Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The worst aspect of the immigration bill

Stanley Kurtz identifies the absolute worst part of the immigration bill -- the Congress and President still seek to pass it despite more than 2-1 opposition from the American people who have an opinion. And it's not a partisan issue: likely voters, whether they're Republicans, Democrats or nonaffiliated all disapproved by more than a 2-1 margin. In other words, our elected representatives do not care about our opinions.

Thus, Kurtz's observation about the democratic process and the manner in which the Senate has cobbled this legislation together is on point:

Something about this immigration battle doesn’t sit well. For all the bitterness of our political battles, there’s at least the sense that the government responds to the drift of public opinion. The Republicans in Congress turned into big spenders and the war in Iraq went poorly. As a result the Democrats prospered in 2006, if narrowly. That’s how democracy works. Our politics are often angry and ugly (and that’s a problem), but this is because the public is deeply divided on issues of great importance. Deep down, we understand that our political problems reflect our own divisions.

Somehow this immigration battle feels different. The bill is wildly unpopular, yet it’s close to passing. The contrast with the high-school textbook version of democracy is not only glaring and maddening, it’s downright embarrassing. Usually, even when we’re at each others’ throats, there’s still an underlying pride in the democratic process. This immigration battle strips us of even that pride.

The Senate is ignoring the voters and the valid opinion of the majority of US citizens. It is now acting like the European Parliament. Next step - acting like the Soviet Politburo.

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