- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2007

Lieberman’s choice

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, is praising Republican presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for not blindly following their political base on issues such as immigration and abortion.

Mr. Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, said yesterday on ABC’s “This Week” that he is not ready to endorse a Republican for the 2008 race. But he made clear his disappointment with the Democratic candidates because of their positions against the war in Iraq.

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“I’m not going to make my selection of who to support for president in ‘08 based on party,” said Mr. Lieberman, who, despite his status as an independent, caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.

“I’m going to choose to support whichever of the candidates I think will be the best president of the United States to protect our security against the threat of Islamist terrorism and to rebuild America’s economy, health care system, environment and education system,” he said.

Immigration advice

“In Washington, it is easier to pass a bad bill than a good bill. That’s practically a law. But as Washington learned last week, there is such a thing as a bill so bad that even Congress can’t pass it. So the Kennedy-Kyl Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill tanked, as it most assuredly deserved to do,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes.

“Advice to Washington politicians who want to pass a bill that grants citizenship to some illegal immigrants: Don’t call it ‘reform.’ Reform is supposed to curb abuse, not codify it,” the writer said.

“Don’t call your bill ‘comprehensive’ — when in fact it is clearly designed to do everything but craft solid policy, and loaded with amendments to sell voters on the window dressing of beefed-up enforcement likely to be administered by officials with only a passing interest in deterring cheap labor from coming across the border.

“If you are going to tell people you want to grant citizenship to otherwise-law-abiding illegal immigrants, you need to be consistent. An amendment by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to make illegal immigrants who ignored deportation orders or used fraudulent documents ineligible for legal status failed last month by a 51-46 vote.

“More advice: Wait until you’ve ramped up border enforcement and then take a stab at broadening citizenship.”

Call the lawyers

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said yesterday he is ready to go to court if the White House resists subpoenas for information on the firing of federal prosecutors.

“If they don’t cooperate, yes, I’ll go that far,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat. He was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he would seek a congressional vote on contempt citations if President Bush did not comply. That move would push the matter to court.

“They’ve chosen confrontation rather than compromise or cooperation,” Mr. Leahy said. “The bottom line is, in the U.S. attorney investigation, we have people manipulating law enforcement. Law enforcement can’t be partisan.”

At issue is whether the White House exerted undue political influence in the firing of prosecutors. Mr. Leahy’s hardening stance is pushing the Democratic-led investigation ever closer to a constitutional showdown over executive power and Congress‘ right to oversight, the Associated Press reports.

The dispute, if it does head to court, could take months and ultimately outlast the remaining term of Mr. Bush’s presidency, which ends in January 2009. Last week, White House Counsel Fred Fielding said Mr. Bush was claiming executive privilege in refusing to turn over documents. Mr. Bush also was invoking the privilege to prevent Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and Sara Taylor, the former political director, from testifying publicly under oath.

‘Tiny minority’ wins

“For months, the establishment dismissed those of us opposed to amnesty as a tiny minority of the public and the Congress,” the editors of National Review wrote at www. nationalreview.com.

“On Thursday, that ‘tiny minority’ outnumbered the pro-amnesty forces in the Senate, dealing a humiliating and well-deserved defeat to President Bush. The same White House that insisted that there was no realistic alternative to ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ had better recalibrate its realism now. There always were better alternatives, and the president and his party have no way out of the immigration morass he has created unless they pursue them,” the magazine said.

“Nor does the country. The public is rightly dismayed at our incapacity to exercise a key attribute of sovereignty: control of the borders. For decades, our elected officials have passed immigration laws that they lack the political will to enforce. Among the fallacies of ‘comprehensive reform’ was the notion that this situation could be fixed instantaneously. It cannot. But by rejecting a solution that would make the problem worse, we may have taken the first of many steps toward a better immigration system.

“The next step ought to be President Bush‘s. As divisive as this debate has been, it did reveal a consensus on the need to enforce current laws. The president should accept that consensus and act on it. If necessary, he should request additional authority and resources for the purpose.”

Conservative revolt

“The what-ifs in the sudden death of immigration reform are intriguing,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“What if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hadn’t pulled the immigration bill from the floor when it was close to passage in early June? What if Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona had come up earlier with their enforcement-toughening amendment that would have prompted, for the first time, a sweeping crackdown on those 3 to 4 million foreigners who have overstayed their visas? What if Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had twisted arms to get more Republican votes for the bill?” Mr. Barnes asked.

“Fascinating what-ifs all, but mostly irrelevant. Immigration reform was defeated by a conservative revolt that spread to the wider public. Senate opponents, gloating over their success in killing the bill, were essentially correct in insisting the American people had rejected immigration reform. By the time the key vote came last week, the bill’s core supporters — President Bush, Kyl, Graham, Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and the business community — had already lost the argument over immigration.

“The issue touched off a national debate that gripped middle-class America, much as President Clinton‘s health care initiative did in 1993 and 1994. In both cases, the more people heard — not all of it true — the less they liked the legislation. Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg found that a majority of Republicans and independents opposed the immigration bill. Democrats were split evenly.

“Worse for Democrats, the poll suggested the re-election of some Democratic members of Congress might be jeopardized if they backed immigration reform.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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