June 9, 2007

The Real Reason The Bill Failed

Yesterday on CQ Radio, I explained why legislators already had an animus for the immigration reform bill outside of its policies. The New York Times follows up on similar lines today (h/t: Gary Gross):

The creation of the bill, too, was highly unorthodox. Even participants in the private negotiations that led to the so-called grand bargain say their very approach created problems, producing contentious legislation embraced by the participants but met with skepticism by other lawmakers, the public and groups like organized labor and conservative research organizations. “The chance to create meaningful immigration reform legislation was lost the moment the bill emerged from its closed-door meeting with an immediate path to amnesty for anywhere from 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants,” Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, said in hailing the defeat of the bill.

“This agreement was reached between a handful of senators,” said Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, one of the Democrats who balked and voted against limiting debate. “That should not be considered a substitute for deliberation by the full Senate.”

Despite what Rasmussen says this morning, this process failure caused the bill to die on Thursday. The opposition among the electorate had already been factored into the equation by this week, and the bill had built momentum nonetheless. It was the demand for amendments by both sides and the need for lengthy debate that killed it, and the process that created the bill is to blame for both.

Here's what people have forgotten about legislation. Under normal circumstances, a bill comes to the House or Senate floor, and is sent immediately to a relevant committee. That committee assigns it to a subcommittee, which begins deliberation on the proposal. It gets hearings, readings, debate, and amendments at that level, after which it gets sent back to the committee (if it passes at all) and goes through the same process all over again. If the committee approves it, it then goes to the floor of the Senate for more debate and amendments.

And this is why this bill failed. The coalition members arrogated to themselves the role of both committee and subcommittee, bypassing members who serve on those panels. In the case of a bill this broad, it could have come to a number of different committees, all of whose members vyed for the right to deliberate on these very policies. They had their roles usurped by the coalition, and that made them antagonistic at the start.

That's not the only detrimental effect this process had. If the bill had gone through the normal process, it would have spent weeks being reviewed and amended. Even those Senators not directly involved in the process would have had time to speak with those committee members and work indirectly to get their concerns addressed. By the time the bill had hit the floor, Senators would have been well-versed in the particulars of the bill, and most of the main concerns would have been addressed in committee. Under those circumstances, limiting the legislative schedule for the bill to a few days would have made sense.

Not so under the circumstances that this bill came to the floor. The handful of Senators in the coalition never showed the bill to anyone prior to dumping it on the Senate and demanding that the committee process be bypassed and the debate schedule truncated. Even Harry Reid could not abide that kind of arrogance and extended the debate so that people could actually read the bill. The Senate then took on the role of Committee Of The Whole, but on such an accelerated rate that Reid had to ration the number of amendments. In the end, he didn't leave enough time for the bill to have its proper review, and it failed -- and quite properly.

Regardless of the merits and demerits of the bill, this process was atrocious and arrogant. Had the bill come through committee as was proper, we wouldn't have had the parliamentary free-for-all we saw these last two weeks. It would have allowed for interested parties to carefully peruse the legislation, fix its myriad problems, and have an intelligent debate over amendments. Instead, we had the ridiculous fire drill of a nine-day scrum to determine the overhaul of our entire immigration and border security systems, starting in ignorance and ending in ignominy.

The next effort should go through proper channels.


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Comments (38)

Posted by Dan | June 9, 2007 9:57 AM

Many controversial bills have something for everyone to love; this one seemed to have something for everyone to hate.

Posted by Gary Gross | June 9, 2007 10:39 AM

Let's not forget that this is only part of the process. People haven't talked about what happens once the bill passes the Senate. At that point, it hits the House, whose various members will want payoffs for their votes. Democrats from the various 'Groups' will want some goodies thrown in for their votes.

By the time the bill passes, assuming it does, the bill will have more 'decorations' than a Christmas tree. I'd bet the proverbial ranch that the bill that passes the House won't look much like the bill that passes Senate muster.

After that, it's sent to a conference committee to reconcile the differences.

After that, it's sent back to the House & Senate for a final vote. At that point, it's quite possible for Republicans to filibuster the bill again because I'd doubt that the bill will be a serious bill.

As I said here, it's time that the bill must be pried from Ted Kennedy's & John McCain's hands. Having them put the bill together is guaranteeing its demise.

Posted by Jim C | June 9, 2007 10:48 AM

I think beyond the myriad of problems that this bill had, what bothers me the most is that they [the coalition] tried to jam it down our throats. A small number of Senators should not have the right or ability to bypass the normal process... I don't care what side of the aisle they come from.

Jim C

Posted by Gull | June 9, 2007 10:56 AM

How could anyone equate closed-door deal in lieu of "process" and Teddy Kennedy as anything BUT a lethal money-pit for the American taxpayer?

