Time to unleash YouTube?

Time to unleash YouTube?

Time to unleash YouTube?

A mostly political Weblog.
June 23 2007 7:03 PM

YouTube 'Em

Next weapon in the anti-comprehensive battle?


Kausfiles Special Focus Zone: As a reader aid, items that do not concern "comprehensive" immigration reform will be specially marked in color. You may choose to skip these items. ...  P.S.:Alert reader S.L. urged me to re-post that Senate contact list and keep it at the top of the page as the Senate considers the immigration bill. Good idea. Here it is. Public journalism! ...


Another citizen admaker rises to the challenge with a hit on Lindsey Graham  ("Come Home Lindsey") ... It's witty. You can dance to it. But it's not mean enough! Lindsey Graham isn't going to "come home" on immigration. And when he doesn't change his position, do you want him to be able to "come home" by stressing his conservatism on other issues--which is what he's counting on? Or do you want to defeat him? ... Remember: The idea is to do the sort of short, vicious poll-draining 30 second spot that a challenger might run--in order to give waffling Senators a taste of what they will be in for during their next campaigns. Don't be Webby! Be TV. ... 5:35 P.M.


Does 'No' have Mo? Sen. Webb may vote against cloture, a constituent reports. That would be significant. ... Update: His office says he "has not disclosed" which way he will vote. ... 12:26 P.M.

I keep thinking: Would President Clinton have pushed a grandiose immigration deal like the one the Senate's about to vote on? I don't think so, even if lobbies within his party wanted it. Clinton didn't try to force-feed overleveraged risky world-historical schemes the way Bush does. Welfare reform, Clinton's big domestic achievement, was wildly popular. ... There is one way for Senators to stop the madness! Tomorrow's cloture vote is the equivalent of giving them a chance to prevent the Iraq War before it started. Wouldn't many of them like to have that vote back? ... 12:15 P.M.

Prof. Borjas makes a calm, sensible case against the Senate immigration bill. ... 11:46 A.M.

That was fast: Malkin has produced a future anti-Graham spot. It's good! And the tag line worked against Senor Sasser. [Correction: It didn't. But it resonates!] ... It needs that ominous-sounding negative-ad announcer guy, though. ... 11:02 A.M.


Jim Geraghty is now posting updates on tomorrow's big initial cloture vote.

[B]ill opponents should not forgive a vote to bring it back to the floor, I'm told. They're within a few votes of killing the deal before it comes back; why take the chance on a later vote?

See also Askew. ... It looks close. Askew's source reports:

I've heard that they only have 55 votes on this, and no one wants to be the 58th or 59th vote for amnesty.


That is, nobody wants to be the 59th vote if there is not going to be a 60th vote. Why go out on a limb in a losing cause? That's why, as Askew notes, the perception of momentum is important to both sides. ... 10:21 A.M.

Kos Against the P.O.S.!  DailyKos blogger Trapper John says "it's a bill that progressives ought to vigorously oppose." Especially useful is his refutation of the comprehensivist fiction that there is a fixed number of jobs "Americans won't do"--so that importing legal workers to do them would take "pressure off the border"  the same way releasing water from a dam relieves pressure on the dam. In fact, it doesn't seem inconceivable that allowing in hundreds of thousands of low-wage "guest workers" could increase the demand for illegals and the "pressure" on the border.  At the least, the demand isn't fixed, once declining wages are factored in:

[B]y creating a steady flow of temporary workers with no ability to stay in the country for more than a couple years, and no practical ability to fight for better wages, the number of jobs that "Americans won't do" will grow dramatically.

10:44 A.M.


Voters are still against the Senate immigration bill--50-22% in Rasmussen's survey. Support for the bill is actually down a point since the poll taken before Bush mounted his latest public campaign. Opposition crosses party and ideological lines. ...  If Dianne Feinstein ruled the blogosphere, I guess I'd have to pretend the unpopularity of the bill was still an open question. "Fairness"! ... 10:13 A.M.

Reminder--Comprehensive Dissembling: Tim Russert mis-summarized the provisions of the immigration bill at the beginning of his show on Sunday--and not on a trivial issue.  He said the Z-visa legalization plan was "contingent on increased border security" measures. But the "probationary" Z-visa is available immediately--no waiting for "increased border security." And the "probationary" Z-visa is what legalizes former illegals, allowing them to work and travel in the U.S.. [See video around 2:00] ... I guess these are the sort of complex nuances that can only be communicated on talk radio! ... 1:12 A.M. link

Sunday, June 24, 2007

How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is Like Training the Iraqi Army--Part XVIII: Cong. Mark Souder rants about the enforcement fantasies in the Senate Grand Bargain, which sound positively Feith-like--including:

On page 37, it says, complete the schedule for the full implementation of a biometric exit program or certification that such program is not possible within 5 years. Well, I've talked to US-VISIT. They haven't even been talked to about it. Of course they can't meet 5 years. We're talking 10 years minimum.

What are they debating over in the other body? When the American public looks at what's happening in the Capitol Building on the same day and we're passing an appropriations bill that has theoretically looking at a biometric exit maybe in the next 5 years and the other body is acting like it's done, what's going on here? [E.A.]


(The "other body" is the Senate.) 11:56 P.M.

P.O.S. Cloture Watch: It looks as if Sen. Gregg is a downbeat vote for cloture--at least on the first vote (whether to take up the bill):

Among Republicans, even White House allies such as New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg say the administration has "zero credibility" on the border-security issue. "I will vote to proceed, but I think it is very undecided now if the bill will pass," Mr. Gregg said. [WSJ]

If you really don't want the bill to pass, of course, you don't vote for cloture. The two planned cloture votes are the key humps the bill has to get over. ... P.S.: It doesn't seem impossible to me that the immigration bill could get the 60 votes necessary for cloture and then fail to get the 50 needed to pass. If enough Senators pull a Kabuki Straddle (voting for cloture but against the bill) that's what might happen. But it's highly unlikely. Indeed, a paranoid could think that saying the bill might not pass, as Gregg does, is a cunning way to encourage wavering Senators to support cloture in the hope the bill will still fail. Sort of like saying, 'Don't worry, the bill will stall in the House.' ... 11:40 P.M.

'We Have Ways of Making You Talk About 'Silent Amnesty''--The Dark Side of Bipartisanism:If radio talkers aren't enlightened and bipartisan enough to attend symposia with Michael Bloomberg at the Annenberg School **--if they keep opposing the Senate immigration Grand Bargain, for example--then the government needs to tell them what to say:

[Sen. DIANNE FEINSTEIN]: This is a very complicated bill. It's seven titles. Most people don't know what's in this bill. Therefore, to just have one or two thing dramatized and taken out of context, such as the word amnesty--we have a silent amnesty right now, but nobody goes into that. Nobody goes into the flaws of our broken system.

This bill fixes those flaws. Do I think there should be an opportunity on talk radio to present that point of view? Yes, I do, particularly about the critical issues of the day.

CHRIS WALLACE: So you would revive the fairness doctrine?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I'm looking into it. As a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.

 -- Fox News Sunday, June 24, 2007 [via Askew ]

1)  I don't think it helps supporters of the immigration bill to broaden the fight by adding a threat to regulate radio speech;

2) What will they do about Internet radio, which isn't "scarce" the way broadcast frequencies are (giving the government no excuse to regulate it to ensure "fairness")?

3) Fox News stages another no-holds-barred discussion  between a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform (Feinstein) and ... a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform (Lott)! On Fox, anyway, a Fairness Doctrine would help the yahoos;

4) Did the Fairness Doctrine encourage centrist solutions? When Congress failed to pass the SALT treaty in the Carter years--with the Fairness Doctrine in full force--weren't there similar complaints about the inability to get sensible moderate measures enacted? I remember Lloyd Cutler publishing a Foreign Affairs article or two. Then in 1987 the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. That was followed shortly by an explosion of right-wing talk radio and then the most successful bipartisan reform in recent history, the 1996 welfare reform.  Maybe the problem isn't the loss of the Fairness Doctrine and the inability of the enlightened bipartisan elite to present its nuanced, complex, and contextualized views. Maybe the problem is that this time the enlightened bipartisan elite is pushing a bad bill (not that it was all that enthusiastic about the GOP-drafted 1996 welfare bill either).

P.S.: John Rosenberg notes that Feinstein went on to say that:

I remember when there was a fairness doctrine, and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.

"Correct reporting." Do not forget this highly mockable phrase! Does she mean "correct reporting" like Tim Russert's? ...

**--Freeload Disclosure: I attended the opening night dinner of the recent Annnenberg "Cease Fire-Bridging the Partisan Divide" conference. I had a great time. But the self-congratulatory BS level was off the charts. You can judge for yourself. ... 12:31 P.M.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

According to Central Iowa's Times-Republican, Sen. Brownback

does not support the current immigration bill before Congress, saying there were too many problems. But he said he would support tougher border security and a guest worker program.

Noam Askew wonders whether this means Brownback will vote "no" in the crucial cloture votes. But if he merely misses the vote, as he did the last one, that would have the same effect as a "no" vote. The proponents need 60. ... If Brownback just happens to be busy campaigning for President during those votes, the Krikorian Magic Number is down to 7. ... 11:33 P.M. link

Every Man a Shrum: Here's what seems like a good, and maybe semi-revolutionary, idea from reader J.R.:

One thing that strikes me (and you've alluded to)  is that some of the provisions are so outrageously pro-illegal-alien that the negative ads will write themselves.  Examples include giving gangbangers and repeat drunk drivers amnesty eligibility.

