Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bush's "divine aura" doesn't apply to immigration

Ah, the tried-and-true tactic of attacking Democrats has run into a little snag on the immigration issue. You see, the position Republicans are attacking (the possibility of a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants) is essentially the president’s own position. So the trick: “’…is how to put the Democrats in a box without attacking the president,’ said one aide, speaking on condition of anonymity.” (From this article on My Way news. HT: Sullivan).

I suppose it’s OK for Republicans to criticize Bush’s immigration policy, but it’s not OK for Democrats to criticize his Iraq policy without being branded traitors. I find it rather mind-boggling that Republicans can try to bludgeon their opponents with this whole commander-in-chief-dear-leader-cult-of-personality thing. Yet when the House disagrees with his immigration reform package, they feel free to ignore him, to be embarrassed by him. What about the fact that he’s a born-again Christian who has heart-to-hearts with God? If God talked to him about invading Iraq, he probably talked to him about immigration reform, too. Surely it is nothing short of blasphemous to oppose him on immigration policy?

There’s this lazy narrative out there that the Republicans are united and the Democrats are divided (see today’s NYT article on Kerry for a prime example). But on immigration, the Republicans are divided between their xenophobic base on the one hand and their pro-cheap labor corporate backers on the other. Some Republicans think they can ride this issue to victory in November 2006. I say let them run with it, and the Democrats should actively court both the corporations and the Latino community. If the Republicans become the angry white people’s party, they may win the next election or two, but they are demographically doomed. Rove knows this; that’s why Bush is pushing (or appearing to push) “comprehensive” reform. But the angry, scared, Latino-fearing part of his base will have none of it.

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