This morning I viewed and blogged about the Rasmussen poll and the "Immigration Gumball" video by Roy Beck (endorsed by Gaylord Nelson). Not once, but twice disassociating the realities of uncontrolled immigration with the agendas of both Beck and Nelson. Compared with the underhanded dealings and sellouts by Teddy Kennedy and his pack of self-serving bipartisan "bargain" hunters, however, I'd [almost] take the Beck-Nelson agenda.

Posted by Sue | June 9, 2007 11:00 AM

I agree with your post. For a good summary of why the word "fail" should not be applied, all should read Jay Cost's June 8, 2007, article in the Real Clear Politics Blog "Mr. Madison Votes Nay". It outlines why the bills not passing is not to be considered a failure within our political system. Read it.

Posted by Pragma7 | June 9, 2007 11:33 AM

"Had the bill come through committee as was proper, we wouldn't have had the parliamentary free-for-all we saw these last two weeks."

Captain, I think you miss a key point. This bill could not have come through committee and Kennedy/McCain et al know that full well. There is rationale behind their underhanded tactic. Kennedy/McCain honestly and arrogantly believed, with all their hearts, that they could shove this bill up our nether regions and make us like it. They did not want the sunshine of debate and amendment - they wanted their bill for reasons not yet fully clear. Their actions, IMO, amount to abuse of power, and an elitest arrogance that I believe many Americans are fed up with.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 9, 2007 11:52 AM

I beg to differ.

Congress has many problems. Because they're used to divvying up the pie. And, working their shinanigans through lobbyist firms "connected to committees."

And, for most Americans, the reality that these critters are whores. That they've given themselves powers far in excess of the 50/50 line that divides the voters; only means that "the old way didn't work."

It also exposes Bush, yet, again, to being the jerk that couldn't win in 2000. So he had to be "selected." And, back then? While the terror menace grew ... all you know is that Bush was close to Bandar. Whatever has motivated Bush to fight terror, turns out to be more of a real estate deal. Where the innept hands of Condi Rice, and James Baker, are playing MAKE BELIEVE.

It's only a question "IF" they can pull this off. Or not.

Bush ran to Ted Kennedy in 2000, fresh from his Supreme Court selection; won 5 to 4. And, he immiedately6 jerked around with "tax rebates. Maybe, you don't remember this. But every Americcan got a government check for $33.

Then Bush went to Ted Kennedy and passed this STUPID "no child left behind" bill ... Showing you that this Bush was the dems best hope. And, he's been growing government. And, spending money foolishly, ever since.

Took a long time, though, for us to catch on.

While the donks are dead set against giving Americans choices. So you got the likes of Gore. Then Kerry. And, if you didn't know "this show is a mess," ain't gonna be anyone who can give ya a lot more evidience of FAILURES. Than where Bush took his "compassionate conservatives." (To the toilet.)

Again, the ONLY place where you find America's free spirit is ON THE NET! Because Americans are actually tuned in.

Not everyone. No one who can't read comes here at all.

Will congress stay wrecked?

At least "something happened" with this amnesty bill. Because we sure got the lies!

Drudge provided them last Sunday. When he said the congress critters were going for broke. Claiming the "out cry" against the bill had died down.

All it took was Drudge!

He repeated this charge on Monday morning.

So, if you want to believe the congress critters are still fighting over their pork, go ahead. But politics has a way of closing doors, just the same.

You think the WHIGS expected to be shut down?

The other thing I do notice is that Guiliani keeps doing well. Lucianne, today, devotes headline space to our need to stay focussed on the WAR AGAINST TERROR.

What will Bush's presidency look like in hindsight?

No better. No worse. Than Jimmy Carter's.

Now, that did produce some visuals! Remember Carter running around Kerry's stage, trying to get Ted Kennedy to shake his hand?

You tell me. At the GOP convention. Will the order go out to Bush to stay home? Or "come late?" He's about useless to anyone in this race who wants to win.

But the Bush's are still dangerous. Well? Radioactive stuff usually is.

As to the GOP side of this agenda, in congress. I noticed that Trent Lott showed his hand as favoring McCain. (Which could just mean in order for Lott to even have clout, he had to make a behind-the-scenes deal with McCain.)

Sometimes? You can run the "old grey mare."

But, still. There's evidence from 1952, that Harry Truman got out of the way! And, ran home! (Eleanor was the deal-maker, within the dem's party. Back in those days. And, I'll guess she held more clout than Hillary holds these days. But that's just me. And, everyone' entitled to an opinion.)

In 1968 it was LBJ's ass that flew out of the White House.

And, as I said. In 2004, we had the "Jimmy running after Teddy, for a handshake" episode. While it also really looked like the stage, itself, was gonna become unmoored. And, head off for Boston Harbor.

As much as you think things "stay the same," they don't in the political world. It's a different ballgame, entirely, when your star's not rising.

Posted by Adjoran | June 9, 2007 12:14 PM

Gary Gross makes an excellent point above: as long as immigration reform is allowed to remain the private domain of McCain and Kennedy, it is doomed. These men are so insistent on their ownership of the process that it prevents the necessary work from getting done.

