June 22, 2007

AN EMOTION, NOT A THOUGHT (via Kevin Whited):

Immigration: Emotion trumps logic (David Hill, June 20, 2007, The Hill)

On the other side, emotion is overflowing its banks and the levee is threatening to break at any moment. Just check out the blogs, turn on talk radio or glance at your local letters-to-the-editor column if you don’t believe it. The ferocity of this emotion threatens to undermine the rational solution that reformers seek. Even though hard-core opponents — by the most generous of estimates — comprise no more than one-third of the electorate, their hyper-emotional response to the issue frightens leaders who are on the fence. Rather than looking at polls and concluding that reform is possible, the fence-straddlers are scared away by the passion of opponents that call or write their offices daily.

I have read several analyses in recent days bemoaning that this Congress is not handling immigration like one of its predecessors handled the touchy issue of welfare reform. This analogy doesn’t work because in that situation the welfare reformers had emotion on their side. The grassroots crowd that now blocks any talk of immigration reform was in that era a “hair on fire” mob clamoring for quick, comprehensive action by Capitol Hill.

Of course, the reason Welfare Reform was so easy--and why Bill Clinton chose it as a signature issue in the first place--was because it was perceived as being particularly targeted at blacks.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 22, 2007 6:21 AM
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