It seems that President Bush's comments yesterday struck some nerves.
I have long thought that calling his proposal on illegal immigration "amnesty" had about as much truth as Bill Clinton's claims in 1995 that Republicans wanted Medicare spending cuts.
Let's take a closer look at this. Big Lizards has a good, dispassionate take on the bill. The definition of an amnesty is a "general pardon", as dictionary.com states. As Dafydd demonstrates, there is no pardon here. To be more accurate, what we have here strikes me as something that Arthur Branch would have Jack McCoy do: A plea-bargain. Or immunity in exchange for testimony - like what was given to Monica Goodling.
So what is the beef with some of these people complaining about the bill? My suspicion is that it's because the bill is providing for punishment short of deportation. For some of these people, anything short of rounding up anyone who looks like they might be an illegal immigrant and shipping them over the Mexican border in cattle cars is amnesty.
Harsh? Well, maybe some of these anti-immigration types deserve this. Certainly, as I have outlined elsewhere on this blog, they have fired off some really nasty comments towards those who favor comprehensive immigration reform. And while Mary Katherine Ham is correct in pointing out that not all of the opponents of the comprehensive approach are bigots, she does seem to have missed that my side of this debate has taken its attacks, too. And being labeled a "Quisling" or a "traitor" tends to not only shorten my fuse, but it makes me more determined to stand my ground and fight. In my case, it led me to be somewhat unfair to Ms. Ham.
Furthermore, there are some bigots out there. I'll even name names: Jared Taylor, Lawrence Auster, and Steve Sailer. For the record, the latter two links ought to dispel any notions that the concern about these folks is just a matter of being PC. The first is from the personal blog of one of the founders of RedState.com. The second quotes extensively from another founder of that forum (the original link is down).
It comes down to two competing principles: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mena re created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" on the one side, and "The plain fact is that [African-Americans] tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society" on the other. That is an either/or proposition if I ever saw one. One or the other must stand - the other must go to the ash heap of history. Note - the person who made the second quote is on one major conservative pundit's blogroll.
In essence, President Bush now has no choice but to fight. He cannot back down. This is a fight he must carry through to either victory - or to the bitter end. He's been standing firmly against the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and against the anti-war movement. I don't think he is the type who will just roll over and play dead on this issue - not after the attacks he has been taking. To do so would be to acquiesce to bullying and false claims of amnesty. He cannot afford to show weakness at this point in time.
I for one, have no desire to back down. I want to see the comprehensive plan the Senate is now debating pass. I wish to see my side of this debate win - and to achieve vindication, particularly after what I feel to have been the misleading label of "amnesty" and the fact that some opponents have labeled me a traitor. If those sorts of political attacks fail, it can only be a good thing for the country.
We may actually be able to solve problems, not merely engage in political posturing.