Probably the best proposal with a practical chance to succeed was Bush's original one, which envisioned a $2000 fee paid by current illegals, the payment of all back taxes, learn English, comply with all laws and regs, stay employed, get in line for chance at citizenship. It also authorized more BP agents and a million guest worker permits.

If the fence were properly funded (where needed, not the whole border, which is silly and wasteful) along with other border security measures and a real visa security program were added to the old Bush bill, it would have gone a long way towards a practical solution.

Enter McCain and Kennedy, whose bill last year watered down enforcement and relaxed most requirements. This year's version, while it does contain some progress like eliminating the automatic entry for extended families and increasing the h1-B skilled visa program, was even worse in most other respects.

Now, unfortunately, we unlikely to be able to solve the problem until after another election, at least.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 9, 2007 12:48 PM

So who were the fathers of the tactic to keep the process "simple" and ram it through? McCain and Kennedy?

The thought occurs to wonder if Bush acceded to this plan because he thought it would be doomed to failure -- more doomed than if he'd actively fought against it and said it was a lousy idea from the get-go.

Both McCain and Kennedy (and possibly Bush) have been around for a long time and should have understood the psychology of what they were attempting to do. What monstrous ego's must be involved to think they could force this dreadful legislation on 200 million adamantly opposed voters and make it stick just on their say-so.

If I'm remembering correctly, McCain ended up ultimately voting against it. But his bid for the presidency is dead because of his involvement in this legislation, as well as his support for terrorist rights over soldiers safety. ALL Presidential candidates should be required to prove that they remember and understand what happened both when the government tried to sell our ports to Dubai and now this amnesty legislation for a bunch of illiterate newbies who bring nothing to the party except a refined ability to drink and drive, and have tons of newbie babies.

Posted by Drew | June 9, 2007 12:57 PM

"...atrocious and arrogant..."
Isn't that synonymous with Kennedy and McCain?

Posted by patrick neid | June 9, 2007 1:21 PM

while i was fearful that this bill was going to pass, especially hating the methods being used, now that it is over it was the best thing that could happen. with the silent majority completely fired up we have a good chance of getting serious immigration reform.

my benchmark will be october's 854 mile fence bill, passed and funded. when this fence is built and completed i'll trust the government to deal with immigration reform.

Posted by firedup | June 9, 2007 1:46 PM

Patrick, you are waiting for pigs to fly.

S.1348 is a retread of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. That was Kennedy's baby and this is Kennedy's baby (also, S.2611 one year ago).

McCain and Kennedy are evil twins.

Mr. President will be holding court over lunch this coming Tuesday with "Republican senators." He didn't get the memo that the bill "failed." Okay, my guesses for attendees at the luncheon:

Jon Kyl, Trent Lott, Mitch McConnell, Elizabeth Dole, John Cornyn, Michael Enzi, Norm Coleman, Elizabeth Dole...

Anyone else?

Posted by firedup | June 9, 2007 2:01 PM

There is only one Elizabeth Dole...I think...heh.

Posted by patrick neid | June 9, 2007 2:13 PM

speaking of flying pigs, who said it better about this immigration charade than than pink floyd on their "animals" album......

If you didn't care what happened to me,
and I didn't care for you,
we would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain,
occasionally glancing up through the rain
wondering which of the buggers to blame
and watching for pigs on the wing.

You know that I care what happens to you,
and I know that you care for me too,
so I don't feel alone,
or the weight of the stone,
now that I've found somewhere safe
to bury my bone.
And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
a shelter from pigs on the wing.

Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are.
You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.
And when your hand is on your heart,
You're nearly a good laugh,
Almost a joker,
With your head down in the pig bin,
Saying "Keep on digging."
Pig stain on your fat chin.
What do you hope to find.
When you're down in the pig mine.
You're nearly a laugh,
You're nearly a laugh
But you're really a cry.

Bus stop rot bag, ha ha charade you are.
You fucked up old hag, ha ha charade you are.
You radiate cold shafts of broken glass.
You're nearly a good laugh,
Almost worth a quick grin.
You like the feel of steel,
You're hot stuff with a hatpin,
And good fun with a hand gun.
You're nearly a laugh,
You're nearly a laugh
But you're really a cry.

Hey you Whitehouse,
Ha ha charade you are.
You house proud town mouse,
Ha ha charade you are
You're trying to keep our feelings off the street.
You're nearly a real treat,
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
You gotta stem the evil tide,
And keep it all on the inside.
Mary you're nearly a treat,
Mary you're nearly a treat
But you're really a cry.

Posted by Joe Doe | June 9, 2007 2:21 PM

The bill did not die - it was just postponed, so the politicians can raise the bid for selling America. Round three next - very similar to the European constitution. The politburos of the day do not take NO for an answer - try and try again until the $ numbers are sufficient. It is a done deal - but the bribes were not yet big enough.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 9, 2007 2:27 PM

"If it wasn't for conservative blogs ..." So sez InstaPundit.

