Blogs > Cliopatria > Strange Month

Jun 9, 2007 3:49 pm

Strange Month

The next presidential campaign is well underway with debates on both sides, but it’s half a year before the first primaries. Charles Krauthammer has as good a defense of the current system as you are likely to see, but the process is still awfully hard on everyone.

A majority of Congress has voted for a withdrawal timetable, but using the powers of the presidency and a dedicated minority, George Bush’s war policy remains in place. So the war in Iraq drags on politically in weird dreamlike way, neither supported nor repudiated. Sadly the real war is what even the best wars are, nightmarish.

Bush still rules the war, but he and a bi-partisan coalition striving for immigration reform have been defeated—at least for the moment—by another bi-partisan coalition made up of people who either oppose the reform as it stands or who are looking for ways to straddle the fence.

This article on the immigration debate in the Houston Chronicle ends with a revealing set of findings from a new poll. To quote:

In a recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, 55 percent of the respondents said penalizing employers who hire illegals is the best way to reduce illegal immigration. One in four said more border agents is the best answer, and 7 percent favored more border fences.

When the word"amnesty" was not invoked, 62 percent of Republicans said they favored letting illegal immigrants now in the country obtain citizenship if they have jobs, pass background checks and pay fines. But only 47 percent of Republicans said they favored giving amnesty to illegal immigrants if they met those same conditions.

What an odd world we live in. The word “amnesty” matters more than the substance of the offer to a key swing group of voters. (I wonder if many in the same group also oppose gay marriage but would accept on a point-by-point basis giving gay couples the rights of marriage.)

Then there is this last paragraph, also concerning the Pew poll:

Democrats, independents and moderate and liberal Republicans were most concerned about jobs, but conservative Republicans were about equally concerned with jobs and terrorism.

Is the border a front in the war on terror? If so, what does that mean? We don’t even have a consensus on that.

Strange month.

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