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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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David Broder makes a number of interesting observations in his column in Today's Washington Post.

From Aristotle to Edmund Burke, philosophers have written of the
healthy tension that normally exists between the understanding and
strategies of leaders and the sentiments and opinions of their people.

today's Washington, a badly weakened president and a dangerously
compliant congressional leadership are no match for the power of public
opinion -- magnified and sometimes exaggerated by modern communications
and interest group pressure.

Broder's column focuses on immigration and how the well-orchestrated anti-immigrant campaign whose flames were fanned by talk radio and the right wing echo chamber, managed to spook Senators who know they're abdicating their responsibility to address an important problem but are too afraid to take on a very vocal minority.

Most of politicians fail to think much beyond winning their next re-election, but hopefully Broder's conclusion will convince a few of the need to think about what's best for the country and not just their own electoral prospects:

Politicians are wise to heed what people
want. But they also have an obligation to weigh for themselves what the
country needs. In today's Washington, the "wants" of people count far
more heavily than the nation's needs.

You can win elections by
promising people what they want. But you win your place in history by
doing what the country needs done.

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  1. Waiting for GC's Avatar
    Two pieces from the new
  2. Lisa Enfield's Avatar
    David Broder is right on point. Today's U.S. Congress is pathetically ineffective in the face of glaring issues that need attention. But, having said that, we could make alot more headway on immigration if we would just enforce the laws that we already have. That way, the "security first" crowd would be more likely to support attempts to reform the system.
  3. annoyed's Avatar
    I actually agree with Broder to some extent, but perhaps in a different way than he intended. I see immigration as issue that politically benefits the Democrats. As such, I think it is incumbent on the Democrats to not try to politicize the issue and take advantage of it for their own gain, but to do the right thing (not just focus on how they can use the issue to elect more Democrats). I actually fault the Democrats because they ARE politicizing the issue for their own electoral gain. The are being unreasonably extreme in their demands for what CIR must include. If they were more reasonable and willing to look past their own short term political goals, the immigration mess could be solved in a heartbeat. But they are trying to push conservatives WAY to far with pretty much carte blanch amnesty. If you are a Democrat and are looking for who needs to "rise above and do the right thing", you might start by looking in the mirror.
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