At least, yes, things do get covered properly. HERE. While none of the "news" is trusted all that much. Too much "stuff" goes glaringly missing. (I mean how did Turkey get all those tanks into Irak? We're not even giving the Kurds air cover.) Will anything ever come home to roost?

While Glenn Reynolds says Bush would have to be mighty stupid to re-visit this immigration debacle. Ah. And, then he adds, he has very little faith that Bush is "smart enough" to stay out of this kind of trouble.

It also probably means Bush is clueless as to why his popularity has sunk to such low levels. But can the same be said for congress-critters? Seems the "picture" develops faster when you're elected to office; and you smell the sort of stuff that brews when you lose the chairs that hold your kiesters.

Again, the conservatives, it seems to me, do hold a "balance of power."

Even seeing Fred Thompson doing well; and McCain, not; shows ya that there's been shifting winds. And, the old style media isn't in a position to deliver. As they were in the "old days."

We just can't guess how this stuff plays out, yet.

Since at some point, like the 2008 Convention, the old Bush/Cheney team come into their media moments. What they'll lack, though? I think they already lack the clout to make much of a difference.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 9, 2007 2:53 PM

Ya know, I remember back to 1988; and the primary "hanky panky" that got McCain tossed out of GOP contention.

At that time, defintely PRE-INTERNET! McCain had all the press! They were his devoted followers. They're the ones who screamed the loudest when Bush, the "elder" got chosen to run in 1988.

So it does seem that you could, in the old days, have the press on your side; and still not with a thing inside the GOP tent.

Of course, by 2000, things were different. The Net had arrived! Which, to keep things simple ... since the Net delivers "niche" audiences; it pays to look, again, at the conservatives.

Because the conservatives ON THE NET, ONLY, had something to do with Harriet Miers' withdrawal. She also lost because INSIDE Bush's White House, and unbeknownst to outsiders; there was a real blood-letting! And, Andy Card, finally showed Bush the costs to running "with Harriet" when she'd be exposed as incompetent. (Until you come to Alberto Gonzales' hearing, you don't know what goes on inside of Bush's White House.)

But Bush is now tracking Jimmy Carter territory. Is he clueless?

Even Guiliani owes a lot of his current success to the REALITY that conservatives WANT TO WIN. They're not looking to lose. On purpose.

And, while it doesn't sound like "one voice," what the Internet is bulding is a vehicle where public opinion isn't squelched.

Heck, John Kerry got no benefits from the media. Though, I'd bet the most memorable photographs you have of him from 2004, come from pictures YOU SAW ON THE NET!

IF prior to 9/11, all you saw Bush do was go to Ted Kennedy. So he got the dumb and expensive "No Child Left Behind." And, he got to that "break the bank" tax cut where all you got was $33 dollars ... do you see that Bush has gone back into the same mode?

He also thinks his legacy is the Mideast. While the Kurds are dealling, all alone, with a Turkish troops and tanks "incursion," does it upset you not ... that other than paper pushing ... we're doing nothing with the equipment we do have?

You bet, I notice this lack of support.

And, yes. I notice James Baker's tricks. Which is to deny reality; and go with the lies. As to the word "stability" that's not what ya get when the presidency wobbles.

The other correlation: When the price of oil rises; the Saud's fill up their bank accounts! And, get more dangerous. Won't last forever. But for the time being, it's those profits that are pushing James Baker. He can't get enough of the dough.

The interesting times we live in, now? The media has gone out of the "truth" business; and stuck itself on propaganda. So far? All the LUV the media has for its agenda, hasn't given them anything back, in terms of progress.

Well? If this isn't shades of trying to sell the Edsel, what is?

Posted by firedup | June 9, 2007 2:55 PM

Thanks for the serenade, Patrick. Wicked lyrics.

You know why pigs fly, don't you? Because there's "pie in the sky!!" Oink, oink.

Plenty of Kool Aid to wash it down, too...

Smart people here, I luv ya.


Posted by tgkeason | June 9, 2007 3:27 PM

Senator Kyle's editorial in the Wall Street Journal states that the reason he is pushing the compromise bill is his concern about "the lack of respect for the rule of law" if nothing is done. The truth is this proposed law would turn everyone's (including legal citizens) respect for the rule of law into a laughing stock. This is due to the fact that the proposed law would (without any penalty) via the Z visa grant legal status to illegal immigrants who have broken our current laws. More importantly, the proposed law would hold harmless and turn our Nation into a sancturay for the illegal immigrants who have commited more serious crimes including: Gang members; ID Thefts, Absconders and Members of Terrorists Cells in our country illegally. It seems to me that a better name for the proposed compromise bill is the "Terrorist's Are Welcome Here Law".

