesses do not hire illegal immigrants, and many, in fact, are harmed when their competition does.

Consequently, a similar bill would make it through the US Senate and House if proposed without all the other strings attached. It would be the ideal place to start if immigration reform is truly a priority for anyone.

Anonymous said...

Only one observation. What is the "Arizona Star" that their opinion even matters?

Anonymous said...

It's a rivalry thing. It's always fun to watch the blogs rip apart the old-school media.