Carol Platt Liebau: They're <i>Surprised</i>?!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

They're Surprised?!

Unbelievably, apparently Republican senators are surprised at the intensity of the opposition to the immigration bill. And that, as much as anything, is a distressing sign of the chasm between Beltway GOP thinking and the real world.

The proponents of the bill have mishandled their defense almost as badly as they could have -- attributing ugly nativist sentiments to every bill opponent and refusing to take serious and conscientious objections seriously. Ironically, the very fact that they don't understand what all the fuss is about only serves to alarm the base even further; if the "leaders" don't comprehend why some of this bill is so bad, how committed can they be about truly addressing the underlying problems not only in the legislation but with the US's immigration regime as a whole?

It's been amazing to me that the President has repeatedly tried to adopt immigration as one of his "legacy issues," given that the topic unites Democrats and badly divides Republicans. It's been even more surprising to see him fall back on the worst John-McCain-style attribution of unworthy motives to his adversaries on this issue.


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