An anonymous White House official said that neither the people on the far left nor far right are going to get what they want on the immigration bill. Could have fooled me, since that farthest of far leftists, Sen. Ted Kennedy, said, "This bill is our best chance to fix our broken system." Go figure.
Truly, President Bush's immigration policy has always been mystifying, but even more troubling is his attitude toward its conservative opponents.
I don't suggest that President Bush has a duty to cater to conservatives on immigration because they have stood by him on the war. This isn't about conservatives or political reciprocation, but what's best for the nation.
But I do believe the president should hesitate before assuming the worst of motives in the very people who have tirelessly defended him, particularly on the war, against the people who are now his best friends on this abominable immigration bill. Sadly, this is nothing new. Too often there is an inverse relationship between the level of graciousness President Bush metes out versus that he receives. He sometimes reserves his harshest words for his allies.
Such was the case when he attacked his conservative critics of the bill. But because I continue to believe President Bush is an honorable man pursuing policies he believes are right, I don't question his good intentions on immigration. Too bad he doesn't likewise give the benefit of the doubt to conservatives opposing him. I believe he is wrong both about the bill and the mindset and motives of most conservatives opposing it.
President Bush is wrong that conservatives are trying "to frighten people" into opposing the bill. They are trying to jolt lawmakers into recognizing the inevitable destructiveness of the bill, to national security, the rule of law and the long-term solvency and cultural cohesiveness of this nation.
President Bush is wrong that those who "want to kill the bill" are not doing "what's right for America." He's got it exactly backward when he says opponents are looking "at a narrow slice" of the bill because they are "determined to find fault" with it. The only things that appear redeeming about this monstrosity are insignificant "narrow slices" that are wholly outweighed by the bill's noxious provisions. If we must use the term "narrow slices" in connection with this legislation, we should do so to describe that narrow slice of border fence that has been built or is likely to be built in the reasonably near future as opposed to the hundreds of miles that were promised.