The conventional wisdom on immigration crumbles.

A mostly political Weblog.
May 30 2006 5:42 AM

Special Premature Gloating Edition

The bogus CW on immigration crumbles.

(Continued from Page 15)

... Bush is losing support among those who have supported him for years. Why?

A look inside the latest numbers suggests several reasons, but it appears the president's stand on immigration is the biggest drag on his support among Republicans—even more damaging than the disapproval caused by rising gas prices.

Of several issues specifically covered by the Gallup poll—the economy, foreign affairs, the situation in Iraq, terrorism, immigration, and energy policy—immigration is the only area in which more Republicans disapprove of the president's policy than approve. And they disapprove by a significant margin: 52 percent of Republicans in the survey disapprove of Bush's immigration policy, versus 40 percent who approve. [Emphasis added]

Bush has lost support on other "issues" mentioned in the poll, but nothing like the seismic collapse on immigration. Can we really read a lot into, say, the relatively "high" Republican disapproval of Bush's handling of the economy--still only 26%? (71% approve.) If Republicans are disgusted with Bush over immigration, wouldn't you expect his approval across a whole range of seemingly unrelated issues to decline?

More: On RCP, Ryan Sager argues that a hard line on immigration hurts Republicans in Western swing states, and helps them only in Southern states they've got locked up anyway.  Problems with this thesis include 1) Sager seems to assume Bush had to make a big deal of immigration one way or another. He didn't. He could have kept it backburnered; 2) Bush's immigration-battered national poll ratings, however they're geographically distributed, are sapping his efficacy across the board every day and giving the press a club with which to beat him; 3) Even with Bush making immigration a big issue, Sager points only to three contested Western House seats where a hard line hurts Republicans. In none does he show that the issue is decisive, or that Republican candidates aren't able to soften their stand if necessary to fit their constituency. Are there no three contested seats elsewhere in the country--the Northeast, say--where a hard line is helping the GOP candidate? 1:49 A.M. link

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Chuck Schumer can't act. But Bloomberg can! Who knew? 1:22 A.M.

Which Goss exit story is more damaging to Bush: 1) The story the anti-Bush left is pushing, involving hookers and poker; 2) The story the Bushies are pushing, which is that Goss was a disaster Bush imposed on the struggling CIA for 18 crucial months? Sullivan says #1. Bloggingheads disagree. ... 2:36 A.M.

I take it back--Jonathan Klein really is a genius! His networks' ratings are down 38% in prime time, and he gets the LAT's TV columnist to focus on ... a  decline of half as much at competitor Fox! (Headline:"A ratings downer for Fox News.") Patterico is prosecuting  the case. ... P.S.: At least Klein didn't offer a memorably mockable excuselike "We're down because we had such a phenomenal year last year."**  ... Oh, wait.

**--Last year's excuse was "we haven't even started trying yet."   11:33 P.M.

Hayden, Trailblazer: I'm finding it hard to get suitably alarmed about the grave constitutional danger of an Air Force general taking over the CIA. Hosenball flags a more troubling issue:

In an exhaustive investigation published in January, the Baltimore Sun, the NSA's hometown newspaper, also raised questions about the NSA's management, during Hayden's tenure, of a major classified project called Trailblazer. This project was supposed to modernize the agency's entire system for processing and sorting out "Signals Intelligence" reports—raw, and later, evaluated intercepts of messages collected by the NSA's worldwide eavesdropping network. One intelligence expert told the Sun that Trailblazer was "the biggest boondoggle going on now in the intelligence community." An intelligence official familiar with the program told NEWSWEEK that Congressional investigators now believe that much of the money that was poured into the program was wasted, and that Hayden's successor at NSA has now "abandoned" significant elements of Trailblazer.

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