So now that the Shamnesty Bill is Pining for the Fjords, I want to make a comment about how “Video killed the radio star” or who is responsible for its Dying. Now as some of you may know by my “Senator Bernard” plan I was willing to make some compromise to fix the problem. I proposed a system which had Judicial, Law Enforcement, legislature, and diplomatic solutions in there. I am not against a complex solution I am against garbage however. but now lets play the Blame Game shall we?
To Quote my good buddy Wyatt
but now, as Monopoly is obviously the game of conservatives, let us engage in the favorite past time of Liberals…. the commencement of the blame game begin now
So first lets lay out the Number one person who is Responsible
George W. Bush
Ok to say he is “one person” responsible is a bit absurd. But as President George Bush gets the blame on what his cronies did before him.When I first restarted my I noticed in the Wall Street Journal Article when they were trying to assert the importance of Hispanics in the country the thing that sticks with me is not their absurd arguments of converting Hispanics into Republicans, but their argument that Salsa and Taco’s outsell Hot Dogs and ketchup. This was not the most absurd comment the presidential machine put out, but one they hid away after they started to try to Salvage the mess. The Terrier Graham calling people who disagree “Bigots”. Secr. Chertoff saying people who disagree would like to Execute illegals. President Bush calling us fear mongers.
Their was a time that politicians would get some of the most absurd and lunatic attacks from fringe nutjobs and they would rarely highlight those disagreements but instead talk about places where good and honorable men can disagree. The fact that Two Cabinet Secretaries, The President’s brother (and former governor of Florida), The President’s Campaign manager who was well liked by the Party even though the 94 revolution keeled over and died on his watch as RNC chair, and lastly the President himself.
The thing that is of course so maddening about this, is this isn’t the first time George Bush and his Presidential team have done this. (while some of you on the left will bring up the questioning patriotism malarky not being patriotic isn’t the same as hating brown people and women). With the nomination of Harriet Miers which was politically tone deaf, and so contrary to the political will that got him into the presidency in the first place he commented on his opponents as being “Elitist” and “Anti-Woman” largely that time through his functionaries. And it was like he hit a button which said “Set me Up the Bomb” because his opponents who were just mad, became furious.
I am not going to go with the NUMEROUS parts of the bill that were simply just terrible, but instead of insulting the angry mob he could have said “This bill is part of a process of negotiation with the Senate, and your feelings about it are also part of a process. Lets work together to make a bill we may not all like into a bill that is good and serves our country well.”
Look at that if you made that case you turned people who oppose you into your allies. Putting political pressure on congress to make SANE changes. Sure some hard core people would be out there trying to kill it dead. But depending on the ability to make changes and to pressure Democrats who were largely against this bill once it was clear their leadership was going to let it die we could have gotten a really good bill. But for all the talk about Bush as a “Steadfast” leader. Their was no leadership, their was no strength.
The second major course of blame, like the first goes directly to the point that George W Bush failed at what up until 2004 he seemed to be a genius at “Politics” George W Bush pushed an issue which had serious grass roots rumblings, grass roots rumblings he was in large part responsible for in the year 2006 and 2007. 2006 shows simple political ignorance, but 2007 shows a lack of an ability to have a good ability to sense the politics of his day. In 2006 pushing forward the bill was a bad idea for a lot of reasons. Grassroots anger during an election where keeping control of the House and Senate was vital. Instead of putting a Major sell on Enforcement, going into what at the time was a strength of the President’s -National Security-, he sold it on the strengths of a guest workers program (oh and some comprehensive stuff to). While it was a comprehensive bill, a word that plays well in polls and still does, the fact is they kept pushing “guest Workers” and “Path to citizenship.” the reason of course is a misguided and foolish attempt to win the hearts and mind of Hispanic voters an appeal to the faith based politics, and not to the politics of the day needed to pass the bill. Had the President Pushed National Security, and had people like John McCain (more on that in the next bit) and other key republicans selling the other “components” he could have won the game in 2006.
But the machinery he built on the backs of the existing Republican Grass roots system was unmoved and unmotivated and so without leadership from a President most of them would have wanted leadership from (indeed many stinging still from Harriet Miers) they went to do what they were newly baptized into the faith to do, fight for our national Security.
