Time For Dems To Turn The Tables On GOP Over Immigration
You’ll recall that twice in the last six months, Bill Frist and Denny Hastert have schemed to turn the maverick actions of Democratic members into “go on the record” votes to embarrass the whole Democratic caucus in the Senate and House. This was done when John Murtha called for a redeployment of our forces in Iraq, and again when Russ Feingold called for a censure vote on Bush’s NSA spying program.
Democrats now have a chance to turn the tables on the GOP, and do serious damage to Republicans for the midterm elections. Bill Frist and James Sensenbrenner say that the top priority for any immigration reform is to deal with the millions of illegals here now, before we do anything about a new guest worker program or talk about earned citizenship. House GOP conservatives go even further, saying that before anything is done on immigration, America should immediately deport the 11-12 million illegal immigrants, even though the Department of Homeland Security says this would be nearly impossible.
Fine. Two can play that game. In the spirit of what Frist and Hastert have done to Reid and Pelosi previously, Democrats should force a straight up-or-down vote by Republicans on a simple deportation measure. Make the GOP vote on this issue for its base, in full view of the Catholic Church and Hispanic voters in time for the midterm elections. Let’s see if the GOP has the courage of its alleged convictions.
We already know that both Frist and George Allen do not. Frist wants to talk tough and hide behind an eventual compromise, while Allen says he is against a guest worker program and only wants a tough bill, but then says he isn't proposing deportations either.
Democrats need to force the GOP to confront the consequences of their rhetoric and pay a political price for it. It will drive a permanent wedge into the GOP caucus, and will make Bush come down against his own base in time for the fall election, which could deprive the White House of the base motivator they were looking for from this issue. Making the GOP vote on a security-only bill also flies in the face of public sentiment, as evidenced by the AP/Ipsos poll that came out yesterday, which supports a guest worker program.