The Dems strategery on the immigration issue and GOP opportunities
Thanks to RealClearPolitics (and my friend Randy) for bringing this article to our attention.
The following memo from Democracy Corps, i.e. James Carville and Stan Greenberg, two particularly talented Democrat activists.
From the Democracy Corps website:
or from my site in case they take theirs down:
Carville and Greenberg describe their view of the appropriate approach for Democrats to take on the issue of illegal immigration, and the vulnerability of Republicans on the issue.
My take on it is that they are exactly right: Republicans are divided on the issue and thus come across as ineffective. Most of the public is against the radically punitive and xenophobic measures coming out of the House of Representatives.
This is indeed an area where the GOP is vulnerable. The Dems can go after members of the House for being extreme and after the President for not enforcing our borders.
As always, the economy is the most important issue to voters according to a recent poll, followed by gas prices, with illegal immigration and the Iraq war bringing up the rear.
So I doubt that this issue is important enough by itself to most Americans for the Democrats to be able to win back either chamber of Congress, but if gas prices stay high and the Iraq war news continues to sound ugly it could be enough to put them over the edge. To be clear, I'm not predicting that will happen, but the GOP should pay close attention to Carville's intuition and their own vulnerability.
My advice to the GOP is to muzzle the xenophobes and take strong action to motivate fiscal conservatives by proving that Congress is able to get back to keeping spending under control. At this point I'm far from convinced that they are able to do so, but the upcoming House-Senate conference on the "emergency" spending bill will be an interesting test.
The House leadership has said they will not allow a bill out of that conference which costs more than President Bush's line in the sand of $92.2 billion. The Senate passed a $106 billion bill with 78 votes, more than enough to override a veto. I don't know whether I would prefer to see the conference cut the bill down to Bush's number so that he signs it or to see a bigger bill emerge and have him veto it.
Bush has too often been the "boy who cried 'veto'", yet has never vetoed a bill. (I think he holds the record in terms of time in office with no veto.) A Congressman with whom I have an occasional dialog told me that President Bush told him this week that Bush would indeed veto a bill bigger than his number. Personally, I'd love to see it. Either way, it will be a minor victory for the GOP as long as the worst case doesn't happen:
If the conference comes out with a bill bigger than $92.2 billion and Bush signs it, the Republicans deserve every bad thing that will happen to them in November, and as long as they keep spending like Democrats I won't be sad to see them go.
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