My longtime friend Richard A. Viguerie issued a press release congratulating grassroots America for killing the Immigration Bill. I hope Richard is right. I fear he is not. 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.
Some critics point to the need for cloture, saying that proponents have too far to go before they can proceed with debate. Wrong. If the Republicans point to those amendments upon which they insist there be a vote, if that is a reasonable number (and it would be because Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to pass the bill), then each party can negotiate over which amendments will kill the deal. If each party will withdraw one, then that will deliver 10 to a dozen votes right there.
That still leaves a few votes short of proceeding with the bill, and mark my word, if we proceed with the debate there will be more than 60 votes to pass the bill.
This is where President George W. Bush comes in. The President is very unpopular. He is at only 28% popularity, the lowest since Harry S. Truman. So the critics of the bill say he does not have the clout to pass the bill. Wrong.
Every President in each Congress can get most anything he wants if he is involved. By involved I don't mean merely personally twisting arms. Then what do I mean? Think of who will be voting on this bill. They are Senators, right? There are some Senators, such as Jim W. DeMint of South Carolina and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who are principled. There is little which can be done to tinker with this bill which would cause those Senators to vote for it. But how about some others, who want something and are not up for re-election? The President has what they want. What is it? I don't know. It may be a federal building named after the Senator. It may be a new major road. It could be the appointment of someone at the White House, at the Justice Department or whatever. Often getting these votes is very costly. We might find out about the cost a long time after the fact. Usually we never learn the cost.