Posted by Gary Gross | June 9, 2007 4:00 PM

Carol Herman said "What will Bush's presidency look like in hindsight? No better. No worse. Than Jimmy Carter's."

I vehemently disagree with that type of thinking. I'd suggest that Carol's opinion is colored largely by immigration.

President Bush's legacy will include the visionary war that we're fighting against the jihadists. It'll also include a strong economy fueled by his tax cuts. It'll also include his putting John Roberts & Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court & other solid conservatives like Priscilla Owens & Janice Rogers-Brown onto the appeals courts.

If you think that those things are inconsequential, then you're free to think that President Bush is the GOP's version of Jimmy Carter.

OTOH, let's not forget how awful a president Jimmy Carter was. Let's remember that Carter allowed the worldwide jihad movement to get started. Let's remember that Carter's economic policies were so awful that the phrase misery index was created. Let's remember that the Carter administration was the worst foreign policy & domestic policy administration of the 20th century.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 9, 2007 5:54 PM

Jimmy Carter is irrelevant.

That's one of the benefits when some of these dogs leave office.

Same was true for LBJ. And, Nixon. And, even the elder Bush.

Just to use Reagan's funeral as an example; you're looking at something that was motivated ONLY by the reactions of real, living, American People. Had nothing to do with the media.

But the media covered it. How could they not? Do you know what traffic out here, heading towards Simi Valley looked like? Bumper to bumper. Into the dead of the night.

You think other presidents get sends off's like that?

I don't.

I don't think Jimmy Carter's opinions amount to a hill of beans.

As to Bush. He came into office WITHOUT popular support. 2000 didn't give him traction. What he got? He was running against Algore. And, people HATED both choices.

Then? The Supreme-O's stepped in.

There's no explaining 2004; other than the democraps have no talent!

Talent, as a matter of fact, looks like what you see when you see ten, and soon Fred, campaigning for the GOP nomination. It should look like that!

Whie the "other strength" that's appeared AGAIN is the CONSERVATIVE NET. InstaPundit added the word "conservative." Because that's what happened, here.

It's something of a miracle, when the media is NOT carrying a story; for something like this to blossom; just from public opinion.

Bush tried to counter this with his very nasty claim that American's aren't diverse enough. Proving, yet again, the common ground he shares with Jimmy Carter. Another idiot who thinks the problems come FROM the People! And, in 1980? It appeared Jimmy Carter didn't want to leave the White House "willingly." But, left, he did.

One way Bush got a lot of mileage was the way he kept his White House "locked down." Again, the people in it, are not friends with the DC "elites." But was this silence a talent?

There are very few "tricks" left in Bush's "old kit bag." Though, I expect, when a slot on the Supreme-O's opens up; you'll again see the senators (including Arlen Spector), trying to force their wills on the public.

It can turn into a long siege, if Sandra Day O'Connor goes up on the bench and "covers" ... while Bush's presidency peters out. The man's incompetent. I don't see him gaining traction with any story.

But I also notice, because of the Net, a lot of people are talking about 2008. And, the "money bet?" It's just not the same, anymore.

You think McCain takes this defeat lying down?

You think there aren't some kiesters in congress now quite worried? What about Kyl? Once people spell your name correctly, you can become the product they're not willing to buy.

Yet everything done in DC is done for the stage. Where power is the name of the game.

By the way, Fred's platform is simple: TIGHTER BORDERS, LOWER TAXES, LESS GOVERNMENT.

For Bush? He re-designed "conservatism" as a social issue. And, Fred, ahead? Will go back to Barry Goldwater's definition. So many times the West has tried to influence the East. And, failed.

Bush's failures do not have to take the GOP down the toilet!

Again, the power of the Internet is just amazing. And, I agree with Glenn Reynolds. It may be a "niche issue." But it's definitely among the conservative bloggers that the changes we're watching play out; happens.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 9, 2007 6:02 PM

Round three next - very similar to the European constitution. The politburos of the day do not take NO for an answer - try and try again until the $ numbers are sufficient.

The difference being, in American we can (and frequently do) vote the SOBs out of their plush offices. And said SOBs know it. Just look at the survival rate of Senators who pushed through the Clinton impeachment against the wishes of their constituencies.

Posted by Norman Velden | June 9, 2007 6:37 PM

I don't believe that anyone wanted a bill. Why change something that is so adventageous to business. The only ones who wants a bill is the average American and we know he doesn't count. Lets give him a show and then we can say we tried. Oh! To bad maybe next time in two or three years (or longer if we are lucky). All the politicians walk away from this happy. They can say to their constituants "see we tried".

Posted by unclesmrgol | June 9, 2007 7:00 PM

Actually, Bingaman's criticism is quite correct. His point: The problem isn't the "closed door" quasi-Committee process which brought the bill to the floor, it is the unusual attempt to limit debate and amendment once it reached the floor.

