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.