Day By Day

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Goring Oxen

So let's get this straight -- when a centrist Democrat directly challenges the more obstreperous elements of his Party's "base" it's an act of courage, a "Sister Souljah moment", but when President Bush takes on the immigration restrictionists, it's an act of betrayal?

Sure seems that way to some. Rush, and Sean, and most particularly Laura Ingraham are going ballistic. Newt's knickers are in a twist. Movement conservatives are even screaming that Bush is questioning their "patriotism."


Lets make this clear -- restrictionists and exclusionists within the Republican Party have been conducting a smear campaign against the President and the Party leadership for many months now. They, more than any other factor, were responsible for the Republican defeat last Fall. Now they throw tantrums claiming to represent the "most loyal" supporters of the administration.

Bush is right -- this is, at least for many of the professional pols, just political posturing in an election season. Immigration restriction may play well with some groups and in some parts of the country, but Bush is President of all the country and must consider the general good. I applaud him for his courage and willingness to take the heat in the face of this outrageous display of partisan pique.

Read about the controversy here.

David Frum says the Party has "divorced" Bush here. This is, by my count, the third time that Frum has said something like this -- remember his denunciations of Bush over Dubai, over Harriet Mieirs [a particularly despicable position for him to take], even over the use of the term "compassion" in the campaign.

Listen to Laura Ingraham's rant here.

The "base" has never been comfortable with Bush and many conservative spokesmen have been outspoken in their criticism of anything that deviates from their relatively narrow set of prescriptions. Their position has always been that Bush is a shade less objectionable than the Democrats, and their support has always been grudging. It is absurd for them now to claim to be his "most loyal" supporters. There are lots and lots of us out here who have supported President Bush in large part because of his unwavering devotion to a compassionate, humane set of policies both at home and abroad. We, too, have some claim on the title "most loyal."

Once again President Bush is acting responsibly and humanely on an issue that affects all Americans, not just the Republican Right Wing. I applaud him for this. His courage in standing up to the extremists in his Party stands in sharp contrast to the craven posturing of the Democrat leadership and some of the Republican candidates.