We delude. You Decide.

A mostly political Weblog.
April 9 2006 3:18 PM

We Delude, You Decide

Do pols actually believe the press clips on immigration?

(Continued from Page 6)

Frame B: "Reward people who have broken the law": Mystery Pollster answers the call to assess the Time "April Fool's Poll" on immigration. He also provides a concise summary of the battle to "frame" the issue (and a one-stop review of the polling so far). ... 5:12 P.M.

Get Frist, but First Get Frist Second! Joe Klein piles on Sen. Frist, citing the "nuclear option" maneuver:

A series of terrible leadership moves have ensued. There was Frist's effort to deploy the "nuclear option" — that is, to perform radical surgery on the Senate's filibuster rules in order to allow votes on President Bush's more extreme judicial appointments. But the nuclear option was thwarted when 14 Senate moderates cut a deal to keep the rules and allow votes on some of the appointees. "We saved him on that," said a G.O.P. staff member involved in the negotiations. "Frist never had the votes he needed for the nuclear option."

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Frist sure seems clumsy, but, um, wasn't his "nuclear option" threat, in the end, kind of successful? Kind of wildly successful? By provoking the Gang of 14's compromise, with its "extraordinary circumstances" language, Frist got two quite conservative (and anti-abortion) Supreme Court nominees confirmed. They are now on the court, handing down decisions--what liberal interest groups had been preparing for years to prevent. The vaunted Dem filibuster threat collapsed completely. If Frist pulled this off without having the votes--a bluff!--then doesn't that make him positively brilliant?

Also: Do we need Joe Klein to sloppily amplify the week's CW? ..

P.S.: Do you think it's an accident that Pile-On Frist Week comes when the MSM is pushing the Senate to adopt the Judiciary Committee's semi-amnesty approach while Frist appears to be resisting ... sorry, I mean "pandering"? ...

P.P.S.:  As Luciannenotes, Frist's push for a quick vote  may not produce a result conservatives like. If you opposed the Specter/McCain/Kennedy approach, you might want to stop the MSM stampede and let the backlash build. ... If the Senate does pass a liberal bill the press likes, who will write the first news analysis about how the Majority Leader has finally found his groove? ... Update: Frist's early tough anti-"amnesty" rhetoric may actually turn out to be an effective strategy for selling out the immigration conservatives--i.e., when he pronounces whatever compromise gets cobbled together  to be not an amnesty. Only panderers get to go to China! ...

P.P.P.S.: Who's the whiny "Republican member of the Judiciary Committee" who gave Klein an anti-Frist quote ("He forced us to rush a bill. ... Then he didn't like what we produced and so he filed his own bill, which is dead on delivery. He's not even part of the real negotiations at this point. It's pretty sad.") Sounds a lot like Sen. Lindsey Graham to some GOP Hill aides. ... 2:33 P.M. link

Note to John Dickerson: Why is it a "pander" to oppose legalization of existing illegal immigrants, but "thoughtful, nuanced" statesmanship to embrace the desperate attempt of Republicans to twist policy in order to placate an ethnic interest group because it contains a lot of future swing voters? ...  Dickerson is trying to disguise substantive Respectable Beltway CW--that somehow offering "earned" legalization isn't an "invitation to more lawlessness" **--as a high-minded process objection (to "pandering"). ...  Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were similarly criticized for pandering when they denounced the pre-1996 welfare system--"boob bait for Bubbas," said the thoughtful, nuanced Sen. Moynihan said of Clinton's plan. But Reagan and Clinton were right while Moynihan and the respectable Beltway CW (including George Will) were wrong. ...

**--Of course it's an "invitation to more lawlessness." Those who obey the law and wait in Mexico don't get the chance to "earn" legalization in this fashion. They certainly don't get the chance to wait in line and earn legalization while living and working in the United States. Even making existing illegals go to the end of the current queue (as the Senate Judiciary bill claims to do) doesn't wipe out that advantage--the advantage they've reaped of jumping the queue in the first place. The point may be lost on journalists, but it won't be lost on those considering entering illegally in the future. 6:25 P.M.