Personally, we should have more of these single-law committees, rather than referring the law to standing Committees; maybe more work might get done that way.

Posted by Frank G | June 9, 2007 9:28 PM

The bill failed because the American people have a deep-seated faith in the rule of law. We all know of horror stories of intelligent, skilled, hard working people, possibly extended family, going through the wringer ($ and years) to become citizens. I work downtown San Diego and see the naturalization ceremony every month or two. Those people worked their ass off to be citizens, didn't just jump a fence and pay $5000.
The Heritage Fndn report documents 3:1 costs: benefits for illegals and directly contradicts the Rand Report so many from LULAC and La Raza cite (and confirms reality and logic). Do we really want to continue this trough? I trust the Fed Gov't to ensure this "comprehensive" agreement as much as I can see their efforts for the '86 giveaway/amnesty. NEVER AGAIN. Build the fence. Stop the flood. Then....we can talk

Posted by betsybounds | June 9, 2007 9:49 PM

Carol (and anyone else who continues to be deluded about the outcome of the 200 election):

Bush was not "selected," and the "Supreme-Os" didn't "step in." They were invited in. By Al Gore. I've never understood this stupid interpretation of the 2000 election results. Al Gore and his campaign brought the case to court. That's the single, only reason the Supreme Court had anything whatsoever to say about it. Gore and his people should have understood--and probably did understand, although they were (and remain, in an act of singular dishonesty) politically incapable of admitting such--that when you bring a case before the judiciary, you enter into an agreement to accept the ruling of unelected judges. Once it was in judges' hands, Bush was perfectly well entitled to make his side of the case and to appeal any ruling from the State Court level. There were valid reasons for the Supreme Court to accept the case on appeal, and Gore was the party to the case who had implicitly agreed that judges would decide the election by bringing the case in the first place. The Founders never, to my knowledge, envisioned that elections would be decided in courts. Gore broke new ground on that one. He thereby laid the groundwork and established the precedent for poisoning any future elections by having them decided by judges.This constant and continuous blaming of Bush or the courts for Bush's "selection" is silly. It's worse than silly, in fact--it's stupid. But the kettle of worms Gore opened with his lawsuit will spill out on top of our elective system in the future, and it will have been his, and only his, fault. Even if I had voted for and supported him, I could not bring myself to forgive him for that. The man is a corruption, all by himself.

Posted by betsybounds | June 9, 2007 9:56 PM

Excuse the typo in my first line. I refer to the 2000 election, of course.

Posted by betsybounds | June 9, 2007 10:11 PM

Incidentally, I hold no brief for Bush in the immigration bill matter, or much of one for him in any other matter. I voted for him twice, and both times hoped for better than he's given. I've come to the unhappy conclusion that, somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 9, 2007 10:34 PM

Oh, BetsyBounds, I'm pretty sure, LBJ, ass kicked back to Texas, wasn't short of frwends. The nature of politics and popularity is that there's always a few diehards who cater to the "formerly" famous.

That Bush came in, in 2000 handicapped? I think there's enough information there to see that the Supreme-O's weren't unanimous when they pulled the case out of Florida's State Supreme system. 5 to 4. Along party lines.

And, then? The Saudis wanted Bush to take Saddam's head off.

One of Bush's characteristics is that he can sit in a pant load. Doesn't bother him. While he also "leaned" towards sympathy with Israel. Who was burying dead civilians. And, the Saud's called Bush up and complained. August 2001.

So, as far as Bush is concerned, eventually the records will be examined. It's only a wonder, actually, that he managed to "get away with it" for so long.

People actually believed him for a time. Today? I think the problems are a bit more obvious.

As to the manipulation of the voters; this immigration bill hitting the wall, should indicate that there's more than one 3rd rail, now, in American politics.

The donks are running as if all they need is ONE PERCENT. While the participation of the CONSERVATIVE MEDIA, from talk radio to the Internet, is just the spot that made the difference.

I don't think the conservatives get enough credit for their abilities to actually influence people. (They don't, when it comes to the marginal issue of abortion.)

But it's a mistake to think that elections will be won on ONE PERCENT; and then forcing Americans to "swallow it."

Whatever Bush and McCain have just learned, happens to hang on this information. To be tin-eared among the voting majority is to miss what happens when an issue blows up in your face.

And, both McCain and Bush are not conservatives.

I keep reading that Hillary "polls well." And, I keep watching as the donks, heading downhill, (so Bush has company), haven't figured out one of the most important things in politics. When you're the president, it pays to TALK TO THE PEOPLE!

This seems to be keeping the republican debates interesting. Will it make a difference when Fred enters the race? Yes. I think so. Because, again, the media ignores the blogs. And, yet the blogs have currency.

As to Fred's platform, it contains 3 parts: Strengthen our borders. Lower taxes. And, shrink government (which includes subsidies.) Heard it before? It's Barry Goldwater's platform.

