June 28, 2007


New Senators Resist Overhaul of Immigration (CARL HULSE, 6/28/07, NY Times)

In narrowly winning her seat last year, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri ran hard against what she saw as a flawed approach in Congress to dealing with illegal immigration. Ms. McCaskill, a Democratic newcomer, says she is not about to change her view now.

“I hope this never wears off, but I like to keep my word,” said Ms. McCaskill, part of a triad of moderate Democratic freshmen balking at the proposed immigration overhaul and complicating efforts by President Bush and Senate leaders to pass it this week.

Her compatriots in opposition are Senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. All three represent Republican-leaning states and are breaking with their leadership and most of their Democratic colleagues on the legislation, whose fate in the Senate could be determined on Thursday after a day of votes on amendments left the outcome up in the air on Wednesday.

Democrats can hardly act surprised that in order to win back Congress they recruited people who'd have voted against the Civil Rights bills.

Immigration Bill Prompts Some Menacing Responses (JEFF ZELENY, 6/28/07, NY Times)

The threat came in the weekend mail.

The recipient was Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, who has been a leading advocate of the proposed legislation for changing the immigration system. His offices in Washington and across Florida have received thousands of angry messages in recent weeks, but nothing as alarming as that letter he received at his home. [...]

While the majority of the telephone calls and faxes, letters and e-mail messages have been civil, aides to several senators said, the correspondence has taken a menacing tone in several cases.

Senator Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who is undecided on the final immigration bill, said his office received a telephone call recently that “made a threat about knowing where I lived.” Mr. Burr passed it along to the authorities. “There were enough specifics to raise some alarm bells,” he said.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is one of the architects of the immigration overhaul, said he also had received threats in telephone calls and letters to his office. Mr. Graham said several other senators had told him privately that they also received similar messages.

“There’s racism in this debate,” Mr. Graham said. “Nobody likes to talk about it, but a very small percentage of people involved in this debate really have racial and bigoted remarks. The tone that we create around these debates, whether it be rhetoric in a union hall or rhetoric on talk radio, it can take people who are on the fence and push them over emotionally.”

Breaking down the Senate vote (Mark Murray, 6/28/07, NBC)
The Presidential candidates: All of the Democratic candidates voted YES. McCain, who was part of the bipartisan coalition that crafted and supported the bill, also voted YES. Brownback's initial vote was YES, but later, probably when the outcome was clear, switched to NO.

Senators up for reelection in 2008: On the Democratic side, all the blue state senators voted YES (Biden, Durbin, Kerry, Lautenberg, Levin, Reed). But those Democrats running in red or purples states voted NO (Baucus, Harkin, Landrieu, Pryor, Rockefeller).

Most of the Republican senators up for re-election this cycle voted NO (Alexander, Allard, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Dole, Domenici, Enzi, Inhofe, McConnell, Roberts, Sessions, Smith, Stevens, Sununu, Warner). The exceptions, with YES votes, were Craig, Hagel, and Graham (who is one of the original and most vocal coalition members that wrote the bill).

Senate Leadership: The Republican leadership was split. GOP Leader McConnell, who's also up for re-election, voted NO. (He had voted YES on another procedural vote earlier this week.) McConnell was joined by Texas Sens. Hutchison and Cornyn, as well as Ensign, who's responsible for running the GOP senate campaigns this cycle. Lott and Kyl split with the leadership and voted YES.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2007 12:15 PM

And reading directly from the bill wouldn't push anyone over emotionally -----

Posted by: Sandy P at June 28, 2007 12:48 PM

Headlin: "Sore Looser Retreats To Ad Hominem" Don't worry, bad legislation that is aimed at building a voter base will never entirely die. Now , those who wish to give the franchise to unlawful residents will just have to enact these loathsome measures one by one.

Posted by: Jim Burke at June 28, 2007 12:50 PM

I don't think the Dems ever thought this thing would pass, or even intended it to. I think they wanted it to accomplish exactly what it has done--to make a large fraction of the Republican base go into hysterics, and demonstrate to Latinos that far too many conservatives sure do act like racists when the chips are down, and thereby alienate them from the GOP. Meanwhile, the Democratic base (the cultural left & labor unions) has absolutely zero reason to be upset. Way to go, Stupid Party base.

Posted by: b at June 28, 2007 12:56 PM

This isn't about abortion, is it?

Hoping they've vote pubbie because they're "religious" to return it back to the states????

Posted by: Sandy P at June 28, 2007 1:11 PM

Was this partially about abortion and hoping their religiousness will put it back to the states to overturn it?????

Posted by: Sandy P at June 28, 2007 1:22 PM

The Stupid Party was doomed either way.

