- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The current war in Congress over illegal immigration is mostly about which philosophy will prevail in the Republican Party. Will it be the conservative wing that brought the GOP to power after years of wandering in the political wilderness as a minority party or the moderate-liberal wing that became comfortable in the wilderness?

It is no secret the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party (named after the late New York governor and vice president, Nelson Rockefeller) has joined forces with liberal Democrats and even conservative (in name only) Republicans to weaken the conservative wing of the GOP.

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg wrote an “analysis” about the titanic struggle between the party’s two wings on that newspaper’s front page on May 26. In it, Mr. Rutenberg ponders about “what strain of conservatism the Republican Party carries into the midterm elections and beyond. Will it be the compassionate brand Mr. Bush considers crucial to the party’s future, in this case by signaling support for a provision in the Senate bill that would give most illegal immigrants an opportunity to become legal? Or will it be the more doctrinaire variety embraced by much of Mr. Bush’s party in the House, one that shuns anything that smacks of amnesty for illegal immigrants and seeks to criminalize them further?”

In the Rutenberg moderate-liberal view, people whose politics are founded on strong beliefs, rather than feelings, are “doctrinaire.” To moderate liberals, positions born of convictions qualify an individual for one or more of the following monikers: racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra, intolerant, judgmental, unforgiving, fanatical, extreme or arch. A liberal holding the opposite positions receives no such labels and much praise in the mainstream media and political culture. Too bad Ken Lay’s jury was so “doctrinaire” about the law. Had jurors applied the shifting philosophical and legal winds of some Republicans, those enamored by amnesty for lawbreaking illegals, Lay might have been exonerated for his Enron misdeeds. Instead he faces life in prison.

Too many Republicans seem to care more about the future of their party than the future of the country. Congress should not behave like some ancient pope, handing out papal bulls for absolution of certain sins in exchange for contributions to the church. Moderate-liberal Republicans want to “absolve” illegals, hoping for electoral contributions to their party. It won’t work, because even if all illegals end up becoming legal and voting for Republicans (unlikely), the conservative disgust and abandonment of the GOP would outweigh any short-term gains by the party.

The bill the Senate passed last Thursday genuflects toward tougher enforcement of the border and penalties on those who knowingly hire illegals. But it is like the sinner who gets absolution without real repentance. It perpetrates political fraud on the public.

Rep. Charlie Norwood, Georgia Republican, sees through the sham. In a press release, Mr. Norwood calls the Senate bill an “amnesty bill” designed to give “preferential treatment” to illegals over American citizens. “This bill constitutes treachery against U.S. sovereignty,” said Mr. Norwood, “[and] allows every illegal alien in America to use the fraudulent document industry they have created in the criminal back alleys of our country to claim they have been here five years and can now stay forever. They have granted blanket amnesty for citizens of foreign nations against tax fraud, Social Security fraud, Medicare fraud, identity fraud, and bank fraud — all crimes for which there is no forgiveness or mercy for citizens of the United States.”

By the Rutenberg standard, Mr. Norwood would be placed in the “intolerant” wing of the GOP. The congressman says, “The physical results of this bill, while terrible, do not equal the moral devastation this sell-out would produce. There is one overpowering message in this bill — that the law no longer deserves respect in America.”

The outcome of “immigration reform” will determine where the party and country are headed. If Republicans lurch to the left, they’ll head for the cliff, because the left did not bring them to power. The right did. If they have forgotten that, they deserve the cliff and the right should give them a push.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide