This piece by Matthew Cooper of Time purports to take us “inside” President Bush’s “compromise” on immigration. But what the reader actually gets is an inside look at Cooper’s superficial and confused thinking.
Cooper views Bush’s speech as an “attempt to “thread the needle” — that is, to appease conservatives and at the same time appear to be a reasonable centrist. Perhaps. But it’s more likely that the speech was an attempt to advocate what Bush considers the best solution to the problem of illegal immigration. Indeed, it’s difficult for me to believe that Bush and his aides thought that this speech would appease most hard core conservatives.
Cooper, however, seems to have been appeased. He finds Bush’s “new found moderation” to be “noble,” and claims that it hearkens back to the moderate Bush of 2000 and 2001. If only Bush had remained in the middle, Cooper seems to lament, the country would be less polarized and more receptive to Bush’s immigration proposal.
In reality, Bush has been a moderate on domestic issues throughout his presidency, a point that Cooper inadvertently supports when he compares Bush’s immigration compromise to his push in 2004 for the new prescription drug benefit. In any case, if the attempt at moderation embodied in Bush’s immigration proposal is a no-hoper, that’s because of well-founded doubts that it will stem the flow of illegals, not because Bush has polarized the country.
Cooper also quotes Power Line, specifically John’s statement that the president “had his chance and he blew it.” Unfortunately, Cooper cites this quote in support of his claim that conservative blogs reacted to Bush’s speech by going “nuts.” If that’s going nuts, I wonder what Cooper thinks when he reads left-wing blogs.