So why not drive the point home to some of these congresscritters by going ahead and mashing up some sample negative ads along the lines of "Senator So-and-so voted to give illegal alien gangbangers and drunk-drivers amnesty" and make sure the congresscritter staffs get a copy, or at least Youtubing them? [E.A.]

Might work! I don't have the skills to throw together a 30-second negative campaign ad, but I know there are people out there who do. If they can pull together a trailer for bloggingheads, they can do an ad pointing out that Senator Lautenberg, say, voted for a legalization bill that didn't even require illegals to pay back taxes. For other wording clues, check Questions 59-63 in the recent Carville-Greenberg poll. ...

P.S.: I wouldn't create an ad attacking someone who's currently undecided--that might just make them mad. But an ad attacking a committed pro-cloture Senator--Lindsey Graham, for example--might demonstrate to the others what will might in store for them in their next campaign if they pass this sweeping and unpopular piece of legislation. ...

P.P.S.: If you manage to spend more than $1,000 you might  raise interesting campaign finance issues. But you can do a lot for less. ... I suspect that if this negative tactic actually has impact, incumbents will hate it and try to figure out a self-righteous way to squelch it ('take the small money out of politics'), even though it's hard to think of many things that are closer to the core of the First Amendment. ...

Send me links. I'll post any good ones. ...

Update: This is well done, but it's not a negative campaign ad! ... 3:37 P.M. link

Friday, June 22, 2007

Did consultant/columnist Dick Morris lead his former client, Trent Lott, astray on immigration? Just a thought. To Morris, it's all about winning Hispanic voter allegiance:

[T]he political stakes are largely in the symbolism of the bill. Whichever party is seen as supporting reform will gain a huge vote share among Hispanics, and the opponents will lose accordingly.

And remember, if it's all about the symbolism, then it's not enough for Lott and fellow Republicans like Lindsey Graham to push the semi-amnesty bill through. They have to push the bill through loudly, histrionically, while denouncing the opposition as anti-Latino--to make sure Hispanics know that the GOPs were their champions in 2007.  It would be a shame to suck up to Latinos and then have the Democrats get all the credit (as Dems got all the credit with blacks after the Civil Rights Act of 1964--even though, Morris notes, "Republicans backed the bill in far greater numbers than Democrats did"). I think this helps explain Lott and Graham's recent obnoxious put-downs of their opponents. [How did  comparing Mexicans to electrified goats help Lott win over generations of Latinos?--ed That was off-message.] 6:47 P.M.

Hard Count: Mark Krikorian has the Numbers USA vote count. Basically, opponents need 40 Senators to either vote "no" on cloture or to be absent. (Proponents need to reach 60 actual "yes" votes, in other words--60% of 96 senators won't do.)

The opponents now have 33, by Krikorian's count. They need eight more:

The following 12 senators are leaning against the bill itself but so far are leaning toward the cloture motion — which means, in reality, that they would be helping pass the amnesty, because if the bill comes to a final vote, it will pass. These are the Senators whose decisions will likely determine whether the amnesty passes or not: Bond (R-Mo.), Bingaman (D-N.M.), Burr (R-N.C.), Boxer (D-Calif.), Cochran (R-Miss.), Conrad (D-N.D.), Ensign (R-Nev.), Levin (D-Mich.), Gregg (R-N.H.), Nelson (D-Neb.), Hatch (R-Utah), Webb (D-Va.).

Close! And a bit more difficult than I'd thought--I wouldn't want to be in the position of relying on Barbara Boxer to torpedo the bill. ... But don't forget Sherrod Brown. There may be hope for Sherrod Brown. ... And what about Norm Coleman? ... There's also the mysterious Dr. Barrasso. [ Update ]... P.S.: Isn't it also possible that, given the bill's unpopularity, some Senators who would vote for cloture in the crunch are nevertheless whispering in the leadership's ear that they wouldn't mind if this whole thing somehow went away? ... 5:12 P.M. link

Drama we're not seeing: U.S. News--

"This week will basically be the last chance to pass immigration reform in this administration," says one activist, "and the administration is using every card they've got."

Sen. Cornyn: "We'll find out on Tuesday if there's 60 senators ... It really changes minute by minute.'' 1:26 P.M.

P.O.S. Update: The first cloture vote has been postponed until Tuesday. ...  Alexander  and Corker come out against, but Burr wavers and dickers. ... Noam Askew hears Sherrod Brown is finally getting Dobbsy and might now be in play (he was previously counted as a "yes"). ... . There's a new Wyoming senator to lobby. (Don't get his back up!) ...  P.S.: Between Hawkins and Askew, and The Corner, you'll get better coverage of the ongoing immigration bill intrigue than in the big MSM dailies or even Capitol Hill specialist publications. (The Hill now seems to be falling down on the job.) ...

Upshot: It looks as if "comprehensive" supporters ran into some difficulties--e.g., public opinon--but unfortunately those problems may not be insurmountable. Republicans are realizing that if Harry Reid can run the Senate like the House on this issue--with debate limited to the amendments the leadership wants discussed, and that amendment-picking power used to obtain cloture--then he can run the Senate like the House on other issues as well. (Not that there's anything wrong with that! Except when the leadership is pushing a bad bill, as in this case.)

Hawkins also offers this gratifying, but probably overoptimisitc paragraph:

I talked to my source about the shots Trent Lott and Lindsey Graham have taken at people opposed to the bill. My source replied that when this whole thing started, these guys were cocky and thought they'd get this bill through with 70 votes, no problem. But now, because of the blogs and talk radio, they've lost the public debate on the issue and they know it. So, at this point, they're way out on a limb supporting a wildly unpopular bill that may or may not pass, and they're lashing out in frustration. He added that a lot of Republican senators have been offended and embarrassed by their comments and are worried that the voters will lump them in with Graham and Lott.

Poor noble Graham's home state approval seems to be tanking. ... If, as The Hill reports, Graham

 is not thought of as a top Democratic target

in 2008, the Dems need to think some more. ... 10:51 A.M.

The Senate has now passed the energy bill, clearing the way for consideration of you-know-what. According to a NUMBERS USA timeline posted Thursday on Malkin,

Sen. Reid ... is still holding out a remote possibility of having the first cloture vote tomorrow night (Friday) after 7 p.m.

That "first cloture" vote would only be a vote to take up the bill, not a vote to limit debate. ... Friday evening is a good time to sneak an unpopular bill onto the floor. It's also a good time to kill a bill without getting too much negative publicity. ... Update:  First cloture vote put off until Tuesday.  1:24 A.M.

Sen. Trent Lott, a key righteous supporter of the "comprehensive" immigration reform, compares illegal immigrants to "goats" ("maybe not as agile") who might be stopped by an "electrified" fence, then says it was only "an analogy" and generally flails around in dehumanizing semi-coherence. A prize to the MSM outlet that first portrays Lott's comments in a way that makes it seem as if the opponents of the bill were the racists.  ... Bonus points if the story forgets who said we would be better off if segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected  in 1948. ... 1:18 A.M.

Prof. Borjas findsanother bit of sleaziness in that Council of Economic Advisers "White Paper"  claiming "annual wage gains from immigration" of "between $30 billion and $80 billion." It seems that's only the gain to "US natives," and conveniently omits losses to already-present immigrants. Borjas:

[T]he CEA uses a strange definition of who "we" are: including only native-born workers and ignoring the millions of immigrants already here who are affected by yet more immigrants.

Who's being "nativist" here? 1:16 A.M.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mo' 'No': Sen. McCaskill comes out against cloture  (on Lou Dobbs). ... 5:59 P.M.

Empty: Activists claim to have gathered a million letters in support of comprehensive immigration reform, but at their rally at the Capitol they produced empty boxes. Hmm.  ... [via Insta] 5:36 P.M.

**** Non-Immigration Items ****

Hey, I gave Kerry $300! That's chopped liver? Why can't I be a scandal too? ...P.S.:Salon's on the list. I'm as biased as Salon! 4:54 P.M.

One of Bush's top aides muses on the defining paradox of this presidency: How did a man who promised a change of tone in Washington preside over one of the most partisan and divisive periods in the country's history? Bush doesn't conduct feuds or hold personal grudges, this adviser insists. [E.A.]

Doesn't hold grudges? You think? I don't think. Let's ask Brent Scowcroft! ... 4:37 P.M.


McConnell waffles on the immigration bill. ... Paranoid view: Publicly waffling is one way to say "I hear you" and deflect the opponents' heat, no? Then, when you do come out and support the bill, it's too late for pressure. ... 4:08 P.M.

'No' Wave? Ed Morrissey was right--Sen. Hutchison has now come outagainst cloture. So have Crapo and Roberts  and Sununu, apparently. I've removed them from the list below. ... Cornyn's a "no" too. ... P.S.: Hatch, Coleman, Alexander, Bingaman, Webb still undecided. ... 2:43 P.M.

Kate O'Beirne has what appears to be an up-to-date list  of key GOPs uncommitted on the cloture vote:

Richard Burr (N.C.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kit Bond (Mo.) ... Gordon Smith (Ore.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), .... Norm Coleman (Min.), ... Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Bob Bennett (Utah). [E.A.] [Update: Crapo, Hutchison, Roberts and Sununu have been replaced by ellipses. They say they'll vote against cloture.]

