1) Is it good for Obama's health care effort that this comes out now? Doesn't it potentially make 2010 midterm voters more uneasy about Dem overreach? Maybe it placates Hispanic lawmakers who might be upset at the treatment of illegals in the health bill itself --but that's Obama again playing the inside game of keeping Congress' factions happy. His problem is the outside game of keeping the public on board , no? ... Wait, I forgot. Health care reform is a fait accompli . Never mind. ... P.S.: Or maybe Obama has concluded that health care reform gets more unpopular when voters think about it, so he's changing the subject. ...
2) It seems like almost yesterday that the official, liberal pro-legalization position was that the decline in the number of illegals had little to do with increased enforcement. It was all the declining economy . (After all, illegals are here to stay and there's nothing we can do about that, right? But if enforcement works to produce a big demographic shift ....) Now Obama Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is claiming that we can go ahead with legalization because "better enforcement" has indeed worked to produce a decline in the number of illegals. But wasn't that all due to the economy? I sense a contradiction. ... P.S.: Maybe another factor was the 2007 defeat of comprehensive immigration reform itself. Without the promise of a legalization and eventual U.S. citizenship, crossing the border seemed less worth the risk and sacrifice ...
3) If the economy is even a partial factor, shouldn't we wait until enforcement techniques survive an actual, illegal-attracting economic rebound --and court attacks by the Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic caucus and civil libertarians--before we proclaim those enforcement techniques enough of a success to withstand an illegal-attracting amnesty? Napolitano's speech never explains why the enhanced enforcement powers she says she needs--"tougher anti smuggling laws," greater penalties for "dishonest businesses" and immigration attorneys, etc.--couldn't be enacted without tacking on an amnesty. Maybe she has an argument, but she doesn't make it.
4) Are Democrats going ahead with immigration legalization in 2010 because they realize the way things are going they will have no chance in 2011? ...
Update: Mark Krikorian, noting the number of times Napolitano said the onus was on Congress to act, thinks I'm being unsophisticated if I believe the White House actually plans a significant amnesty push in 2010:
But with unemployment over 10 percent, among other reasons, Congress isn't going to do any of this , so the White House is giving itself plausible deniability.
String along La Raza, prepare to blame Congress for failure, and make sure it's all reported in the least-read newspaper of the week. As my colleague Jon Feere writes , "Amnesty is a year away, and always will be." [E.A.]
But in a year, it won't be a year away. Not after the 2010 midterms. ... 10:11 P.M.
If California's neighbors--Arizona, Nevada and Oregon--are almost in as bad fiscal shape as California (according to this Pew chart ) doesn't it suggest that California's problem can't just be high taxes. Nevada and Arizona are relatively low-tax states, no? Yet they're going broke too. Of course they still have public employee unions. ... P.S.: Maybe it's some regional phenomenon. Gee, what problem might these states clustered in the Southwest near the Mexican border have in common? ... I'm thinking! ... Update: David Berger notes that "CA, AZ NV and FL have something else in common - most overbuilt during the housing bubble." ... [Via John Ellis, who twitters more than I'd realized. Ellis, a Bush relative, is not a 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' kind of guy. He's a "Worry" kind of guy. Which is one reason he's valuable.]
P.P.S.: Like many people, I found William Voegeli's recent City Journal piece on the decline of the high-tax/high-service model of state government extremely clarifying. Nut graf:
Whatever theoretical claims are made for imposing high taxes to provide generous government benefits, the practical reality is that these public goods are, increasingly, neither public nor good: their beneficiaries are mostly the service providers themselves, and their quality is poor.
In short, now we pay high taxes and get lousy services. Worse than Texas! ... But looking at that Pew chart I wonder if this is really the explanation of California's current fiscal trouble--as opposed to a more general explanation of why Californians would be getting a lousy deal from their union-dominated state government even if the state's books were balanced? (You have to think that Jon Corzine in New Jersey was a victim of the same phenomenon.) The fiscal crisis is mainly just a convenient news hook, no? ... 9:40 P.M.
Man Doesn't Bite Dog! Detroit-bashing Truth About Cars catalogues Chrysler's assets --and discovers they're not nothin'. The biggest one: faster-moving management than the GM lifers Rattner left in place . ... 9:23 P.M.