Jay Reding.com

A GOP Death Wish?

Glenn Reynolds looks at the Administration’s immigration rhetoric and wonders if there isn’t some bizarre Republican death wish in play. I’m wondering if he’s right — Bush’s only base of support is with the GOP rank-and-file, and they hate his position on immigration. When you’ve got nothing in terms of political capital, it makes no sense to start burning bridges with your strongest supporters. Even Laura Ingraham is on Bush’s case.

Even if one accepts that the immigration deal is good policy, the way the Bush Administration has been defending it has been so ham-handed that even those who might support the bill are reeling. Bush’s political instincts haven’t been right since the 2004 elections, and while Bush’s political future is of absolutely no consequence, he’s dragging down key issues with him. He can’t defend his immigration bill, he can’t defend the war, and he can’t defend his own record. There are some very smart political operators in the White House, but when the ship has already hit bottom, it’s a hell of a lot harder to steer a new course.

4 responses to “A GOP Death Wish?”

  1. Seth says:

    Damn it’s fun watching you guys whine when you have to do just a little bit of compromising every once in a while.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    Damn it’s fun watching you guys whine when you have to do just a little bit of compromising every once in a while.

    Of course, it would be much easier being as unencumbered by principle as our opposition…

  3. Mark says:

    I think conventional wisdom is dead wrong on this. Bush is actually doing the Republican Party a favor by giving them an issue to get some distance between him and them. Both the GOP Congressional candidates and Presidential candidates of 2008 (except for McCain who’s married to the Bush immigration policy) are able to position themselves to the right of the unpopular Bush AND the Democratic Congress, ultimately endearing themselves to both social conservatives and working-class Reagan Democrats in the 2008 election.

    Smart political operatives recognize the GOP-beneficial calculus here. Whatever lip service the voting public may pay to supporting “comprehensive immigration reform” in opinion polls, it’s always framed within the context of the either-or question “do you prefer a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants or deporting them?” My belief is that the majority of Americans are where Charles Krauthammer is on the issue….supporting quasi-amnesty for current illegal immigrants but only if accompanied by ironclad border security that includes a massive fence. These voters will become instantly critical of any “comprehensive” reform plan in which illegal immigrants can continue prancing across open borders, ultimately leading to another round of amnesty 10 years down the road.

    If this premise plays out, with “comprehensive immigration reform” being enacted this year that fails to stem the influx of illegals next year at this time, the immigration issue will become a PR windfall for whichever candidates opposed the reform and a liability for those who supported it. Since George Bush won’t be on the ballot, I see only positive dividend for most Republican candidates.

  4. Seth says:

    Of course, it would be much easier being as unencumbered by principle as our opposition…

    And I wish I could repeat a few words that have been said since the 1980 Presidential election and call that ‘principle.’
    Then I wish my party would govern in the exact opposite of my ‘principles,’ and then run itself out of power because of a clear and absolute lack of any respect for ethical standards of conduct…and yet still have the people in my party talking about how ‘principled’ it is.
    It really would be much more simple.