She notes it is an "uphill" fight for opponents, but if I read the Noam Askew cloture list  right it's doable (barely). I've highlighted the Senators who are up for reelection in 2008. The longer the process is delayed, the more polls emerge demonstrating the bill's unpopularity. (Here's Zogby's. It's Zogby. And it's "Interactive." But it confirms what Rasmussen  and then NBC/WSJ and Greenberg/Carville found.) ...

P.S.: Ed Morrissey has a Senate source who says Hutchison will announce against cloture. [Via Malkin, who also has a list.] ...

P.P.S.: But why focus only on Republicans? Not many Dem Senators relish being on the short side of a 50-25 issue either. Here are some Democrats worth lobbying who voted against cloture earlier this month:

Baucus (Mt.); Bingaman (N.M.); Boxer (Calif.); Pryor (Ark.);

Nor does it seem out of the question that some Democrats who recently voted for cloture--especially the ones who are up for reelection--might find an outpouring of popular opposition to the bill especially persuasive. Here are some of them:

Conrad (N.D.); Levin (Mich.); Nelson (Ne.); Reed (R.I.).

I remember when Levin's Congressman brother Sander, a vigorous opponent of the 1996 welfare reform, voted for the bill. He didn't want to lose his seat for a lost cause. ... Update: Note that Conrad is lumped with Dorgan as having "problems" with the bill here. ...

P.P.P.S.: Plus of course the Netrootsy Three: McCaskill (Mo.), Tester (Mont.) and Webb(Va.). The voted against cloture last time. ... And don't forget Sherrod Brown (Ohio), who un-Dobbsishly voted in favor. ...

That Senate contact list again. ... 11:30 A.M.

**** Non-Immigration Item ****

Richardson, nailed. [via RCP2:01 A.M.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

George Borjas argues that the same model Bush's economists used to predict a (relatively small) $30 billion bonus from immigration also predicts a $350 billion wage loss:

If we are going to accept the $30 billon estimate as "the" estimate of the gains, then we should also accept the same model's predictions of the wage losses. And those losses are staggering.

As I understand it (which is tenuously), the staggering wage loss is balanced out, in the Bush "net" benefit calculation, by a staggering benefit to employers. ...

P.S.: Note that the CEA "White Paper" acknowledges potential negative effects on the incomes of unskilled workers, but (echoing Kevin Drum) argues that they have such a hard time of it in today's economy that we might as well screw them a little bit more. ... 11:38 P.M.

Eerie silence on the immigration-bill front, no? As if something were brewing! ... 11:13 P.M.

L.A. Latino Dems vs. L.A. Black Dems in an off-year special Congressional election. Is this the year a Latino wins in Compton? The Congressional Black Caucus can make its future even grimmer if the Grand Bargain gets to the House. ... 11:07 P.M.

Former frontrunning Grand Bargaineer John McCain, neck and neck in Iowa ... with Sam Brownback! At 6 percent. In fifth place. Behind Huckabee. ... 10:44 P.M.

We May Have a Winner! It won't make Harry Reid's list of 22 permissable amendments, but an alert reader has submitted what may be the best Killer Amendment I've heard so far. The amendment would say that:

Illegal immigrants who get "Z" visas can sue their employers for backpay for all the years they were not paid the minimum wage.

Or for the years they were not paid overtime, I'd add. ... The more you think about this amendment the better it gets. It screws up almost everyone's agenda but almost everyone will have a hard time voting against it. What would be their basis--sympathy for employers who (by definition) can be proven to have employed illegals to save money they should have been paying to their workers under the law at the time? Is Ted Kennedy going to be against this amendment? Sherrod Brown? Yet many big-contributing businesses--major corporations and individual entrepreneurs--might face large damages and years of lawsuits. Meanwhile, social conservatives who'd support it for bill-killing reasons would have no trouble justifying the vote to their constituents. ... Bonus coup de grace: Treble damages! ... 10:36 P.M. 

The Fake Talk Express Rolls On: Remember Sen. John McCain's shock upon learning that the provision requiring illegal immigrants to pay "back taxes" had been dropped from the Senate bill? McCain professed surprise at this development, and introduced an amendment, which was adopted, that purported to stick the requirement back in. It now turns out that McCain's restore-back-taxes amendment was itself a fraud. Mark Krikorian reports:

Take look at Loophole 18 in Sen. Sessions' list ; it turns out that McCain's amendment only requires that those legalized illegals applying to trade up to regular, permanent immigrant status (a green card) show they've paid taxes on income earned after they were amnestied, i.e., while they had probabtionary status and then the Z visa. There's no back taxes requirement to get the Z visa and obviously none for the initial phase of the amnesty, which has to be granted by the end of the next business day after applying for it. In other words, there is no requirement that illegal aliens pay back taxes to receive amnesty. [E.A.]

Meanwhile, McCain has returned to telling voters that under the bill illegals would have to "pay back taxes." ** ...  Again, the larger point is you can't rely on anything the Grand Bargainers say. They're in full fool-the-yahoos mode. Why shouldn't voters expect that they would carry out the difficult enforcement mandates in their bill, if it passes, in the same disingenuous spirit? You can't trust them! [You're writing as badly as Andrew Sullivan--ed I know! I'm excited!]

P.S.: Sessions' list of 20 loopholes is extremely useful. Negative ad-makers: may want to pay special attention to #7. ... In practical terms, #12 seems significant. Will there be a rush on the border from those who want to pretend they were here before the January 1 cutoff? ...

**--It's not clear, from Sessions' account, if execrable draftsmanship or intentional deception was involved--the amendment apparently refers to a statutory section that doesn't exist. At a minimum, those who drafted the back-taxes "fix" didn't care enough to get it right. It was just a "for show" provision anyway! Call it "reckless disregard." ...  3:29 P.M. link

Too Hot for Kabuki? Senators Chambliss and Isakson say they will vote against cloture on the immigration bill. ... This could reflect momentum against the "p.o.s.",  or it could be that the noble, bipartisan all-powerful Grand Bargaineers told the two red-staters that they didn't need their votes to get to 60. ... 2:35 P.M.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

60? Noam Askew and The Hill and AP have updates on the seemingly close immigration-bill cloture issue. Swing-state Dems Webb, Tester, and McCaskill may be crucial. All have amendments in the hopper that could give them cover to vote for cloture--or would give them cover, anyway, in a pre-Internet fool-the-voters age.** I hope the three swing Dems take a good look at that Greenberg-Carville poll (see below). ... P.S.: Are the "left-leaning" groups said to be pressuring these Dems the fabled "netroots"? I doubt it.  Aren't many netrootsers "Lou Dobbs Democrats?" ...See also: OpenCongress . ...

**--Note that the key cloture vote--if I read OpenCongress correctly--would apparently precede the vote on the amendments, so swing Senators wouldn't know whether their amendments have passed before they vote to shut off debate. True, if their amendments then lose, they can vote against the bill itself--but in that vote the bill only needs a majority (50), not 60. ... 7:35 P.M.

Fire Sale? McCain domain names, on sale cheap (so far) on E-Bay. ... [Tks. to reader M.W.] 7:22 P.M.

Greenberg and Carville Bury the Lede: At the end of the memo summarizing their latest Democracy Corps poll of swing-district voters, they note a striking lack of support for the Senate immigration bill.

Immigration:Immigration reform is an area of great concern for voters in the battleground. Indeed, more than a quarter of voters mention immigration as one of their two most important concerns. Yet, proposals to address this issue garner more support when focused on border control more than legalization. In fact, voters are 22 points more likely to support Congressional proposals focused on increasing border security and stopping illegal immigrants from getting government benefits than one focused on legalization.

We do not find very much voter support for the comprehensive Senate bill. We asked without description (opposed 28 to 47 percent) and with description (45 to 49 percent). After hearing a  description of the immigration reform passed by the Senate, a majority of independents and Republicans oppose the bill while Democrats are torn 47 to 47 percent. [E.A.]

This is Democratic Greenberg and Carville, remember. Not just  Rasmussen!  ...

Backfill: The actual details of the poll are grimmer for comprehensivists than the Greenberg-Carville summary implies.

--"Illegal immigration" is the #2 concern of these swing-district voters, behind Iraq but ahead of health care and the economy.

-- That "description" of the Senate bill was heavily front-loaded with enforcement language (it begins: "Strengthen border security first ..."). Even so, when the "path for citizenship" (after "paying a fine") and guest-worker program are included, the bill loses 49-45.

--By a 59-37 margin, voters actually disfavor the following statement, despite its enforcement-oriented preamble:

On immigration, we need to get control of the border and bar illegal employment but allow the illegal immigrants who have been here working for a long time to get on a path to citizenship.

Voters preferred a competing statement that would "require illegal immigrants to re-enter the country legally" and bar them from "getting government benefits."

--More than 60 percent of the voters said they'd have "serious doubts" about a Congressperson who voted:

--for "allowing illegal immigrants, who broke our laws, to stay and become citizens, giving them amnesty."

--against "declaring English the official language."

--in favor of "illegal immigrants being permanent residents, who can use our schools, health care system, and also get other benefits."

You get the picture. The wording on some of these questions--especially the first--is loaded, but no more loaded than the likely wording in a campaign TV commercial attacking a Congressman who opened himself up to the charge.

