DREAM ACT; Disagreeing with Ed

DREAM ACT; Disagreeing with Ed December 18, 2010

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey is looking at the failure of the DREAM act cloture vote and noting that six Democrats and two Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against their parties. Ed writes:

It’s yet another miscalculation by Reid in a rapidly-closing window of opportunity. If he didn’t have six of his own caucus in hand, why press the matter at all? Reid raised expectations and then dashed them, a bad strategy in politics.

I have enormous respect for Ed, who I regard as my Blogfather, but this is one time I am in rare disagreement*. I believe Reid pressed the matter and raised expectations in order to get precisely the headlines we’re reading: Republicans Block Immigration Vote.

That was no miscalculation. That was a strategic move in order to secure the not-yet-completely secure Hispanic vote for the Democrats in 2012. Remember, in election years, suddenly there are parades and marches and A.N.S.W.E.R and La Raza supplied Mexican fans all over the place; it is a deliberate piece of theater meant to send the right into a frenzy.

In non-election years, these demonstrations do not occur. But when they do, the right goes gets predictably worked up, like Pavlovian dogs responding to a bell; the “ship ’em all back” rhetoric begins, the charges of “racism” are flung back at them and so it goes, just in time for the elections. The right play into the hands of the leftist provocateurs, every time.

No, in 2012, they can hiss about the cloture vote and the archived headlines will bear out their narrative: Republicans block immigration reform.

Reid didn’t need the cloture vote and probably didn’t want the vote. He needed and sought that headline. People won’t look at 6 Democrats not voting for it; they won’t remember it.

They’ll simply remember the headline.

Now, whether or not Reid is right in assuming that the headline is as damaging as he believes it will be, that’s another story. But in terms of this move, this year? I think Reid was playing chess. Lose a pawn now, to keep a King, later.

I’m betting Bookworm is thinking along the same lines.

Here’s the AP headline on the DREAM Act’s failure: “Republicans block youth immigration bill.”

Let me just mention here that quite a few Democrats voted against the bill too:

On the Democrat side, Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Max Baucus of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pyror of Arkansas, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted against the bill [also Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV)].

Apparently those Democrat “nay” votes made no difference in the AP calculus.

Well, no, of course not. Nor in Reid’s calculations, either.

But…in this last weekend of Advent, “be not afraid.” Let’s take a lesson from this terrific homily and remember that we’re not as in control of all things as we believe we are.

*Fully cognizant of the fact that my grandparents “legal immigration” to the United States involved crossing the ocean and then a couple of hours of processing through Ellis Island (and had immigration structures not been in place, they’d have come anyway) I support a comprehensive immigration reform bill and a complete overhaul of the Immigration & Nationalization system which would include creating a kind of “Ellis Station, West,” and another “Ellis Station, North” in our border states. Our immigration system is currently broken and disordered; people should not be permitted to simply stroll into America, but they shouldn’t have to jump through ten-year hoops of bureaucracy, either, and those who have lived peaceful, productive lives here, worked hard and raised children while America spent 30+ years not seeming not to care about their status should be offered a way to make things right. New situations demand new, thoughtful policies with reasonable implementation. “Send them all back,” is a sentiment, not a solution, and an unrealistic policy that will never be implemented. While the right insists upon it and the left remains content to do nothing at all, justice eludes all of us. America should be able to come up with something better than those two extremes.

I know this makes me exceedingly unpopular to many conservatives and a “RINO” to some (I am not actually a Republican, btw), but here I stand; I can do no other.

I never have been good at obeying party lines…

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