The immigration debate is shaping up to be a hot-button issue for the midterm elections, and conservative bloggers are divided against themselves. They're also taking sides on a plagiarism accusation involving one of their own. Plus, it's all cheers for this year's NCAA Tournament Cinderella team.
Borderline: The immigration issue is front and center in the streets of Los Angeles, the offices of D.C. politicos, and everywhere in between. Supporters of immigrants' rights staged massive rallies over the weekend, while the Senate is set to examine some competing legislation to tighten immigration laws. The proposals vary from instituting a guest-worker program, supported by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz; and President Bush, to making it a crime to assist illegal immigrants.
The issue is fracturing Republicans. In a speech today at a naturalization ceremony, Bush beseeched politicians to keep the debate "civil." Daniel McKivergan of Worldwide Standard, the blog of conservative must-read Weekly Standard, is succinct in his warnings to fellow Republicans to stay behind Bush: They could "become a minority party" if they ape Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who calls illegal immigrants "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation." The Strata-Sphere's conservative A.J. Strata counters, "[W]hat is a scourge on America is this kind of hate filled talk."
But on David Frum's Diary, part of the righty National Review's blog-roll, Frum is less than thrilled with Bush's proposals to "thrust upon the party an amnesty/guestworker approach." A suspicious Frum thinks that Democrats will "egg [Bush] on to incite a Republican civil war on the issue that most bitterly divides the president's party."
Conservatives aren't the only ones weighing in. Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, is suspicious of the guest-worker programs Bush, McCain, and Kennedy support. He believes that they "end up perpetuating both a culture of low-wage labor that's ripe for exploitation and insular communities that have no incentive to think of themselves as Americans — because they aren't. It's the worst of both worlds." On The Left Coaster, Steve Soto hopes for political gain for the Democrats if they "can offer themselves as the party that can produce a balanced immigration reform package next year."
Slate's Mickey Kaus suspects that the rally may damage the activists' cause. "It seems likely to make many non-PC voters think, 'Jeez, next year's rally will be even bigger. We'd better build that wall quick!' " he imagines. But Unpublished Author, the blog of a writer-wannabe from Tennessee, is proud of the marchers. Comparing them to immigrant communities that have held protests in France and Australia recently, he notes, "No matter what you think about amnesty for illegals and border control, it says great things about our country that our immigrants protest not because they want to tear us down, but because they want to be like us."
Read more about the immigration debate.
Domenech resigns: The Washington Post's newest blogger has already left the building. Last Tuesday, the Post launchedRedAmerica, a conservative blog written by Ben Domenech, a co-founder of RedState. (Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.) But after allegations surfaced that Domenech had plagiarized material in the past, he resigned Friday.
Conservative bloggers are embarrassed that the blogger they embraced has fallen. Conservative columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin has been following the issue extensively. Domenech was her editor at the conservative Regnery Press, and she initially "cheered" his new blog, only to be disappointed. Still, she can't pass up a chance to call those who uncovered Domenech's plagiaristic past "the determined moonbat hordes." At Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed also admits that his left-wing counterparts got the Domenech story right in an extensive post and hopes that the Post will hire a replacement conservative blogger.
On the liberal side of the aisle, bloggers are chastising the Post. "Editor Jim Brady and Ombudsman Deborah Howell have got to be feeling like world class fools for appeasing the Right the way they did," scolds liberal Sean-Paul Kelley on The Agonist. After Domenech's resignation went through, fellow Daily Kos contributor DHinMI called for Brady to resign, too. "Mr Brady, you got embarassed by a bunch of informed, curious amateurs at Daily Kos," he chides.
Cinderella wears sneakers: Eleventh-seeded George Mason shocked the sports world by defeating Connecticut to clinch a spot in the Final Four in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Bloggers are taking a break from partisan bickering to celebrate the underdog.
On The Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki, a law professor at GMU, cheers his hometown boys and welcomes the new fans: "There's plenty of room on the bandwagon still." He praises the "well-balanced and selfless team," as well as their "brilliant" coach, Jim Larranaga.
At the Alpaca Burger Forum, John Climacus compares the Patriots to The Bad News Bears. "I think this is simply a miracle-on-ice-caliber sports story... What made [sports] interesting when we were kids - which, we all must admit, is the time when we developed the enthusiasm - was the notion that a ragtag group of players could, through hard work, become something great."
But even Cinderella can be teased. Jack's Sports Humor, the blog of actor and writer Jack Archey, has an extensive list of reasons why the Patriots will win the tournament. But he believes the real triumph is that "the Patriots have already won the hearts of the nation's sports fans. In doing so, the program represents something truly unusual in the DC area these days: a George with a high approval rating."