Bush will prove "winning isn't everything." He fails on governing. Something you can't do by trying to shake everyone's hand in America. Bush's strength is his weakness.

Anyway, if past behaviors are any guide, Bush will attempt to "run out the clock." (Which is why I think we got 9/11. The Saud's financed it. And, very early on, starting in 1998, the Saud's were giving this Bush the green light. In return? They want real estate.)

So far just a lot of empty talk seems to fly about. And, those people in gazoo? There's a fatwa telling them to stop trying ti emigrate to the USA, Europe. And, Canada.

You'd be surprised what the "stall" that just happened in Congress, really meant!

Posted by betsybounds | June 9, 2007 10:47 PM

Uh--say, what?

Posted by firedup | June 9, 2007 11:34 PM

Fred's PLATFORM?!! Fred will "strengthen the borders?" *Cough, cough, choke* Whew.

Fred Thompson has allegedly hired on Mary Matalin Carville and other Bush41 advisors. WooHoo. Fred was an actor, went to D.C. for a lackluster senatorial career (including a vote for his buddy McCain's deadly CFR), and returned to acting. More Woo Hoo.

Whatever, Carol. I'm not going near any Fred-flavored Kool Aid...

Posted by rjc | June 9, 2007 11:40 PM

I cannot believe all of you think the bill failed just because of the infighting at the Senate. There was another influence which was huge (and unconscionably underreported by both print and TV media and most blogs).

Read the article (linking through Drudge) from - of all places - the New York Times: "GRASS ROOTS ROARED AND IMMIGRATION PLAN COLLAPSED". The people of this country rose up, united by the internet and bombarded senators with phone calls, faxes, letters, Emails. It finally got through to these arrogant legislators that America did not want to give the country away to a group of people who came here illegally.

Read the article - it's great, and right on target. And if they bring that monstrosity back, the response will get louder and bigger, because now people are even more organized.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | June 10, 2007 12:29 AM


And this [unorthodox process] is why this bill failed. The coalition members arrogated to themselves the role of both committee and subcommittee, bypassing members who serve on those panels. In the case of a bill this broad, it could have come to a number of different committees, all of whose members vyed for the right to deliberate on these very policies. They had their roles usurped by the coalition, and that made them antagonistic at the start.

This is partially true, ed. However, I'm inclined to think that a vast majority on both sides of the aisle would have been just fine had the original text been presented. The hitch, and perhaps the only and certainly most consequential, was when the public became aware of the bill's contents and noted that only such a perverse bill would be rushed through in such an unorthodox manner because everyone knew that it couldn't pass public scrutiny in any other way. Everyone, especially the Senate, knew exactly how receptive the public was with their committee created bill - voters hated it.

The evidence for the antagonism surfaced in grand style during committee hearings last session when, for example, Specter kept delaying vote after vote to temper the complaints of the anti-amnesty crowd. He was trying to wear down the anti-amnesty coalitions and constituencies but failed because the dislike of the Senate version was so strong. Nevertheless, his committee created and passed the "no enforcement provision" version of the bill and the greater assembly followed the committee lead. They heard all of the public complaints but went ahead anyway. It was only when the House, the lower institution that is closer and typically more responsive to the public, got an earful from voters who stated that enforcement was vital and amnesty was unacceptable that corrections to the Senate version were made. Bush backed the Senate plan. Voters backed the House's. The Republican House carried the day for what little enforcement we have now. The Senate carried only marginally and begrudgingly.

All of that circus leads us to where we are now. The Senate still wants amnesty (despite strong protestations from a handful of stalwart members) and knows that normal process will not provide for them the legislation it wants. Consequently, a grand bargain driven by Bush, McCain, Kyl, and Kennedy was the vehicle to undo what was done by the House-backed bill that got through with enormous effort last session. This Senate would have been happy as clams to get their monstrosity through... except for a public that became aware, awakened, and mobilized at an historic pace to tear it and their legislators apart limb from limb. As soon as the back room jig was up, Senators began seeing the light. Well, not really. They knew they were the very shades directing it... only it didn't work (this time).

I fear, Ed, you are giving much of the Senate too much credit merely for being victims of bad process. They created the process and only yielded when they saw their incumbency threatened not only because of extraordinary process but also because of atrocious legislation. About that Rasmussen was dead on. The question is, did you see anyone complain about process immediately after the bill was presented with great fanfare? I didn't. I recall McCain (a genuinely disgraceful performance all around who lead the Senate reform package last year) and Cornyn (a generally strong performer on immigration control who helped write the package this year) basically fighting for credit on the announcement. Fortunately for Cornyn, he was practically booted off the stage by John "F***" you" McCain which saved him the dishonor of being a seen as head cheerleader, a condition advantageous to him considering the backlash to much of his work. So, process, even a hidden one, was never really an issue to the authors or for the larger body. Process, however, did become a convenient excuse when the grand scheme met vicious public revolt. The outside the cloak room members will certainly use the process excuse to provide cover; however, none stepped forth in the immediate aftermath of the announcement to criticize "process." They all had a weekend to think about their actions, well after the blogosphere and several responsible policy groups had a chance, however expedited, to scan the incomplete but available legislation text.

