Separate border control legislation would force the Democrats to stand up and be counted on this issue, without the political cover of a package deal. Some of the more weak-kneed Republicans also want this political cover but taking away the package deal would do far more damage to the Democrats.
Legislation dealing solely -- and seriously -- with border control might be difficult for some Congressional Republicans to vote for but it would be a political nightmare for the Democrats in Congress. And a bill takes just 51 votes to pass in the Senate.
Unfortunately, President Bush has pushed the package deal and used the straw man argument that we cannot find and deport millions of people, even though virtually no one has said that we could.
The real question is whether sweeping the illegal alien problem under the rug by calling them legal will bring in still more millions of illegals, as a previous amnesty has already done. Nor will calling amnesty by some other name do anything more than undermine the confidence of the American people in general and the Republican base in particular.
Sometimes caution is the most dangerous policy. General MacArthur once defined defensive warfare in one word: "Defeat."
Frankly, the Republicans deserve to lose this fall's election, after their wild spending and pandering to economic ignorance on gas prices. But a Republican defeat would only bring in the Democrats -- and the country does not deserve anything that disastrous. The Democrats' petty obstruction and irresponsible demagoguery in wartime disqualifies them for national leadership when a nuclear Iran and nuclear terrorists loom on the horizon.