This specific bill was the problem - don't worry, you'll get what you want.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 28, 2007 1:26 PM

I seem to remember lots of threats against Arlen Specter when he exposed Anita Hill as a liar.

And Big Labor certainly threatened Democrats in 1993 over NAFTA.

Reagan was called a lot of things when the Saudis were allowed to buy F-16s.

Clinton was called a traitor and a racist when he signed welfare reform.

And all those frustrated 'advocates' are racist, too?

It's America.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 28, 2007 1:35 PM

You can't be naive enough to think that the protectionists, Welfare Mau-mau and the Israel Lobby weren't driven by racism in those cases.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2007 2:28 PM

Sticks and stones. I swear some of the posts and comments on immigration here have taken the tone of those I've seen at the Daily Kos. Disagree with me? How dare you, you cracker/nativist/racist!

Can't wait for a post on the environment. No doubt somebody will be called a ELF sympathizer because, you know, they're also concerned about the environment.

Or we can't tell Eric Rudolph and you apart because you're both against abortion.


Posted by: Rick T. at June 28, 2007 3:16 PM

It's hardly a coincidence that the Darwinian Right is pro-abortion and anti-immigrant.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2007 3:21 PM

Environmentalists are, of course, likewise anti-immigration.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2007 3:23 PM

My mixed feelings notwithtanding, any vote that finds Bernie Sanders siding with Jeff Sessions is good theater.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 28, 2007 4:10 PM

And Robert KKK Byrd.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2007 7:08 PM

80% of the Hispanic vote has now been delivered to the Dems. Which might just put Hillary in the White House, and not as First Lady. The NRO haters will then get the immigration bill they deserve. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

Posted by: Casey Abell at June 28, 2007 10:56 PM

I don't think the NRO types will care that much. Their interest in politics appears to be mostly academic. They may actually prefer an outcome in which they represent an "elite" conservative minority always ready with an "I told you so" as liberal policies they make a show of opposing fail.

Posted by: djs at June 29, 2007 12:14 AM

djs -- Good thing there aren't enough of them to fit into a phone booth. Elitist snobs are no better than their counterparts on the left.

Posted by: erp at June 29, 2007 6:44 AM

They're not likely to vote in those numbers for a liberal woman and if she were to add Barack Obama (or any black) to the ticket she might not get 50%, especially against McCain & Jeb.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2007 6:44 AM

Occam's Razor. The bill failed because it was a) a huge monstrous bill that was poorly written and b) the Senate leadership tried to ram it down the senate's throat with little debate or amendments being added. Even pro-immigration Senators/other were against the bill. And don't forget the House leadership, Dems included, were calling the Senate bill DOA. A smaller bill, properly worded and debated, probably would have gotten through the Senate.

Yes NRO goes overboard on the immigration issue. But polls showed 70-80% against the bill - surely you're not arguing that 70-80% of the American public is racist?

Posted by: AWW at June 29, 2007 6:59 AM

Since McCain has as much chance for the GOP nomination as I do, Orrin's scenario is meaningless. I still think Rudy will beat Hillary, but the Hispanic vote might make it very, very close.

The saving grace for the Repubs is that Hispanics might forget a little by next Novemeber. But no GOP candidate will get 40% of the Hispanic vote, as Bush did in 2004.

A little of this politcial reality has even filtered through to the NRO crazies. Lopez, normally as intelligent as a boulder, actually quoted Gallup on the bad news for Repubs among Hispanics.

Posted by: Casey Abell at June 29, 2007 7:01 AM

100% are racist. That's not a big deal. Racism only matters when it bleeds over from your private life into your public policy prescriptions.

65% support the policy of granting amnesty and toughening border provisions, so that's what we'll get. In order to delay the day the nativists had to strip out the latter.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2007 7:18 AM

Because opposition to immigration is and always has been racial and religious. This generation of nativists opposes Mexicans for the same reason prior ones opposed Catholics, Jews, Chinese, etc. and we'll be just as ashamed of them in a few years.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2007 10:09 AM

Rudy can't get the nomination after losing IA, NH and SC.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2007 10:16 AM

oj, 100% minus 2 or about 99.9999999933333%*. Neither of us here are racist, privately or publicly.

*Using the approx. pop. of the U.S. as 300,000,000

Posted by: erp at June 29, 2007 1:23 PM

If you're human you're racist.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2007 4:19 PM

"65% support granting amnesty and toughening border provisions" Exactly but people want the border provisions before the amnesty. And since the bill put amnestry in without any border provisions it failed.

And your argument, like Graham, Bush, etc, that people who opposed this crappy bill are all racists is getting pretty old

Posted by: AWW at June 29, 2007 9:17 PM

Yes, the opponents had to strip out enforcement themselves to kill it. The racism is older.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2007 11:59 PM