--After all these words and descriptions were floating around in voters' heads, the polltakers again asked about "the comprehensive immigration reform plan being considered by the U.S. Senate." This time it lost by a 22 point margin--a bit more than when voters were asked about it cold.

Upshot: If a swing-state Congressman could be sure of totally controlling the language used in the immigration debate, he might succeed in rendering "comprehensive immigration reform" merely mildly unpopular. If he lost control of the language--as might in a fight with a decently-funded challenger--he could confront a deadly tsunami of opposition on the issue! [Thanks to alert reader S.M.] 2:03 P.M. link

Don't count on the House! Last night I ran into a veteran D.C. Democratic aide/strategist  who confirmed one suspicion about the immigration bill: The House Dems are lowballing the number of votes they have for it. No way they need 70 GOP votes--though that is a number still being reported in the press. ... Senators who vote for the bill thinking the House will kill it are probably deluding themselves ... P.S.: I also suspect there is a certain amount of sandbagging going on with all the House talk about how the bill is going to be broken up  and maybe just the enforcement parts passed, etc. Are they trying to ease the minds of Senate fence-sitters, assuring them the House won't approve anything like the Senate's "Grand Bargain"?  This suspicion is unconfirmed, however. 1:37 P.M.

Internet Killed the Kabuki Star: Regarding the venerable Senate Kabuki tactic of voting for cloture but against the bill, in the hope that the voters won't notice that you helped pass it, emailer S.S.  notes:

Needless to say, voting for cloture, but against the Alito nomination, didn't do Joe Lieberman or Lincoln Chafee any good, thanks to the internet, as Little Green Firedogs can attest  ...

Don't try it, Chambliss! ... 1:14 A.M.

Edwards said he is opposed to any measure that creates "a first-class group of citizens and a second-class group of laborers. This is what results from the current bill ." 

Edwards is making the "left" objection to the "temporary" guest worker program  rather than the "right" objection to semi-amnesty. But--and don't stop me if I'm repeating myself--this is a bill where both the left wing objections and the right wing objections are valid. Nor are they incompatible. ... 12:35 A.M.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What's the difference between Bush's immigration plan and his Iraq War plan?A.: In one of them, we sent a competent organization to attempt a Sisyphean bureaucratic task. In the other, we're sending the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. ... Sunday's WaPo reports on the massive (329,160)  backlogs of immigrant background checks at the USCIS. Yet this same homeland security bureaucracy is going to efficiently check the 12 million or so illegals applying for legalization? Brilliant! Let's have them train the Iraqi army while they're at it. ... [See also  Insta and Malkin2:44 P.M.

**** Alert: Non-Immigration Item****

Bob Shrum makes a good point in his book, No Excuses: Al Gore is "fun to sit and have a beer with"! You'd rather backslap with Bush? (It's watching Gore campaign that's painful.) ... 3:25 A.M.


What Happened to the Left? I don't think the following statement by Sen. Kennedy--in the debate  on Sen. Dorgan's amendment to curtail the proposed "guest worker" program--has drawn enough attention:

"I would like the chicken pluckers to pay $10 or $15 an hour. They do not do it. They are not going to do it. Who are you trying to kid? Who is the Senator from North Dakota trying to fool?

These are the realities, the economic realities. No one has fought for increasing the minimum wage more than I have. But you have got realities that employers are not going to pay it." [E.A.]

Weren't Democrats (especially liberal Democrats) the people who wanted chicken pluckers--and others doing lousy jobs at the bottom of the pyramid--to be paid $10 an hour? Yet here we have the putative lion of liberalism declaring this modest goal (less than $3/hour above the new scheduled minimum wage) to be impossible. Employers just won't do it! They'll hire illegals instead. But what if the flow of illegals is curtailed--something Kennedy's immigration bill promises to do. Why not see if a tight labor market can boost wages above the new $7.25 minimum--instead of caving and providing employers with cheap temporary "guest workers" from abroad? If chicken pluckers organized and their union went on strike demanding $10 an hour, would Kennedy ask them who they were "trying to kid" (and support breaking the strike with "temporary" employees)? They told us in the '60s that Kennedy was the tool of the bourgeoisie!

Most of the vocal opposition to the immigration bill, so far, has come from the right. What's important, for the coming debate on immigration, will be the strength of opposition on the left. Does anyone on the Left think the Grand Bargain will on average improve the earnings of those Americans now making $6, $7, $8 and $9 an hour? Paul Krugman doesn't seem to. A year ago  he wrote  [$]:

[W]hile immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration -- especially immigration from Mexico. Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average U.S. worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst-paid Americans. The most authoritative recent study of this effect, by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, estimates that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren't for Mexican immigration.

That's why it's intellectually dishonest to say, as President Bush does, that immigrants do ''jobs that Americans will not do.'' The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays -- and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants.

Anybody else?

P.S.: Yglesias suggests it's "baffling" that I oppose "comprehensive" reform on the grounds that it will increase income inequality given that (in his characterization) I'm "the author of a book about why we shouldn't care about income inequality." That's a reasonable challenge to raise--I'll defend my position on inequality later. But I'm not talking about inequality here. I'm talking about wages at the bottom, and whether Democrats are going to endorse something that makes them significantly, measurably worse.

Update: I Rest My Case! Kevin Drum sneers about my "new role as champion of the common man," arguing that if, in fact, chicken pluckers unionized and struck demanding $10 an hour I'd "denounce Democratic support for a strike like this." I might! I think Wagner Act unions bring unnecessary inefficiencies, and wages (above the minimum) are generally best set by the market. If the market sets the wage at $7.50, the better way to boost the incomes of those workers is through the Earned Income Tax Credit, which I've consistently supported. But when the market raises wages above $7.50--due to the sort of tight labor supply we had in the late 90s--I'm all for it. Kennedy isn't. Confronted with the possibility of a natural market increase in wages at the bottom, Kennedy reacts by attempting to prevent it by importing additional "guest workers." 

How pathetic is it that, instead of defending the position of low-wage workers when they finally might have the market on their side, earnest leftish bloggers like Drum are suddenly more concerned with snarking at people like me!

(And here I thought it was Kinsleyesque neoliberals who hunted for hypocrisy while Rome burned.)

Of course, Drum has written, we're only talking about "high school dropouts."   And

if we're really worried about high school dropouts, everyone agrees they have way bigger problems than competition from illegal immigration anyway.

So pluck 'em!

P.P.S.: Drum notes that the Borjas/Katz study has (since Krugman wrote his 2006 column) cut its estimate of the negative effect of Mexican immigration in half, to 3.6%. a) That's not chopped liver, especially since we are trying to get wages at the bottom to go upb) Anecdotal evidence suggests worse--talk to dry wall installers in South Central; c) Drum argues the Senate bill would raise low-wage workers' bargaining power by legalizing illegals. But that assumes that there won't be a new wave of legalization-seeking illegals as there was after the 1986 legalization; d) Krugman, for his part, doesn't seem to have shifted position since last year--he still argues (in the more recent column linked above) that earlier waves of immigration "depressed the wages of the less skilled," and that the current bill isn't worth the "price that must be paid." ...  2:42 A.M. 

Sunday, June 17, 2007

**** Alert: Non-Immigration Item****

Where's the Zip? My Slate colleague Daniel Gross writes a whole piece on how the Bush administration is blocking the Whole Foods/Wild Oats merger "to punish political opponents." But what political opponent? Is the target "liberals," on the grounds that the clientele of both chains are probably 95% Democratic? That's a pretty diffuse method of punishment--"Vote Republican or pay through the nose for sprouted wheat!" At other times, Gross makes it sound as if Bush is punishing some more specific enemy--yet the only victim he identifies is Daniel Gross of Slate, whose Connecticut town might be deprived of a Whole Foods outlet. This is paranoid. Maybe the Bushies are clean on this one. ... I mean, it's not as if Wild Oats' biggest shareholder is Bill Clinton's business partner and bachelor buddy who's also busy trying to buy up seemingly every available media property in advance of Hillary's 2008 run, right? ... Right?10:37 P.M.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bush Blows Up His Party: Glenn Reynolds argues the Administration is wrong to think it's up against only the "right wing blathersphere." ...  2:12 P.M.

K-Lo has an update  on what is expected to happen to the immigration bill next week in the Senate. It seems that Harry Reid has figured out a way to run the place like the House. But it's not completely clear that there are 60 votes for cloture, and room for public pressure to change swing Senators' minds--or at least their votes. ... P.S.: See also Right Wing News' insider report, which notes why the key vote will be cloture--because the final vote will be familiar fool-the-yahoos Kabuki:

[T]he cloture vote to end debate will be the "real" vote on the bill because if debate is closed off, the bill is sure to pass. Then, what will happen is that the votes for the bill will be counted, and a few senators who are afraid that their election prospects will be jeopardized by a "yes" vote, will be allowed to vote against the bill. This enables those senators to tell their constituents that they voted against the bill, but it will still allow them to collect campaign contributions from lobbyists who have a better understanding of how things work, and know that the bill couldn't have been passed without their support. [E.A.]

I'm not sure this old trick works post-Web. Too many constituents are onto it. ... More Kabuki Check: Interestingly, Hawkins' source still thinks Reid still "would prefer to see this bill go away," and that "a lot" of Senators are voting for "a bad bill" with the hope and expectation that the House will kill it. ... 12:37 P.M.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation

is really code for "I support legalization." ... 4:52 P.M.

