Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Movement on Immigration

Is there a split among Democrats that is being underreported? You see, when there are factions among Republicans, this was touted by media outlets as a split and weakness among the GOP. But the papers didn't particularly pay attention to the fact that the Democrats face a situation nearly as bad:
Decades later, Mr. Kennedy, the liberal leader and descendant of Irish immigrants, is back in the thick of another immigration fight, pushing strongly for a bipartisan compromise that would toughen border security while providing a route to legal status for millions of illegal residents. And some of the fight is with his own Democratic colleagues.

Mr. Kennedy's drive to strike a deal with Republicans is making some in his party nervous. They worry that the senator, in his desire to bring about changes in immigration law, will cede too much to Republicans and that the end product will fall short on the guest worker and citizenship provisions favored by most Democrats. They believe Mr. Kennedy made similar miscalculations when he cut initial deals with Republicans on Medicare drug coverage and education policy.

"Just about everyone in the caucus is worried that without safeguards that this is headed into an unfair, unbalanced bill," said one Democratic senator, who would talk about internal party criticism only on the condition of anonymity.

Republicans acknowledge that Mr. Kennedy served as a valuable ally last week when he broke with the Democratic leadership in its efforts to blame Republican recalcitrance for the collapse of the immigration legislation. Mr. Kennedy, in a split with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said he was sympathetic to the Republican demand to offer amendments — a sticking point with Democrats.
Now, we've got Sen. Kennedy trying to craft some kind of compromise deal with the GOP, and as a point of fact, Kennedy's move is fractionally more damaging to Democrats than if someone from the majority party jumped the GOP ship (1 out of 44 Democrat Senators v. 1 out of 55 GOP senators [one independent, who usually votes with the Democrats]). Democrats simply have less margin for error, and any single senator that strays from their 'message' means that they've grown proportionally even weaker.

And that split has gotten people upset. Kennedy's getting slammed by those who find his comparison of civil rights to immigration rights distasteful. Some are even members of his party's core constituency. The party knows that the senior senator from Massachusetts holds tremendous sway, and if he wants to pursue this, there is little that the rest of the party can do - their numbers are such at this time that they might be able to obstruct, but they cannot deny inevitable change.

Does this mean that Kennedy has turned maverick? Well, considering that he's working with that GOP maverick, John McCain, I'd say that he's definitely crossed into maverick territory without the Times (or most anyone else for that matter) noticing - even as the Times runs this very article.

As of today, the House GOP has dropped the felony provision, but it remains to be seen what they get in return. What adds to all the confusion is that there is a serious distinction between illegal immigration, which most folks want stopped, and legal immigration, which most people have no problem with. However, many of the protests, and the coverage thereof, conflate the terms or use euphemisms to describe the situation - undocumented workers in place of illegal aliens.

A solution is still out there, but does Congress have the wherewithall to actually find it.

Others blogging the immigration issue today: BrothersJudd, GOP Bloggers, Iowa Voice, MacStansbury, Classical Values, California Conservative, Captain Ed, and Michelle Malkin.

Confederate Yankee is none too pleased by the turn of events - and thinks that Hastert has caught the Fristing disease (caving in when one should stand on the principles).

Technorati: , , , , , .

No comments: