(We’re going to keep this up top for most of the day. Lots of fresh blogging below!)
John McCain’s gift that keeps on giving –the McCain-Kennedy coalition of those blind to border security– is getting close to its unveiling. Calling Rudy, Mitt and especially Fred Thompson: Help stop this bill.
I posted the Senate GOP’s leaked “talking points” here.
Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff reviewed them and concluded:
Any Republican candidate who is on board with the projected deal should receive no consideration from conservatives as a presidential nominee.
He’s correct of course, and that means Senator McCain suffers another blow to an already deeply troubled campaign. This deal –which takes down about half of the fence that was mandated last fall– is the result of the McCain-Kennedy absurdity that McCain and Lindsey Graham pushed through the Judiciary Committee and then the Senate and which froze out serious border security as part of a comprehensive bill. Now the greatly reduced Senate GOP caucus is running for cover not realizing that the only cover they have is to stand and fight for enforcement first in the form a fully funded 700 miles of fence, the completion of which —the completion of which— would trigger regularization of illegal aliens in an era of new stiff employer sanctions and counterfeit-proof identification card. The key here is specificity on the triggers, and the vague assurances offered in the talking points are just so many red flags because they are not specific in any way.
If there aren’t 41 Republican senators willing to fight for the common sense solution, the Senate GOP will be staggered again, just as it was by John Warner’s and Susan Collins’ attempt to agree to slow surrender in Iraq some months ago. Apparently the bulk of the Senate Republicans simply do not understand that an opposition party is supposed to oppose bad laws, not attempt to merely dilute them.
Michelle Malkin has many links, but despite the obvious anger in the ranks of the party’s base, this bill will move quickly unless stopped immediately. Call 202-225-3121 and ask for the offices of Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott or Jon Kyl, the three leaders of the GOP in the upper chamber. Surrendering half the fence is the first step in surrendering half the seats they are trying to defend in ’08, and Gordon Smith, Norm Coleman, John Sununu and others ought to be demanding the caucus stop this national security and political insanity. The Senate GOP can and should filibuster any bill that dismantles half the fence before it was built, and any bill that is vague on the details of amnesty-lite.
The Senate GOP may believe that the anti-illegal immigration absolutists are far noisier than their numbers justify, and they would be right. But the common-sense conservatives hate being told that the best the Senate GOP can do is lose gracefully. They will be the folks outraged by the sell-out of the security fence.
The only good news about the bill as outlined in the talking points is that it will effectively end the McCain campaign.
The spotlight is also on Fred Thompson. He was quick to respond to Michael Moore and this cheered conservatives. I hope he takes this opportunity to speak as clearly to his former colleagues about the need to stop this law in the Senate.
The White House and Senate negotiators have narrowed their differences on immigration overhaul to a point where they hope to announce a final deal Thursday on legislation that can be brought to the Senate floor next week.
Commerce Secy. Carlos Gutierrez was in the Capitol Wednesday evening in an effort to resolve final details impacting agriculture workers. But the more decisive meeting came earlier in a second-floor corner office in the Senate Dirksen building where about a half-dozen key Democratic and Republican participants met with Mr. Gutierrez and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has spearheaded the talks for the administration with Joel Kaplan, a top White House domestic policy adviser.
“Everybody in the room understood that tomorrow morning is the final time,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), who has led the Democratic side. “Everyone realizes that if everyone in there wants to get a resolution of this in a positive way, it’s all possible.”
“Tonight’s the night. We’ll know by morning,” Mr. Kennedy said. “If this thing goes over the weekend, it’s finished.”
The core bill, like the immigration overhaul effort that failed in the last Congress, promises millions of undocumented workers already in the U.S. a path to citizenship, something conservatives have criticized in the past as amnesty. But to pacify these complaints, the new measure offers a series of political tradeoffs that address other concerns on the right: chiefly border security and chain migration.
Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that would offer virtually all of the nation’s 12 million undocumented workers a route to legal status while shifting migration preferences away from the extended families of citizens toward more skilled and educated workers.
“The fight over legalization, or