It's not just Rasmussen: First Read notes underpublicized results in the latest WSJ-NBC poll indicating public dissatisfaction with the immigration "grand bargain"--including disapproval of the very provisions many MSM outlets claim popular support for.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal has plenty of numbers suggesting that getting the immigration bill through the Senate -- and then the House -- won't be easy. In it, 46% believe immigration helps more than it hurts, while almost the same amount (44%) think the opposite. In addition, majorities oppose some of the Senate immigration bill's legalization provisions: 64% are against allowing illegal workers to receive an automatic work visa if they pay a fine, and 55% oppose allowing illegal workers apply for permanent residency if they return home to their counties and pay additional fines. [E.A.]

Only 20% called the bill an "acceptable compromise." 41% said it "makes too many concessions to illegal immigrants by allowing them to remain in the United States." ** ...  

P.S.: The stark conflict between the WSJ-NBC results on the legalization plank and the NYTand LAT results on the same plank demands a Mystery Pollster explanation. I suspect it will conclude that the answers to these questions (like the answers to welfare reform questions) are highly dependent on the way the queries are worded--words like "automatic," however accurate, will be a turnoff, while words like "start" and "path" and "apply" will be appealing. ... But the answer to the basic "do you support the bill" question does not seem sensitive to wording. If there's a single poll that's showed a majority supporting the actual overall bill, I haven't seen it. ... Update: Emailer R. says I haven't gone far enough:

Actually, can you find a single poll that shows a quarter of the population supporting it?

**--Another 20% said "it makes too many concessions to those who want illegal immigrants to have to return to their native countries." Which it does! The bill's "temporary" worker program, requiring a return home every two years and permanent return after six,  seems indefensibly harsh. I deny that this left-wing criticism of the bill translates into de facto support, or is incompatible with the right-wing criticism of the bill's legalization provisions. (You could want new, legal guest workers to have a path to citizenship but existing illegal workers to be treated less generously.) They're both criticisms of the bill. The NBC-WSJ question falsely makes respondents choose between them. ... N.B.: The first version of this post hideously misread the NBC-WSJ poll. I've cleaned it up. ... 1:49 P.M. link

Note: I am not single-mindedly obsessed with the immigration issue. This guy  is single-mindedly obsessed with the immigration issue. ... 1:03 P.M.

Only an angry minority supports the "popular" immigration bill?

Forty percent (40%) of American voters say that President Bush is doing a good or an excellent job on taxes. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 39% say the same about his handling of the economy.

At the other end of the spectrum, just 15% say he is doing a good or an excellent job on immigration. [Emphasis and link added.]

Fifteen percent. That is getting down near the percentage who think their automatic garage door is sending them semaphore signals from outer space. ... Isn't this finding is flat incompatible with the idea that,  "A majority of Americans support our proposal," as John McCain asserted this week, or that it is opposed only by a "very intense minority" of conservatives? What has George Bush's handling of immigration been other than the pursuit of McCain's bill? ... Update: Alert reader C.W. notes thatsome of the disapproval of Bush probably reflects voters unhappy that he'd apparently (at the time) failed to get an immigration bill through, though he was campaigning for its revival. But another Rasmussen poll at about the same time showed only 20% wanted the Grand Bargain revived. ... 12:42 P.M.

Yes, John Edwards does seem like the obvious Dem presidential candidate to seize the gaping, near-irresistable opening and oppose the immigration bill, as MyDD's Tarheel--alertly flagged by Blogometer--argues. I was hoping for Obama. But Edwards is losing. He needs to make a move. And if you really care about incomes at the bottom of the distribution--which is what I thought Edwards' campaign was all about--then you can't not oppose this bill, I think. ... Tarheel notes that the immigration bill

is hugely unpopular.  Most americans outside the blogosphere heavily oppose it.  Union workers seem unhappy with it.  Americans (outside the blogosphere) instinctively don't believe in rewarding illegal behavior with citizenship.  This would bring lots of free press for Edwards and distinguishes him from others on the Democratic side.  I'm fairly certain this wouldn't lose any votes in Iowa or NH or SC.

11:24 A.M.

Lott Lashes Out! GOP Senate whip Trent Lott attacks"these talk-radio people who don't even know what's in the bill." The New York Times reports:

Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem."

At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in "younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill."

[E.A.] a) 'Feeling the heat'! b) It's of course in the interests of the bill's backers to make it seem as if opposition only comes from "talk radio," and not, say, from the AFL-CIO--or from ordinary non-radio Democrats and Republicans, for that matter; c) Is that Rush you're talkin' about? d) Is Lott still smarting from the lack of support he got from the GOP grassroots after his appalling Strom Thurmond comments? e) Is he making a play for Strange New Respect? f) Wasn't it Lott who criticized as "not helpful" Bush's bashing of GOP opponents of the bill? I think it was. g) Isn't the obvious pro-bill strategy to let the opposition calm down, not stir it up? h) I thought it was John McCain who didn't know what was in the bill.  ...

Update:Instapundit sees a pattern ...

A year ago, Trent Lott was saying he was "damn tired" of PorkBusters, and now the GOP is all about fighting the pork. Difference? They lost an election by listening to him. Now what will they be saying after the next election?

Lott was on the verge of turning into an intriguing, nothing-to-lose, truth-telling character a while back. What happened? ... Possible answer: He is telling the truth--and the truth is he's one of "the plump complacent emirs of the one-party-state of Incumbistan," as Mark Steyn puts it. ...  2:34 A.M.

It's Back. It's Beatable. Given the revival of the immigration "Grand Bargain," William Rusher's Weyrich-like pessimism looks disturbingly prophetic:

The odds are better than even that the coalition [supporting the bill] will simply regroup, try again, and this time roll over the opposition like a Sherman tank.

The coalition is simply too powerful for anything as unfocused as mere American public opinion to resist for long.

In other words, what the Establishment wants, the Establishment gets. I'm not so sure. a) The Founding Fathers made it quite difficult to pass legislation--even popular legislation, and b) this legislation is not popular (politicians worried about keeping their jobs won't be as gullible as the MSM when it comes to tendentious polls). Opponents should be able to block the bill. For one thing, there's always the possibility that many Senators are supporting the bill now in the hope that it will be blocked later, allowing them to say they voted to solve a problem without having to live with their disastrous "solution." ...

P.S.: If the Establishment always got its way, affirmative action would not be on the ropes, sanctions against Cuba would have been lifted years ago, the SALT treaty would have been ratified, Nixon would have gotten his guaranteed income back in 1972, the entitlement problem would be under control, and Tim Russert would be more popular than Taylor Hicks. ...

One suggestion for opponents:Instead of phone call and email campaigns--the Senators all know by now that lots of people are angry--how about some street demonstrations? It worked in the '60s. The trick would be including Democrats, and keeping the protests so free of fringe elements, violence, and anything that could be characterized as anti-Latino prejudice that they couldn't be tarred by the media (which would be looking to pitch opponents as angry bigots). ... 1:39 A.M.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fox is reporting an imminent agreement--significantly including Sen. Reid--to grease the skids for passage of the Senate immigration bill via a Fool-the-Yahoos addition of $4.4 billion in enforcement spending. ... I'm about to get on a plane and can't check to see if this Fox report is correct. But clearly this is no time to stop paying attention. ... 3:06 P.M.

"It's much better for your party to be dissatisfied with your candidates  than for the other party to be dissatisfied with your candidates" ... or dissatisfied with its candidates. 7:45 A.M.

A potential anti-comprehensive primary challenger to waffling Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss now says he won't run. I don't know what this means for the immigration bill, but it means something. ... 7:24 A.M.

The Hail Mitt Play? I don't quite understand why John McCain is picking a fight with Mitt Romney, given that there are two other GOP contenders who poll better than Romney nationally. Won't this tactic do for McCain what attacking Howard Dean did for Dick Gephardt? Tom Edsall's brutal HuffPo analysis discerns a desperate rationale, but also argues:

The McCain attack violates the GOP orthodoxy embodied in Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." If the tactic fails, the McCain campaign may be effectively over.

[E.A.] P.S.: If Republicans really favor McCain's legalization plan, as the LAT claims, why is he tanking again? [You almost had a nice little non-immigration item there--ed A gradual withdrawal is all you can hope for. During the recent weeks of kf's ... let's call it kf's "special focus" on immigration, the stats have held up. Until yesterday. Yesterday, they collapsed. I suspect this means readers think the debate is over and the immigration bill is dead. But it's not, and "the next few weeks are critical."] ... 12:22 A.M.

Reminder: Here's the argument that applies to the LAT poll showing (as do other polls) that majorities approve of allowing illegal immigrants to "start on a path to citizenship" if they pay fines, etc.. (Note also the Times' skillful use of gratuitous, comprehensivist-approved softening words "start" and "path.") ... Rasmussen's  argument against LAT-type questions is different, but not incompatible: he thinks the public is in fact willing to accept "paths to citizenship" as part of a compromise that would also secure the borders. But the public thinks the Senate bill won't secure the borders. ... In any case, the Senate bill itself was opposed 50-23% in last week's Rasmussen poll,   a finding reinforced this week.  The LAT could have countered Rasmussen by asking voters what they thought about the actual bill. They didn't. Why take chances? ... 12:12 A.M.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Don't Calm Down, Part XVIII: The latest from Roll Call [$]--

Senate conservatives have been warned by Republican leaders that they must either accept a series of largely symbolic floor votes on a handful of amendments to the immigration reform legislation or see themselves shut out of the process altogether when the chamber resumes work on the bill later this year, GOP lawmakers and aides said Tuesday.

