Sometimes the only antidote for poison is more poison. The body politic just can’t take it any more and throws up everything. The result would suit the Democrats just fine.
The Democrats pushing immigration reform want the issue, not the reform, and they think a defeat they could hang on the Republicans could give them a shot at keeping the Senate and taking the House next November. Then they could enact a law to give everybody who wants one an American passport. This would guarantee unanimous election results, like those in the squalid places the illegals are fleeing.
There’s lots for everybody to gag on, which is how Sen. Harry Reid, the Las Vegas bag man in charge of running the charade in the Senate, is determined to preserve as many poison pills as he can. He has to preserve as much of the stink as he can to keep the Republican gag reflex working.
The main sticking point continues to be border security, which the Democrats have been promising for decades - and the border continues to be the sieve they want it to be. The border can be the party’s ATM machine, stuffed full of prospective new voters. Once here, the illegals can be put in the Democratic voter bank to be “withdrawn” once they’re legalized. Until then, the Hispanics already here and legal are expected to show their gratitude in the usual way. Passing out citizenship this way is the modern equivalent of the old custom of passing out turkeys on Christmas eve. There’s always an appetite for turkey.
If there was a semblance of good faith on the part of the Democrats, they would leap to establish security on the border; this has been the promise in all the amnesty schemes, and authentic border security is as ephemeral as ever. The bag man took pains to humiliate Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a key Republican voice on immigration matters, as the floor debate opened, by gleefully tabling his amendment to make the border secure before granting amnesty to the 11 million (or more) illegals already here.
“The so-called open and fair process” promised by the Democrat and the so-called Gang of Eight senators who wrote the bill — four Democrats and four Republican wishy-washies — “is a farce,” Mr. Grassley told the Senate on Thursday. “This is not the right way to start off on a very important bill.”
But that assumes there’s a real attempt to get authentic reform and organize an orderly welcome for legal immigrants. But that’s a foolish assumption. The four wishy-washies — Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — followed the Democrats to kill the border-security amendment.
The debate was occasionally interrupted Thursday with outbursts of candor and even of conscience. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chief negotiator behind the Gang of Eight, said the Senate might as well pass the bill without amendments because it will take “years and years and years” to make the border secure, so why try. “Years and years and years” means “never.”
Other amendments are coming, and Harry Reid will have to decide whether to keep the bill “pure” or offend one of the key constituencies of the party, which is eager to replace the melting pot. That pot produced the greatest country the world has ever seen, but the fashion now is the salad bowl, with competing loyalties, selfish interests and grasping ambitions. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont proposes to enable gay caballeros to claim same-sex “partners” as family, and give them green cards ahead of others who have been waiting in line for years.
“If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth,” Mark Rubio, perhaps suffering a fit of conscience, told a radio interviewer, “it kills the bill, and I’m done.” Mr. Rubio, who sometimes sounds like he wants to be a voice of sanity, told interviewer Andrea Tantaros that the immigration bill as written “has no chance” of passage. “If the border situation is not improved in this bill, this bill won’t pass. It won’t pass the Senate and it has no chance in the House. It won’t become law and we’re wasting our time.”
And that’s just the way President Obama and the Democrats want it. They can spend the year between now and next November drowning the Hispanics in foam and froth about the evil Republicans. It’s low, mean and cynical, but that’s how politics works, some of the time.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.