The Senate does right
As regards the Iraq war, so far Bush has been able to cow the Republican base, at least most of it, by invoking the talismanic mantra “support the troops.” In the matter of immigration, the mantra “amnesty” worked the other way.
The defeat of the bill means that the Bush administration will not have a single positive achievement to its credit. If George W. Bush is not the worst president ever, he is doing a very good imitation.
I trust that that this event also scuttles the candidacy of John McCain, the arch-warmonger. To be sure, this defeat is a little like getting Al Capone for income tax evasion, leaving his main transgression untouched, at least so far. But it assures, I think, that that particular militarist will never become president.
As regards immigration, the present situation amounts to a huge program of corporate welfare. Three successive administrations, those of Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2, have essentially looked the other way while the human tide washed over. That is what the Wall Street Journal wants. Business loves illegal immigrants because it can keep their wages at rock bottom, and cow them with the implied threat of deportation. There is no good reason for the prolongation of this flagrant illegality. Existing legislation would allow massive arrests of the cynical employers, but of course the lobbyists’ strangle hold in Washington blocks such salutary steps.
Since the earlier legislation has not been enforced, critics were rightly concerned that the new provisions would not be either. The human tide would not be reduced but increased. That is what the Chamber of Commerce faction wants. Typical of capitalism at its worst, the employers of illegal aliens care only for profits and not for the welfare of the nation.
In the wake of this defeat we may expect to hear more calls for muzzling talk radio. These calls come most vociferously from the liberal side, where the commitment to freedom of expression has long been, in my view, distinctly wobbly. Of course, as the comments of Trent Lott indicate, “controlling” talk radio has bipartisan appeal.
There are plenty of liberal voices, including the New York Times, NPR, Air America, and the major TV networks. But some liberals long for the good old days, when they were hegemonic. Some might even applaud the policy of Mussolini’s Radio Italiana: “Freedom of expression for those qualified to hold it.”
Of course I read the New York Times and listen to NPR. But I am glad that other voices can be heard too.