President Bush has announced his domestic legislative agenda for next year: Social Security reform, tort law reform, tax reform, an energy bill and conservative judicial appointments. If he gets most of that done, he will have gained a historic legislative record. While we don't yet know all the details, I look forward to strongly supporting those efforts next year.
But I have a hunch that there will be a large unwanted guest in Washington next year -- immigration and border control reform legislation. No, I don't just mean the president's guest worker proposal that is unlikely to pass the Republican House of Representatives. And I don't just mean House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner's driver license and amnesty provisions (good as they are) that were cut out of the Intelligence Reform bill a few weeks ago, and for which he has been promised a vote next year.
What I suspect may be a gathering storm on President Bush's horizon in 2005 is a confluence of factors that will force on Washington a fundamental immigration reform -- one that will seek to genuinely secure our borders. This is something that up until now neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party has wanted, and that the mainstream media have not pressured the politicians to deliver on.
As I discussed in a column last January, the Democratic Party has opposed serious efforts at border control both because they are the historic party of immigrants and because they are in the sway of radical ethnic interest groups.
And, as I pointed out then, the Republican Party has also resisted genuine reform, both because they are afraid of offending Hispanic voters and because business and agricultural interests like the constant flow of cheap labor. More subtly, both parties are disinclined to force reform because upper-middle-class Americans of both parties have come to rely on cheap domestic help, and couldn't afford such help if they had to pay Americans at substantially higher salaries.
But I suspect that these considerations may well be overwhelmed in 2005 by larger political forces unleashed on Sept. 11, 2001. The recently signed Intelligence reform bill was passed with vastly publicized claims of trying to make America safe from terrorists -- a claim that is laughable as long as illegals can enter and stay in America without obstruction. Mr. Sensebrenner's efforts both highlighted this absurdity and created an assured legislative opportunity to address it next year.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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