[A] national consensus has formed around what the president calls "comprehensive" immigration reform--that is, impenetrable border security plus earned citizenship and a temporary worker program. [Emphasis added] **
What nation is Barnes talking about? Mexico? Korea? El Salvador? ... P.S.: Barnes, unlike the fabled Times-reading left, isn't in a cocoon. He knows better--knows that if there's anything that hasn't yet come out of the bitter, divisive, etc., immigration debate it's consensus. He's just trying to panic conservative House Republicans into going along with Bush, on the grounds that Bush has been such a domestic failure--e.g., when his "lonely effort to reform Social Security last year flopped"--that a refusal to pass an immigration bill right now "would mark the end of the Bush presidency as an effective political force." But if it's really panic time, why not pressure Senate Republicans into passing a common-denominator enforcement bill? That way Republicans would get (a) an achievement to take to the voters and (b) a mobilized base. The Barnes Panic Button only gets the GOPs (a), plus a frustrated base. ...
** That must be the same national consensus Sen. Martinez of Florida was appealing to in his 2004 campaign when he declared:
I support a plan that matches workers with needy employers without providing a path to citizenship. [Ital presumably added]
Now, of course, Martinez is pushing a "compromise" that features, at its center, just such a "path to citizenship." He tells Barnes the failure to pass this bill would be "handing the other side a win." ... 6:46 P.M.
Sic Semper Cocoonis! A surprise for NYT readers, anyway:
Though the immigration issue was initially thought to favor Democrats since it could hurt Republican efforts to court Hispanics, some Democrats facing tough re-election fights in the fall are finding it cuts both ways.-- Carl Hulse, New York Times, 5/20
Stanley Kurtz's NRO critique of a recent kf immigration post helped me clarify a couple of points--namely (1) why the current debate in Congress isn't like future debates and (2) why inaction on immigration would itself be a major substantive policy shift. See response to Kurtz below. ... 10:32 P.M.