The upside is that public debate should be more forthcoming. The downside is that "process" will still occur, and by process, I mean the same backdoor horsetrading that leads us to awful legislation pretty regularly. Do I have faith the Senate will carry out the public's wishes? Not really. It took Herculean efforts from a furious public to usurp this plan, and a single vote here or there would have led to the passage of the shamnesty (at least by the Senate and probably by a Pelosi led House). The Senate will get whipped into shape the very instant we look away, and Bush is just salivating to get his open borders plan through. Fortunately, at least for this issue, the public is highly attuned to the debate and can respond quickly because of new media outlets that can use their megaphone very quickly. No matter how many times our government tries to wait out public antagonism to their grandiose plans antithetical to citizen desires, we seem to exhibit considerable stamina. But for how many issues is this true? I'd say many orders of magnitude too few. Campaign promises to "clean up Washington" mean practically nothing once those elected get their thrones, so process continues despite our naive belief that public ones are innately honest.

I continue with my cynicism and will have to until I see better evidence not to.

Posted by betsybounds | June 10, 2007 8:04 AM


I could not have said it better. I don't know of anyone who could have. McCain, especially, is very good at mastering process with bipartisan compromises-recall the Gang of 14, well-named.

These guys need to be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail like the con men they are.

Posted by Dale Michaud aka TexasDude | June 10, 2007 10:18 AM

Let's just say a certain Hermanite has BDS raging full.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | June 10, 2007 12:22 PM


Thank you. I'm surprised anyone actually slogged through that. I didn't want to go on quite so long, but the historical context was important to explain the bill's evolution and that magical process which was deceitful by design. Utterly.

I agree with you about McCain. McCain is mud and will deservedly suffer the most. I hope Arizon(i?)ans remember his ever-lengthening list of bad legislation and give someone else a chance to lead.

I've become quite disillusioned with our government, particularly this President and our Senate. It's a giant, gamed system whereby incumbency is the raison d’être, to heck if the silent majority and middle-class, the glue of the nation, actually has its concerns addressed. Keeping my Senators honest has been a trial, and one has fought every inch of the way.

I'm deeply concerned for our nation not because of the brilliant Constitutional blueprint we still have, but because of the way it seems to get bastardized by those tasked with implementing it. We are moving ever closer to a nation of men where corporate backers and other special interests move policy as opposed to citizens who still possess a love of country.

Posted by harleycon5 | June 10, 2007 10:38 PM

On the Amnesty Circus and ensuing outrage by the American people:

I agree with the Captain that it was the undercover attempt to ram this legislation through prior to the Memorial Day Holiday that had not only the insiders but the outsiders (ahem, thats us) saying "What the Hell?" It is quite obvious that McCain/Kennedy et al knew that we were the greatest obstacle to this boondoggle, and again misunderestimated our resolve in defeating something that would surely doom the Republic. I can hear McCain snickering, "Those Conservatives will be too busy eating corn on the cob to know what the Hell hit them..." The joke is on YOU Senator, and never to be President. We are smarter than you think.

Any candidate that can express and harness the full power of the base will be the one elected. And lets not forget the incredible power of this issue to get many Democrats and Independents to jump lines to vote for said candidate. Fred Thompson has surely observed this.

On President Bush's record:
1. Impressive in the war on terror
2. Poor in selling a strong message to the American people.
3. Strong on dethroning Saddam, but weak on destroying the forces in the country post victory. Kill the enemy, that is all that need be done.
4. On "No Child Left Behind" I disagree with Carol on this (perhaps she is a teacher) as it is simply an attempt to enforce some form of rational guidelines to make sure children are indeed learning. Is that a bad thing? NO Teachers unions hate this legislation, because they have to make sure they show results. They simply want money and unlimited tenure.
5. On immigration: A complete and total failure. The Bush Administration has pushed for almost complete and total open borders. The American people want none of that.
6. On going after their enemies, also a complete failure. Just consider Alberto Gonzales sheepishly apologizing for firing US attornies that any President is allowed to fire. He simply should have said, "They were fired, and this is the right of the President. Next question."
I could go on, but you can see that the President's record is a mixed bag.

Posted by Dale Michaud aka TexasDude | June 11, 2007 8:03 AM

Why did the pro-abortionists rely first on judicial fiat ignoring previous decision, but know rely on stare decisis and demanding that previous decisions be adhered to?

Because that is the ONLY way they can have there vision of life, or truly lack thereof, made supreme.

Same principle applies here. The only way the pro-illegal immigrationists can have their vision dictated upon soceity is to obfuscate and hide exactly what they are doing, which is what this political manuevering was all about!