Bloggers on the immigration bill.

Bloggers on the immigration bill.

Bloggers on the immigration bill.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
May 18 2007 5:57 PM

Don't Call It Amnesty

Bloggers divide over the new proposed immigration bill. Also, could Tony Blair replace Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank—and should he?

Don't call it amnesty: The Senate has agreed on a bipartisan proposal for immigration reform that would allow the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants to stay as temporary guest workers and grant temporary worker status to 400,000 to 600,000 additional foreigners each year. The bill is already being cited as a coup for President Bush, but conservative bloggers are tweaking the GOP for buckling to Democratic pressures.

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Centrist Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice asks: "Does Bush have the clout to bring reluctant members of his own party along on this one? Or is he too much of a lame duck — a lame duck losing more clout with Congress each day, as he flits around with an albatross named Alberto Gonzales hanging around his neck."

The conservative psychoanalyst at ShrinkWrapped doesn't like the wiggle room the bill affords criminal and 'terrorist' elements but concludes: "Conservatives correctly decried the scenes of Elian Gonzalez being forced against his will to return to his country of origin.  Whether right or wrong, Americans will never tolerate mass deportations, even if it were possible to actually perform them.  We need a mechanism to catch the truly nefarious among the sea of hard working illegals and offer support to those who only wish to join the great American experiment, which all of us value so highly."

Righty Hugh Hewitt's having none of the GOP capitulation: "The Senate GOP may believe that the anti-illegal immigration absolutists are far noisier than their numbers justify, and they would be right. But the common-sense conservatives hate being told that the best the Senate GOP can do is lose gracefully. They will be the folks outraged by the sell-out of the security fence. The only good news about the bill as outlined in the talking points is that it will effectively end the McCain campaign." At Power Line, Scott Johnson erases McCain from his list of acceptable candidates.

Liberals like Greg Anrig Jr. at TPM Cafe aren't happy either: "The guest worker proposal violates fundamental principles that define what it means to be a liberal, and what it should mean to be a Democrat. … Importing cheap labor for temporary use to be returned when no longer needed is dehumanizing and will only exacerbate existing problems related to illegal immigration when the guest workers behave rationally and find a way to stay here."

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But lefty Ezra Klein at the American Prospect's TAPPED supports the guest-worker program—for now: "The legislation opens the way for far more high-skills immigration and converts the current family-based system -- in which relatives of immigrants have priority, which is how you get so many extended families -- to a merit-based system, wherein only immediate family members have preference, and you gain 'points' for other metrics, such language ability, skills, education, sector, etc. The bill inexplicably lacks a significant increase in high-skills visas, but the movement towards a more rational prioritizing system makes a lot of sense."

Read more about the immigration bill.

Banking on Tony? Could Tony Blair be the next president of the World Bank? It's a possibility that has been advanced by Columbia professor Joseph Stiglitz, among others. The timing works, since Paul Wolfowitz will be done on June 30, three days after Blair steps down as prime minister.

At Enough is Enough, Donal Blaney of Kent thinks Tony should earn some cash before moving into low-paid bureaucratic work: "This is the 'big international job' Blair will have been looking for - but is it coming too soon? He does, after all, have some memoirs to write and a lot of lucrative lectures to give in the US. And the pay isn't great in comparison to what he will earn on the lecture circuit either..."

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Liberal Cernig at The Newshoggers sees Machiavellian gold in Blair's appointment: "It would be an astute move politically. Europe would get a European as Wold Bank head, which would go a long way to mollifying those across the pond who were so angered by Wolfowitz' adoption of the U.S. hard right's agenda at the Bank. At the same time, Bush could be assured of having a yes-man on many issues even if Blair might restore the Wold Bank's former direction on climate change and Third World aid."

Speaker of the Truth notes an irony: "[A]t one point in the past he was pondering to send his Chancellor (the Prime Minister in waiting in the UK) as a contender for this job. This was due to the alleged feud between the two since Blair became party leader and Gordon Brown his No. 2. It would've been an amicable sacking but Brown stayed strong and kept his post."

Mercerdavids at Future Observatory likes the idea: "From the World Bank's point of view there can surely no better qualified candidate. He knows, and is respected by, all its major players; something that certainly was not the case for Wolfowitz. His philosophy, still something like the 'third way', delivers the right message to developing nations, its clients, but does not threaten the major developed countries, who are its funders. Most important of all … Blair is one of very few non-Americans who might be considered suitable."

For liberal Chris in Paris at AmericaBlog, not so much: "From one pro-war supporter to another. Doubtful, but how else is Blair going to find a job like this, since he is so widely disliked in international circles?"

Read more about Blair and the World Bank presidency.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.