What's so terrible about being "shut out of the process," if you oppose the bill? After all, if you make it better it might pass more easily. And if you can only offer "symbolic" amendments you can't even make it better. ... Also see Kate O'Beirne on the Establishment's Drive to Revive:

There is Senate speculation that there will be a resurrection of the immigration reform bill during the last week of June to increase pressure on dissenting Senators who would risk the wrath of colleagues by delaying the July 4th recess.

P.S.: Why the huge business push for legalization when the economy and the stock market are going great guns under the status quo? Here's a disturbing theory from one of Rich Lowry's readers:

Chertoff and Kyl both seem to have answered that question recently, Kyl in his Wall Street Journal interview and Chertoff on Fox News yesterday: because businesses are starting to worry about efforts to enforce immigration laws at the local level. One state in the vanguard of that effort is Kyl's (and McCain's) home state of Arizona, where the legislature has passed numerous laws (usually vetoed) on the issue, and where the public voted for Prop 200 back in 2004.

To me that says something far more ominous than that Congress is being disingenuous or naïve on the matter. Far from simple being empty promises, this amnesty bill is actually a blatant attempt to head off any attempts at enforcement at all.

It also means the current immigration debate isn't as important as obsessive bloggers have been making it seem. It's more important! And it's not important to the GOPs so much as the Dems--because it means business is acting now to avoid what it perceives as a coming labor shortage in which it will have to substantially raise wages at the bottom, altering the economic contours of the economy in favor of unskilled workers and their families. You wouldn't think that--whatever Republicans do--a Democrat like Harry Reid would really want to move a bill that would prevent such a dramatic, progressive shift, would you? ...

P.S.: You get paid less but you get a union card. Rep. Barney Frank acknowledges that the influx of immigrant workers is "bad for blue-collars," according to National Journal  [via Corner]. But, hey, Dems will compensate by increasing union power!

[I]mmigrants can help elect Democratic majorities, and "if [a Democratic Congress] were to significantly strengthen unions, then you would offset the negative effect on the income of workers," he said.

I was going to write a post about how this illustrates a clear difference between neoliberals and paleoliberals--neolib Clintonomists relying on tight labor markets to raise wages, paleolibs disdaining the market and relying on cumbersome inefficient union mechanisms to maybe, somehow replicate what the market could have achieved without them. But even the cumbersome inefficient unions of the AFL-CIO aren't buying  Frank's rationalization. ... 2:43 P.M.

Opposition to the "Grand Bargain" from the left--not the liberal left, the left left, described at PoliticalAffairs.Net. ... This is actually a highly-useful, detailed article on the lobbying push behind the bill.

The National Immigration Forum and the DC umbrella group it initiated, the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, were key players in this strategy. Behind them was the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, which brought together over 40 of the largest corporate trade and manufacturing associations in the country, under the aegis of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ...

These Washington groups supported all the compromise bills embodying the legalization/enforcement/guest worker tradeoff, beginning with the original Kennedy/McCain bill in 2005. The same argument was used to justify them all: "It's not possible to get legalization without including more enforcement and guest worker programs."

Note that the argument was not that 'it's not possible to have enforcement without legalization." It was the reverse. ... 9:22 A.M.

Failure Is An Option, Part XVIII: From The Hill, some hearteningly downbeat quotes on the immigration bill's prospects:

"It may be too little, too late," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) ... [snip]

 Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested to reporters that if the Senate does not act "within the next couple weeks" the bill could be dead for the 110th Congress.

"As long as we can get the bill back up within a very short period of time, there is no harm done," said Chertoff, who said that the Georgians' funding plan was still on the table. "What we can't afford to do is let this languish beyond that period of time."

[E.A.] Update: But see other, more ominously optimistic takes. ... 2:00 A.M.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fool the Yahoos II: Rich Lowry still isn't paranoid enough! He seems to think the call by undecided GOP senators Chambliss and Isakson

for an emergency supplemental bill to fully fund the border and interior security initiatives contained in [the Senate immigration bill]

shows that "democracy works"and they are coming around to sensible opposition to the bill. As Kate O'Beirne points out, the proposal seems much more like a transparent ploy to give these senators pro-enforcement cover so they can vote for the bill. I think veteran comprehensivist Sen. McCain even publicly suggested this maneuver. ... Democracy works, but for Senators eager to please business lobbyists, pander to Latinos--and who have secret contempt for their constituents--it will be a last resort. ...

P.S.: O'Beirne predicts anti-bill Senators "will insist that the additional funding produce measurable results before considering any sweeping reform." ...

P.P.S.: Noam Askew is paranoid enough! He suggests that Chambliss and Isakson are positioning themselves to support the bill if they can somehow avoid the voters wrath. ... Malkin, also appropriately worried, notes reports that McConnell and Lott are on the verge of flipping 15 Republican senators. ... Meanwhile, Paul Weyrich thinks opponents of the bill are up against  what Al Gore would call  "powerful forces":

In all of the years I have been here I never have known when the establishment really wants something that the establishment cannot obtain it. And the establishment really wants this bill.

It's no time to calm down. ... 5:02 P.M. link

Monday, June 11, 2007

Kos v. P.o.s.! Yahoos to the right, yahoos to the left. Blogometer's Conn Carroll notes that the recently elected Kos-style Dem candidates (Tester, Webb, Boyda) do not seem to be lamenting the immigration bargain's collapse. ... He also has Kos himself busting pompous Balz. ... Backfill: Fishwrap added McCaskill to the list  of anti-comprehensive netroots Dems. ... P.S.: On the right, even "yahoo"-bashin' Bill Kristol has bailed on the bill-- 

I would point fingers at the drafters of the bill. The more this bill was debated, the less able people were to defend it substantively. 

1:55 P.M. link

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Fool-the-Yahoos Surge: Meetings have been held, tactics adopted, talking points synchronized. The new Bush counterinsurgency strategy to reverse the course of the immigration debate seems to have two components:

1) Exude confidence. "We are winning" ... sorry, that's what Bush said about the war in Iraq. Here's what his Commerce secretary said about the immigration Grand Bargain: "This bill is alive and well .... I have no doubt. This is going to go through ...."

 2) Stress all the enforcement provisions in the bill, while pretending you've gotten the message:

"I know some of you doubt that the Federal government will make good on the border security and enforcement commitments in this bill ... [W]e are now committing more resources than ever before to border security, doubling the number of Border Patrol agents, building hundreds of miles of fencing, and employing advanced technology, from infrared sensors to unmanned aerial vehicles. The bill builds on this progress by requiring that we meet border security objectives before certain other provisions can take effect."

--President Bush, President's Radio Address, June 8. [E.A.]

"Because I think a lot of people have concerns about security and our message is: 'We heard you. Take a look at what's going on with this bill.'"   ...

"If you take a look at the bill, it is the largest investment ever in border security. ... This bill says ... harsh punishments for employers." ...

"And furthermore, we have a mechanism now for knowing who the illegals are, where they are, whether they're working, whether they're breaking the law and if they're not working and they're not obeying the law, they get sent out." 

--White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, on various Sunday shows. [E.A.]

This is all in keeping with the Peggy Noonan view that the White House really does think its own GOP base is composed of yahoos who can be fooled with a little talk of enforcement.

kf Balking Points

1. If all these enforcement measures are so wonderful, why not enact just them and drop the questionable legalization part? Bush is holding the parts of the bill everyone says they want hostage to the parts he wants.

2. If we tried the enforcement parts first, then we wouldn't have to trust the federal government. We could make sure the measures work before we go ahead with legalization (and attract a new wave of legalization-seeking illegals).

3. The bill does require "that we meet border security objectives before certain other provisions can take effect." Unfortunately, legalization is not one of those "certain other provisions." Legalization is immediate under the bill.

4. "[I]f ... they're not obeying the law, they get sent out." Of course, most of them will be obeying the law ... because what was illegal will have been legalized! As for whether the government will actually get it together to send people home if, say, they've come illegally after the January, 2007 cutoff--well, again, let's see whether that "investment" in enforcement pays off.

Bonus BP:

5. If illegals "live in   fear" under the status quo, as we're told, then how is the status quo "silent amnesty"?

But I'm glad Bush mentioned the aerial drones! ...  10:16 P.M. link

Straight Fake Talk: In a video clip available on the NYT site, John McCain pretends to Iowans that he shares their anger that the border fence didn't get built. [Go 2 minutes into the clip] ... 5:05 A.M.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Google Alert Gold: RightWingNews'John Hawkins talks to a GOP Hill aide and gets some good-as-MSM tick-tock ** on how the immigration bill crumped last Thursday. Hawkins then asks the aide "why he thought so many Republicans had been supporting such an incredibly unpopular bill." Three reasons come back:

First off, there was what he referred to as the "Rovian School of thought," which says that passing this bill would capture the Hispanic vote for the GOP for decades to come.

But wait--I thought the Senators were doing it because  it was viewed as vital within policy circles! Don't disillusion me.

