Wednesday, June 27, 2007



dual useage: McCain on the hustings and the "Grand Compromise"

Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's reactionary and xenophobic immigration amendment was defeated today, 53-45. Had it passed, it would have required immigrants to return to their home countries before they could obtain even temporary legal status, and was widely viewed as unworkable.
The vote came as the Senate began to consider a score of amendments to a bill that would bring about the biggest overhaul in immigration policy in more than 20 years. The amendment that was defeated was sponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, and would have required adult illegal immigrants to leave the United States within two years if they wanted to apply for legal status in the form of “Z visas.”

There were five Democrats who voted with the anti-Hispanic Republicans on this:
Max Baucus (MT)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Claire McCaskill (MO)
Jay Rockefeller (WV)
Jon Tester (MT)

With McCain out making like a truffle-sniffing pig on the campaign trail-- apparently there is no legislation that means anything to this grasping power-monger-- 8 Republicans joined the 43 Democrats to keep this hateful amendment out of the legislation:
Larry Craig (ID), who's probably retiring anyway-- having been caught in a public toilet having sex with another man.
Lindsey Graham (SC)... a trend seems to be developing here
Chuck Hagel (NE), probably retiring
Jon Kyl (AZ), just re-elected for 6 years
Richard Lugar (IN), needs to mend some Bush fences for some reason
Mel Martinez (FL), um...
Arlen Specter (PA), could always switch parties if someone doesn't like what he does
John Warner (VA), retiring

I'm enjoying a fantastic read these days, Kenneth Ackerman's brilliantly written YOUNG J. EDGAR: HOOVER, THE RED SCARE, AND THE ASSAULT ON CIVIL LIBERTIES. The title gives a lot away, but not the immigration piece. And that was a big piece. The Know Nothing traditions in our country have been long and powerfully rooted-- and always wrong. When Hoover's despicable career was getting started the victims of these reactionary bigots weren't from Mexico or Central America; they were Italians, Eastern Europeans, Russians and, more than anyone else, Jews. The contemporary descriptions that Ackerman has dug up could easily be used by Tom Tancredo, Jeff Sessions and Jim DeMint to push their current racist agenda, just substituting the vile references to Jews with the vile pictures they're painting of Latin Americans. It makes me want to puke to see Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester, two newly elected Democrats in the Senate, buying into this racist claptrap. I expect this from Max Baucus, but not from these two. The irony of Kit Bond (R-MO) standing up for decency and fairness while McCaskill (D-MO) plays to the sentiments of the KKK is truly disgusting.

Oh, and do take a look at this video. I mean, I wouldn't vote for Lindsey Graham either, but for a completely different set of reasons:

More of the same for poor Lindsey, who really just wants to be a Cabinet Secretary for McCain anyway. The other Deep South Senator most associated with Bush's pro-corporate immigration bill so reviled by the Know Nothings is Saxby Chamberpot of Georgia. But a new Republican poll (Strategic Vision) shows he may be weathering it. Although his voter approval rating is only 50%, he's backed away from supporting Bush on this and is trying to butter up the far right extremists who booed him at the Georgia Republican Party convention last month. 59% of Georgians say they oppose the immigration bill (and 51% disapprove of Bush in general).


Bush's immigration package looks cooked to me. It did manage to overcome a bunch of hurdles today and stay alive, but with Republican rubber stampers like Burr (NC), Stevens (AK), Gregg (NH) and Bond (MO) succumbing to intense pressure from the extreme Know Nothing edge of the GOP, it isn't likely to last out tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning the bill "faces a make-or-break vote... when senators will decide whether to cut off debate and move to a final vote." It needs 60 votes and it may be close but it's not going to happen unless Bush really digs deep and see if he has any of that vaunted political capital left that he was bragging about when he tried to kill Social Security. "Top legislative aides in both parties predicted today's vote would be very close but would fall short of keeping the proposal alive. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a key opponent, crowed last night that 'they tried to railroad this through today, but we derailed the train.' Another opponent, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said, 'I would say to my colleagues: Let's end this thing.'"

And it looks like some key Democrats-- particularly freshmen McCaskill, Webb and Tester-- seem to agree with him. Tomorrow's NY Times explains why.
"I like to keep my word,” said Ms. McCaskill, part of a triad of moderate Democratic freshmen balking at the proposed immigration overhaul and complicating efforts by President Bush and Senate leaders to pass it this week.

Her compatriots in opposition are Senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. All three represent Republican-leaning states and are breaking with their leadership and most of their Democratic colleagues on the legislation, whose fate in the Senate could be determined on Thursday after a day of votes on amendments left the outcome up in the air on Wednesday.

The Republican Party has been deeply split by its differences over immigration. But Democrats have their own fault lines, and the opposition from Ms. McCaskill, Mr. Tester, Mr. Webb and eight or so other Democrats could be critical in determining the outcome.
Unlike some veteran liberal Democrats who say the measure would be too harsh on illegal immigrants or would cost some American workers their jobs, the three freshmen are lined up against it for much the same reason as its Republican opponents: that it would not do enough to stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border.



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