Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Can Bush please anyone on immigration?

I haven't yet commented on Bush's well-received immigration address, but, to be fair, immigration is one of the few issues, if not the only issue, where I actually think he's on the right track, more or less, proposing a moderate course that includes both border enforcement and compassion.

For now, though, I'll hand the ball to Kevin Drum, who has put it well: "Bush seems to have done a good job of targeting the political middle, and these folks are going to be pretty disappointed when he's unable to deliver on his oh-so-reasonable plan. As near as I can tell, Bush's xenophobe base is more pissed than ever and planning to stay pissed; the House is still in no mood to compromise from its round 'em up and herd 'em home bill; Democrats are going to continue to hate him regardless; and the folks who were so impressed last night are going to feel like they were suckered when it becomes clear who really runs the Republican Party and how little clout Bush really has on this issue. By this time next month nobody's going to like him."

And, I mean, even if you don't like Bush and don't even care for his proposals for dealing with illegal immigration, aren't you happy to see the right rise up in anger against him? Consider the reaction from Congressional Republicans, for example -- see here. In the blogosphere, Michelle Malkin is naming the names of those Republicans who "sided with the open-borders Dems". Great, eh? She's hardly alone in her opposition to Bush's moderation. (See Joe Gandelman here and here.)

Immigration is the new wedge issue. To his credit, even if I don't agree completely with him, he's trying to steer a difficult course between the Scylla of amnesty and the Charybdis of detention and deportation.

The base will destroy him.

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