P.S.: RWN's source also explains why all those conservative amendments--the official sticking point in the deliberations--aren't insignificant:

The "Grand Compromise" crowd didn't want a lot of these amendments to be voted on because either some of the amendments would have been accepted and it would have killed the bill or alternately, they would have had to vote against common sense enforcement measures and made themselves look bad.

I still hope Sen. DeMint hangs tough and refuses any agreement to whittle down the list of amendments and go forward. Why make the Grand Bargaineers look bad when you can actually kill the Grand Bargain? ...

**--Hawkins doesn't ask what they ate, though. You always have to ask what they ate. ... 10:57 P.M.

"Immigrant Bill Hurts Martinez at Poll": Senate GOP Grand Bargaineer Mel Martinez's approval ratings have "plunged" from 48 to 37 percent approval in his state, Florida--an all-time low for him, reports the Orlando Sentinel. ... P.S.: Isn't Florida, with its large Hispanic population, supposed to be one of the more comprehensive-friendly states? Could a Democratic presidential candidate actually use the Bush immigration bill's unpopularity to win Florida's toss-up electoral votes in 2008? .. . [Thanks to emailer P.S.] 9:40 P.M.

Balzbusters!Politico's Roger Simon joins the backlash against pompous Dan Balz CW! Like Jacob Weisberg, Simon argues that, when it comes to "comprehensive immigration reform," failure is a pretty good option. ... P.S.: DNC chair Howard Dean says that in the recent midterms Republican "anti-immigrant fervor ... helped them in a few races"? Simon buried the lede--I thought the accepted lesson of '06 was that it didn't help the GOPs, or maybe even hurt them. But Dean should know. I defer to his expertise! Someone tell Sen. Kyl. ... 9:09 P.M.

Sorry, K-Lo: Republican Sen. John Kyl is still working to resuscitate his awful immigration "bargain," according to Politico.  I guess he hasn't "come home" after all. ... P.S.: Maybe he wasn't such a great "statesman" to begin with? Just a thought. ... 8:54 P.M.

Cocoon Chronicles: But All Our Sources Say It's 'Vital'! Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post say the "grand compromise" isn't dead yet--the "chief architects" are "confident that they could resurrect it." The WaPo reporters then declare:

Within policy circles, immigration reform is viewed as vital, addressing both the growing demand for workers and the social costs of an illegal underclass. [E.A.]

Well, there's policy circles and there's policy circles. How does this sentence--not just biased, but amateurishly biased!--get into the Washington Post? You could just as well have written, in 2002:

Within policy circles, toppling Saddam Hussein by force is viewed as vital, addressing both the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the need to establish a new dynamic in the region.

I don't remember reading that one. ... P.S.: The next WaPo sentence, of course, is "The public also generally supports the idea." See below for why this is b.s.--or see Rasmussen and Gallup. ... P.P.S.: I'd never work for an organization that would botch a big story as thoroughly as the Washington Post Company's flagship has botched this year's immigration bill coverage! ... Oh, wait. 1:58 A.M.

Friday, June 8, 2007

"Voters wanted an immigration deal": A quick word on those polls  MSM writers--e.g. Dan Balz--are using to suggest that the Senate thwarted the popular will in blocking "comprehensive immigration reform." I'd been puzzled myself by the consistent polls showing that a) the comprehensive bill itself was wildly unpopular,  yet b) --and these are the polls emphasized by the MSM--the controversial "earned legalization" planks, when they are described to voters, win majority approval.

But Mystery Pollster cleared it up for me. The key is the Gallup finding that only half of the public is paying much attention to the immigration debate. Those who are paying attention oppose the bill 30% to 11%, but 58 % "don't know enough to say."  On this basis, Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport calls those who oppose the bill a "vociferous minority"--apparently believing that if only more voters paid attention they'd endorse the bill, because when they're given the questions  describing various paths to citizenship for illegals who "have a job" and "pay back taxes," they mostly say yes.

The flaw in this "scientific research,"  MP points out, is that by Newport's own admission these are mainly voters who aren't paying attention and are hearing these terms for the first time, so "their reactions may vary greatly along with the text of the descriptions provided." If they react positively to loaded words like "job" and "pay taxes" when they first hear them, that's no guarantee that they'd endorse the Senate bill's provisions if they starting following them closely (and began to hear other terms, like "immediate legalization" and "sanctuary").

We simply don't know how the 58% would react if for some reason they started paying attention--though Gallup's own finding that those who are paying the most attention are the most lopsidedly (61% to 17%) opposed to the bill is hardly evidence that they'd support it. Indeed, when Gallup described to voters various alternatives, the most popular, at 42%, was "to require illegal immigrants to leave, to but allow them to return if they meet certain requirements over a period of time." That sounds a lot like--yikes--deportation, no?  Another 14% wanted flat deportation with no possibility of eventual return. 42+14=56.

Update: Matthew Yglesias talks about "[t]he objective social conditions militating in favor of reform." Wow, that brings back memories. ... 4:55 P.M. link  

Don't calm down: The White House says Bush is going to keep pushing the "grand bargain" in a Capitol Hill meeting next week.  This could mean he's planning a surge-like effort, or it could just be part of the gradual let-down-easy process in which he learns that it's not really about the amendments--the Senate is just not that into him. ...

P.S.: Sen. Salazar says the bill "may return in July,"  according to the Denver Post. Why? Because "'Failure on immigration reform is not an option.'"  ...

P.P.S.: At some point, won't the President and others involved (McCain, Lindsey Graham, Lott, etc.) realize that as long as they keep pushing the bill, even in the press, they keep the pain coming (even as they impress reporters with their bipartisan statesmanship)? As First Read points out, the big winner yesterday wasn't the conventional pick:

Oddly enough, the shelving of the immigration bill could actually help McCain. The less the issue is brought up, the better for McCain ... 

Right.  If the bill definitively dies, McCain might even collect those character points for sticking with his position. ... It's like the BMW Z4, which gets better-looking when you know that it flopped! [Can you pick an analogy that resonates with more than, say, three readers?--ed  I need to maintain my fragile coalition.]

Update: First Read suggests McCain handled the post-collapse immigration questions  well in Iowa today--in other words, he sounded like he was admitting likely defeat and pushing it into the closet of Past Lost Causes. But I could be overinterpreting. ...

More: O'Beirne hears  "the Republican leadership continues to press the reluctant Senators" for a deal that could enable cloture. ... 3:13 P.M.

George Borjas on what the Bush administration could have done to make progress on an immigration solution. ... [Hint: It's not "comprehensive."] 4:15 A.M.

Shailagh Murray reports   usefully on how four anti-comprehensive Republicans, including Sen. DeMint, switched votes to back the Dorgan anti-guestworker amendment that may have helped kill the immigration bill. But her story feeds two insidious memes that could propagate in the days ahead:

Bogus Meme #1: The vote-switchers were an obdurate minority frustrating the will of the majority through cynical trickery. Here's Murray:

But that's the Senate, where tactical voting is par for the course, and where a single disgruntled lawmaker -- or, in this case, four -- can run even the most artful compromise aground. [E.A.]

First, Sen. Dorgan, a Democrat, knew full well that if his amendment won it would probably derail the "grand bargain." Republicans had said that it would. Yet he pressed ahead, aided and abetted by Majority Leader Reid who as the vote was being plotted "tapped Dorgan on the back" and said "excellent," according to Politico's Carrie Budoff. This suggest that Dorgan, and maybe Reid, preferred "no bill" to the bill as grandly bargained.

Second, the bill did not fail after Dorgan's "killer" amendment. It failed on an ordinary cloture vote, in which all parties had been clearly warned by Reid that failure would mean withdrawal of the bill. Yet it couldn't even muster a majority, let alone 60 senators. Why did a bipartisan majority effectively vote to bury the bill? The Hill s Manu Raju offers an explanation that's  more sophisticated and plausible  than Murray's Disgruntled Saboteur theory:

Since the bill failed on a procedural motion, it gives both parties cover when trying to court the influential Latino vote in the 2008 elections.

That's how the Senate works, no? It excels in providing opportunities for lawmakers to engineer stalemates that kill legislation a majority wants killed while diffusing responsibility for doing so (or allowing reporters to blame "disgruntled" loners). ...

Update: But see K-Lo's anonymous Senate source, who says a) the cloture vote may have reflected majority sentiment less faithfully than I'm claiming; and b) it's not over. (Buried lede!) ...

Bogus Meme #2: Left and Right are totally strange bedfellows here. Sen. DeMint, reports Murray, dislikes the "comprehensive" bill because it includes "a path to citizenship for undocumented workers." (That's not how DeMint would describe it, probably.) And, says Murray,

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) does not like the immigration bill, either, but for entirely different reasons.

Entirely different reasons? Dorgan thinks the bill would "depress wages and lead to foreigners taking good jobs." And DeMint, presumably, thinks a "path to citizenship" would encourage more illegal immigrants, who would ... depress wages and lead to foreigners taking good jobs! They're both concerned about depressing wages. Bipartisanship! Murray reminds me of those radical feminists who insist that their reasons for censoring pornography are completely different from Pat Robertson's. No they're not.

P.S.: The Post really needs Edsall back. ... 3:11 A.M. link

Psst! The system worked: WaPo's Dan Balz--in a piece produced with stunning swiftness that nevertheless manages to incorporate every respectable, loaded, portentous goo-goo cliche available--argues that the "collapse of comprehensive immigration reform" represents

"a scathing indictment of the political culture of Washington"! ...