President Bush tried to toss them a bone and return to saying Path to Citizenship…but comprehensive to. Poor management, poor message, and proof I think that George Bush is a living example of The Peter Principle.
But 2007 shows that Bush can’t take a good measurement of whats going on. in 2007 the primary process has been RAPIDLY rushed and Bush has a stealth heir apparent. The man who he had a rather bloody fight with in 2000, and who heroically rallied the troops (though I never liked him) John McCain was running with Bush’s steal endorsement. He is for lack of a better word the candidate of the establishment. John McCain’s name is a co-sponsor of the original legislation which the “great compromise” was built upon.
A Bill that (in the form its being done) was grossly unpopular, and the alternative (Fence First) Was being grossly under enforced ( money was allocated but not spent) So they needed to take an unpopular idea where they didn’t make a effort to give the pleebs what they wanted . So their repackaging? A secret meeting with two of the opponents of the bill last year and key supporters of the bill last year negotiated with a cabinet secretary outside of the committee process with a monumental boo. because nothing instills happiness in voters who think you don’t give a fark about them then secret meetings with legislation senators don’t get a chance to read
As John McCain brought his junior Senator John Kyl trying to take the lead for himself and the white house on selling this bill to others. So some one came forward selling a bill because of the establishment pressures of pleasing a president and pleasing a man he wants to be president.
It was a bad deal, insider without input, and cronied out the wang. Everything we’ve come to loathe out of Washington recently (especially from the President) and done to virtually Guarantee candidates challenging McCain for the establishment, the grass roots, or trying to bring the whole party together would try and sink the bill. It was just foolish to do it this way. It was foolish to then do it without committee feedback. That is why the bill was politically Miscalculated
Now onto man of the hour #2
Maverick John McCain
John has been running a Presidential Campaign, like he has his major legislative campaigns, with a soft semi-veiled arrogance that says “Don’t you know I’m going to win.” John should have known passing this bill with the whole internal issues of the heightened presidential election year would have made this bill next to impossible to pass. And yet he still tried to champion the bill because John made the mistake of believing the “Maverick” press. but the problem is when you rebel against the establishment long enough, you become an establishment figure John. And thats what happened. This Bill was tied to his personal fortunes in the Republican Primary and to George Bush. George Bush’s popularity was bad enough but John who was getting serious body blows in the campaign by Rudy, Mitt, and now Fred. McCain didn’t have the good will to allow this to slide so his slow slide down the polls took the bill with him.
Dusty Harry Reid
Lets face it. Harry Reid should read the tea leaves better. Days and days and days of votes on Amendments were going to create a weight of not just opposition to the bill, but serious heat to lay into his own people if the bill ever went forward. Bringing the bill up without the proper committee work being done (which would have prevented the absurd PR fiasco that was this bill, and how guys like me can quote the bill better then Senators) was something that killed it. Harry as Senate Majority leader set the calender, and he could have shepherded this through a committee process with less amendments and less voting and a higher likelyhood of success. I am really not so sure he wanted the bill to do well.
Teddy “Drunk in Public” Kennedy
Well… lets forget Harry Reid, McCain, and Bush for a moment. Teddy knows better or at least their was a time he did. Maybe the Ted Kennedy who really has become next to Robert “Sheets” Byrd the Dean of the Senate is just behind the new curve on how things work.
Strangely, the 4 people I blame for this bill failing are the 4 principle people who pushed it forward. But let me tell you what their was a winner in this whole thing
Webb, Dorgan, and a host of other guys who sell themselves as blue dog conservative democrats how many of them have earned some good will among Republicans right now. These guys had spot on Radar and they knew where to focus (on areas both the left and the right of their party hated) and they focused like a Laser. I think Jim Webb is a tool, but this debate has shown Jim Webb knows his job better then Harry Reid.
So this bill failed because the principle advocates of this bill forgot that politics is about selling a product on faith, on confidence and good will. They have become so invested in their own power that they forgot how they got it in the first place
as I (believe) Tommy Thompson said “We came here to change Washington, but instead it changed us.”