Strike up one huge success for American citizens and their ability to rise up en masse against acts of amazing government stupidity. This has been a grassroots accomplishment to remember long into the future.
This entire bloated package that was Senate Bill 1639, and all the Kennedyesque bloviations surrounding it since it’s back-room birth, have finally come to an end with the bill’s death by a generous 14 votes at 46-53. (Cloture needed 60 votes to succeed.)
Throughout the past week, I have wondered long and hard what incentives, what promises were offered in the Senate’s cloakroom that would persuade so many senators to abdicate their constituencies and support this bill about which they knew nothing? Why would they deny the exceptionally vocal will of American citizens against this immigration albatross that had no chance of ever becoming law? We will never know. But some senators clearly resented having their promised amendments killed and helped us end this miserable fiasco.
So much rhetoric has gotten under my skin on this matter. I was disgusted by so many repeated condescending claims by senators like Teddy Kennedy, John McCain, Diane Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter and Jon Kyl that American citizens don’t understand this bill, don’t understand what it will do, don’t understand how vital this bill is to our national security.
Actually we did. We clearly understood how much more a threat to our national security this bill delivered, how much a $2.6 Trillion rake from our pocketbooks would hurt as we would be forced to pay for and support such an overwhelming amnesty, how immoral it was through this bill to exonerate employers for hiring illegal aliens, forgive their flagrant tax frauds over the last two decades, and remove prosecution and fines from their futures, and how this bill would destroy all immigration enforcement and ensnarl our courts for decades.
Those are merely some of the reasons why American citizens threw such a frenetic fit. Another was the sense of betrayal shared by our citizenry, their unprecedented cynicism and complete loss of confidence in Congress. Adding gas to the fire was the manner in which this bill was being rammed through and manipulated on the Senate floor.
This bill reeked of politics as usual in Washington, another spawn of the bureaucratic morass we put in power to act on our behalf, but never does. Pounds upon pounds of pages promising an empty moon and guaranteeing a free ride to 12-20 million criminals that Democrats had hoped to snare in their voter ranks.
The bill was so large and comprehensive, but relied upon our government’s ability to administer fifty times more than it is already incapable of doing. It was based upon an issue of such huge importance to our nation, but was created amidst unprecedented secrecy. The bill was deliberately prevented from being reviewed in committee and Senators were never given an opportunity to read it or its amendments to learn all that they held. It was shoved through the voting process with such determined expedience in absolute defiance of anything any of us learned in civics. It angered nearly 80% of the American citizenry on all conceivable sides of the issue. In the last hour before the bill died, the Capital Hill switchboard literally crashed from sheer volume of calls coming in. “Not since the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, several Senate aides said, have the lines been so jammed by a single issue.”
This bill was a Grand Embarrassment.
Sen. Jeff Sessions summed my personal disgust with some of his colleagues perfectly yesterday at the close of the day.
“Let’s acknowledge that independent experts say this bill will not work, not just some radio talk show host. Independent EXPERTS say this won’t work. And I would just observe that radio talk show hosts know more about the bill than most Senators, if you want to know the truth.”
When the burial dust settles on this “Grand Compromise” version of immigration reform, it will become one of the final coffin nails for President Bush, who has staked the latter days of his administration on pure folly that could not possibly have worked. In the process, he burned what residual support he had left among fellow Republicans. This Grand Flop will also signal the end of the presidential candidacies of Sam Brownback and John McCain, that latter being noticeably absent in all of these proceedings.
I imagine Sen. Harry Reid was in a rather foul mood when he returned home last night having been stymied on a procedural shutdown in bitter irony. Perhaps he was dosed some poetic justice for writing a brand new page in the history of our US Senate by invoking the “clay pigeon” procedure to begin with, an archaic and never used tactic that allowed Reid to personally handpick the 27 amendments to this bill and deny any other amendments be offered. It is a power limited only to his position as Senate Majority Leader and one that no such person before him has ever attempted, because no one before Reid wanted to stifle our democratic process upon which our country has stood proud.
Our nation desperately needs to do something to curb the flagrant illegal immigration that has been drowning us all over the last two decades and yes, offer a path to citizenship, but not amnesty that slaps the face of the millions of people who have come here legally and followed the rules. If we’ve learned anything at all since Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, it is that amnesty is not the solution. That legislation only opened the door and invited millions more who hoped to holdout for the same good fortune.
Reid’s clay-pigeon strategy was to kill every single amendment that would have removed amnesty and put any teeth whatsoever into this albatross, such as the Hutchison touch-back amendment and one offered by Webb to offer citizenship only to those illegals who have been here for four years or more. So question no longer how much so many senators were willing to risk of our sovereignty and safety to gain a wealth of Hispanic voters into their coffers.
So now what? I am very much a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and am in good company. Our nation’s leaders cannot abdicate their responsibility simply because this bill has failed. They still have their work to do. Ed Morrissey has some good suggestions at his Captain’s Quarter’s blog and I cannot underscore how much I agree with this bit of advice he offers Congress:
“The problems of immigration did not disappear with the failure of the cloture vote a few moments ago. Congress needs to act to resolve them — but they need to do so in a manner that respects the processes of representative democracy, and in a manner that builds the confidence of Americans rather than fuel their cynicism.”
Washington has been begging for this backlash for years. I am proud to have taken part in the day when America finally had its fill of chronic empty promises made during campaigns and, more dastardly, the refusal of those whom we elected as our President to respect and enforce the laws of our land.
The moral of this story is one of power-mongering, worthless talk, greed and absolute arrogance in our government placed soundly in check by a usually silent Middle America. They rose in screaming defiance to remind all that our government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” And by “people,” we mean legal citizens — all others should have no rights whatsoever.
The uprising was never about immigration. It was about the American Dream that American citizens still believe in and try to achieve, and which amnesty for 12-20 million illegal immigration cheaters would have completely destroyed. It was about two decades of Washington betrayal and citizens rallying to end an attempt to bring this nation to its demise by many of its very own leaders.
It was always about the unfunded border. Now go get off of your governmental arses, get your priorities in order, fund the program and build the fence like you promised. THEN and only then will we all be happy to discuss creating a pathway to citizenship, and one without amnesty.
PS: Brace yourselves for the next fight: The Democrats are going to fight tooth and nail to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, since no liberal talk radio program can seem to stay in business and especially after witnessing conservative talk radio’s indefatigable contributions to this bill’s defeat.