"another example of a polarized political system in which the center could not hold"!

"a political system that appears incapable of finding ways to resolve the nation's big challenges." [E.A.]

I prefer the alternative Boehner Hypothesis.

P.S.: Balz's piece is a near-Platonic example of the Neutral Story Line--a sweeping, seemingly profound and biting analysis that nevertheless doesn't offend anyone because it doesn't seem to be taking sides. But of course it does take sides. It takes the "bipartisan" side--simply assuming that "comprehensive immigration reform" is a good idea.

What if the bill's collapse represented

"a rare example of the political system appearing capable of finding ways to reject  half-baked, grandiose schemes of a reckless President"?

Not neutral! ...

P.P.S.: To support his scathing indictment, Balz says "Voters wanted an immigration deal ... ." I know a respected robo-poller who disagrees.

P.P.P.S.: The Post really needs Edsall back. ... 2:04 A.M. link

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cloture fails, 50-45. Immigration bill pulled off floor by Sen. Reid. ... It can't really be about how many amendments Republicans get to offer. ... Alternative: Maybe it's about not being able to take the worst ideas from the left (instant legalization of illegals) and the right (second class guest workers), put them together, call it centrism, bask in fawning MSM coverage and ram it down the throat of voters who don't want it! ... P.S.: Sen. Feinstein says the problem is people "never understood the complexities of the bill." I don't think so! ...

Of course, the bill isn't dead. Just resting. There will be an instinctive, goo goo guilt-tripping MSM effort to induce its revival. ('The system isn't working ... bipartisanship,' etc.)** It could well come back. This is no time for gloating. ... O.K., maybe a little gloating:

"Backers of Immigration Bill More Optimistic Lawmakers Cite Sense of Urgency"-- Washington Post, last Monday.

As with the LAT's stories about California Gov. Gray Davis' growing confidence heading into his recall election, I don't think this story simply looks embarrassing, given subsequent events. I think it was BS at the time it was written. The Post's reporter was either willingly or (more likely) cluelessly spun by his pro-bill sources, ignoring the impact public opposition to the "grand bargain" over the recess was having.

"Why Amnesty Makes Sense"- Time cover story, released today.

Hmm. Maybe editor Rick Stengel wishes he hadn't switched to publishing on Fridays instead of Mondays. Not that the article isn't as timely and provocative as ever!

"I'm ... pessimistic about the chances of blocking the [Senate]immigration bill with so-called Killer Amendments"-- kausfiles, June 5  [E.A.]

What do bloggers know? I also thought Dems wouldn't endanger the bill by emasculating the provisions Republicans liked ("Majority Overreach"). But maybe the Dems, too, are not that unhappy to see the bill fail. [How can its failure help both Dems and GOPS? Isn't control of Congress a zero sum game?--ed It is. But incumbents also have an interest in keeping their individual seats--and that's a game both Dem and GOP incumbents and incumbents can win. They win it, in part, by avoiding votes that might anger lopsided majorities of voters! The conspicuous public opposition to the bill (not just from conservatives) over the past few weeks may have triggered an early onset of this useful self-preservationist instinct.

**--Update: That was fast. ... 6:37 P.M link

Hey, Republicans! I know a way to take that divisive issue of the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill off the table.' Kill it! On a muddled procedural vote! Before a weekend! ... See NR's argument. 2:17 P.M.

Politico's Carrie Budoff on how Dorgan got a "second crack" at his possibly deal-killing amendment. Note especially the suggestive final grafs. ... But Kate O'Beirne worries that

"the 'fix' is in,  with the compromise coalition and the White House fashioning some complicated amendment that will eliminate some conservative improvements, and fix the Dorgan amendment that jeopardizes GOP support."

12:25 P.M.

You can watch a live feed of the Senate voting on cloture for the immigration bill here. ... Update: Here is AP's latest. ... It looks as if there will be another vote later today. ... [Via RealClearPolitics] 8:54 A.M.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dorgan ex machina? The Senate seems to have just approved a Dorgan amendment to "sunset" the guest worker program in the immigration bill after five years. Wasn't this same amendment considered a "deal breaker" when it was rejected a couple of weeks ago? ... I think it was. ... [Thanks to alert reader N.A.] ... Update: That could explain Drudge's headline. Or not! ... Update 2: AP indeed fingers the Dorgan amendment as causing trouble:

Sen. Arlen Specter ...said he or his allies would slightly reword Dorgan's amendment and hope for a change of heart by one or more senators who "don't want to kill the bill."

See also this fresher AP dispatch. ...Did WaPo's cheerleaderish Jonathan Weisman go home early? His posted story still says "Immigrant Measure Survives Challenges." By the time he wakes up, that will probably be accurate again. ... Vote switches: It looks like Bunning, DeMint, Dole, Enzi and Menendez switched to vote for the amendment while Coburn, Grassley and Whitehouse switched against it. Brownback went from not voting to nay, while Dodd went from yea to not voting. ...  P.S.: You'd think Sen. Coburn would be a potential insurance vote for the amendment. Doesn't he want to kill the bill? Same goes for Sen. Cornyn, who voted against Dorgan both times. ... Alternative outcome: Senate Republicans (e.g. Kyl, McConnell) are so in the tank on this bill they'll decide sunsetting the guest-worker program isn't a deal-breaker after all. ... 10:04 P.M.

P.O.S. Update: As expected and feared, the Senate bill "edges back from brink." Sen. Hutchison prepares epic sellout. But Sen. Chambliss says he's only "committed to the concept," not to the bill. ... Much chuckling and repulsive Senate bonhomie. ... See also LAT and  Novak. ... P.S.: Note that Novak says:

[T]he decision to combine border security with naturalization of illegal immigrants has always been the President's way of holding a national priority (security) hostage to a policy (legalization) that he views as desirable.

Doing nothing is an option. A popular option! According to a Rasmussen poll taken Monday and Tuesday, when people are asked to choose between "no bill" and the Senate immigration bill, they prefer "no bill" by a 49-32 margin. ... Support for the bill has fallen further over the past week--it's now opposed by a 2-1 margin, with 53% against it and only 26% supporting it. Maybe it's time for the MSM to stop pretending that it's only the "Republican base" that doesn't like this bill. ...

P.S.: Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Reid charged, "People are looking for excuses on the Republican side to kill this bill." I'm not sure that's true--and Reid's threat to pull the bill looks to be a negotiating ploy. But if it were true, it would be understandable! Welfare reform faced similar legislative obstacles in 1996. The difference is that voters supported welfare reform by a 2-1 margin. Only a conspiracy of elites could prevent it. This is the inverse situation: only a conspiracy of elites can foist Sen. Kyl's "grand bargain" off on the public. That may be harder to do these days (with, you know, the Web 'n all). ...

Update--It's not just the GOP "base": Gallup finds that Democrats oppose the bill by almost the same margin as Republicans.  Independents are the most opposed. ... Gallup adds that most voters still aren't paying enough attention to have a strong opinion. But "there is a core group of about one-third of Americans who are opposed to the bill, counterbalanced by only about one-tenth who support it." As Mystery Pollster notes, there's little reason to assume thatif more voters paid attention to the bill it would pick up support. ... To any pol, this is a picture of bill the public doesn't like. ... 10:17 A.M. link

More Killer Amendment  Strategy: Hit Employers Hard!Kf's quondam correspondent, the mysterious Mr. X (as I think I've called him) surfaces with some suggestions that echo the conclusion of the Killer Amendment Contest--namely that the most lethal immigration-bill amendments will separate the GOP's business conservatives from its social conservatives by targeting employers in a way that also appeals to Democrats:

[I]nstead of working the margins with burdens on employers of Z-visas immigrants, how about hard-nosed provisions that shift the burden of proof about employment eligibility from immigrants to employers... [snip] ... [H]ow about upping the fine for employing illegals to $100,000 per instance, making it illegal to employ anyone who hasn't been confirmed (instead of the current proposed system of making illegal to fire anyone until their appeals process is up) ... or even, my favorite, a fine that's enforceable on the spot if illegal immigrants are found on a work-site. (Let the employers appeal the fine after they've paid.)

It's not just a poison pill, but I think it's also good policy. ...

If you make it illegal to employ anyone until and only after they've confirmed their employment eligibility, even employers who don't presently have business models dependent on low-wage illegal immigrants (agribusiness, food service, hospitality,  etc.) would absolutely freak out because employees wouldn't be able to work while they're appealing mistakes in the system.

But why these make for great killer amendments is because [they] would unite the enforcement-first Republicans with the old-line Labor Dems together on one side against big-business GOP and open-border Dems.  That's the fault line of this debate to exploit.

Hit employers hard. Very hard.


At the very least, tough anti-employer amendments would give labor Dems who'd like to kill the bill--but who might not want to leave many fingerprints--a way to accomplish their goal: they merely vote to make the evil, illegal-hiring employers bear their fair responsibility. It just so happens that this breaks apart the bill's core coalition. ... 2:45 A.M. link

Hey, President Bush, here's your domestic legacy! No need for that messy, divisive immigration reform business. ... P.S.:Eduwonk is only mildly impressed. He's probably right. Ignore him! Take a victory lap! ... 1:00 A.M.



Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column. Gawker--It's come to this. Eat the Press--Sklarianna & Co. are like Gawker if Gawker actually believed in something. ... [More tk]