An exchange with Dafydd ab Hugh

In response to my post arguing that congressional Republicans will be better off if the run having obstructed bad immigration reform than having been accomplices to it, our friend Dafydd ab Hugh writes:

Paul, are you really suggesting that the best politics for Republicans is to run against their own president? When has that ever worked? And doesn’t that set you up for an even worse electoral catastrophe in 2008… like, say, President Hillary?

This is getting crazy. The logical conclusion is that House negotiators in the joint conference should not attempt to fix any of those problems that Rohrbacher highlighted… because to do so would make the bill better, and therefore, perversely, harder to run against.

So the negotiators should vote *for* all those bad parts to keep them in the bill, so it will be *really bad,* and then they can run against it — and against President Bush.

Isn’t this just what the Democrats did, voting to keep in the provision that made all illegals federal felons, just so they could hang it like an albatross around the GOP’s neck? I think I would feel quite queasy if we began taking our political cues from the party of Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer.

Legalization does not have to be “amnesty;” a guest-worker program is not anathema; and betting the farm on a coin-flip is not a viable political strategy.

I fired back this response:

This bill is a atrocious and you don’t defend it in your email. It should be opposed on policy, not political, grounds. But the White House is trying to force Republicans in the House to go along with it so they won’t look like a do nothing Congress, and I’m just arguing that the White House is wrong about the consequences of opposing the legislation.

Tony Snow’s performance trying to lord the notion of “support bad legislation or die” over the Republicans was disgusting. This is a betrayal of conservatives and of the country [I got a bit over-heated here, ed.]. I’m becoming sympathetic with conservatives who want to sink Bush [still not very, ed.], though not sympathetic enough to join. . .them. I just want to sink the Senate’s plan.

Running with this president (approval rating of 35 percent) on this issue is suicidal. A “coin flip” (if that’s what it is) provides better odds.


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