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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Immigration Bill Goes Down: the Larger Significance

So much has been happening in politics and current events recently, that I haven't been able to keep up. Today's defeat of the behemoth 'comprehensive' immigration bill does deserve comment.

Immigration is a serious situation that faces our nation, which we'll have to address, starting with border security, given the danger of terrorist infiltration. Then we can go on to the issues of dealing with those illegal immigrants already here compassionately while maintaining enforcement of and respect for the law and being fair to those who've entered the process legally.

This bill was definitely not the way to go. Aside from the specific issues involving illegal immigration, this bill is a glaring example of a dysfunctional process where the legislators and their staffs are navigating complicated parliamentary maneuvers while not even having the time to read the legislation they are attempting to impose on the American public.

Much of the conventional media are playing the immigration bill's defeat primarily as a major defeat for President Bush, who vigorously supported it, which indeed it is. But that is missing the larger significance, that this was a massive popular uprising (the volume of calls crashing the Senate phone system), aided by alternate media, which thwarted the establishment conventional wisdom that supported this bill (which included an odd assortment of liberal interest groups, big business, conventional media, the White House, Democratic congressional leaders, etc.).

Today's outcome represents a growing and healthy public skepticism that Mother Government can solve our social problems through such sweeping complicated legislation that even its authors don't understand. The immigration issue raises particularly passionate reactions, but I'm hopeful this healthy public skepticism and willingness to engage and 'mix it up' will spread to other issues and bring about a needed overhaul to the public policy process that will respect the founding principles of our nation.

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