Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Aftermath And What It Means

The battle was long and exhausting, but in the end we prevailed. No one can deny that "we, the people" humbled a body, and forced the Senate to bow to our wishes. This should not be looked down upon. It should be celebrated. This is what democracy is all about. It is what an empowered people is capable of. Today, Rich Lowry has a piece up @ TownHall discussing this:

Beware of an aroused citizenry. It's an admonition that should be ingrained in the brain of any run-of-the-mill politician, let alone someone who has ascended to the United States Senate.

But from the Olympian heights of the world's greatest deliberative body, it is often forgotten. So senators got a reminder in the humiliating defeat of a "comprehensive" immigration bill that had the support of the president of the United States, a bipartisan group of senators with the blessing of the leaders of their caucuses, and the support of the editorial boards of the country's most important newspapers.

All of that was enough to get all of 46 votes on a key procedural vote that needed 60 to pass. The fight over the immigration bill was the first instance of an insider parliamentary struggle in which bloggers, talk-radio hosts and citizens were able to have a major voice through the synergistic power of the Internet, radio waves and telephone lines. Bloggers picked apart the bill, talk-radio-show hosts broadcast its flaws, and ordinary people jammed their senators' phone lines -- blocking what had begun as a kind of legislative coup.

The creators of the Senate's so-called Grand Bargain -- giving illegal aliens legal status in exchange for new enforcement measures -- originally hoped to slam it through the Senate in a matter of days. Even as they held a self-congratulatory press conference about the bargain, no one had seen the text of the 300-page bill. Their implicit axiom was, "Trust us."

It quickly became clear that was impossible. The bill's boosters repeatedly were caught mischaracterizing it. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff seemed to suggest that illegals would have to pay back taxes, when the White House had quietly taken that provision out. Bloggers and talk-show hosts publicized this and other problems that otherwise would have gone unnoticed (John McCain learned of the tax provision in a blogger conference call), slowing its momentum.

As the techno-populists dissected the bill, its senatorial supporters mustered their most off-putting imperial pique. Mississippi Republican Trent Lott rued that talk radio was "running the country." Ohio Republican George Voinovich went on the Sean Hannity radio show and complained that he was being "intimidated" because people were calling his office opposing the bill.

President Bush said opponents hadn't read the bill, when diligent bloggers combed through it line by line. They gave the bill the markup -- the detailed process of amendment -- that it never got in committee because there was such a rush to passage. Even the procedural shenanigans that the bill's supporters relied on to try to get it through were subject to the intense glare of publicity. Instead of helping the bill's cause -- as such arcane maneuvers would have in the past -- they hurt it by adding to the sense of chaos and unfairness around the process.

Once, the Senate leadership would have been able to lean on members opposed to the bill to do a dishonest two-step to pass it. First, vote for cloture to end debate over the bill, which requires 60 votes and was the toughest hurdle. Then, vote against it on final passage, which takes only 50 votes -- so there would be more wiggle room for "no" votes. This way, the Senate leadership would have gotten its bill, and senators opposed to it could tell constituents back home that they had voted against it. But bloggers and talk-radio hosts blocked that dodge by sending up a cry, "A vote for cloture is a vote for amnesty."

In the end, support for the bill literally collapsed. Even the imperious Voinovich voted against cloture. Now, there is really no such thing as an "inside game" anymore, since bloggers make sure it gets "outside." Both the right and the left will take advantage of this, for good and ill policy ends. But it's clearly an enhancement of democracy. Senators should get used to it, and buy more phone lines.

Indeed. Thomas and I can take a miniscule pat on the back for doing our part. We called, we wrote, we blogged, and he was on the radio constatnly. But that is a drop in the bucket compared to people like Michelle Malkin, Laure Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt, and the people over at NRO's Corner. Those are the people who took the vanguard and: A) Informed the people of the bill's flaws; B) Encouraged no one to sit on the sidelines; C) Took the water carriers on full force. They led the way. We just jumped on board and went for the ride.

In the end all of our caterwauling worked. We broke down support for the bill, and Mr. Lowry is precisely correct. When we saw the drama playing out in it's final hours, we drew a line in the sand. If you vote for cloture, you will vote for amnesty. We gave our senators no wiggle room. Look at Senator Brownback. He thought he could be sly, and quietly change his "yea" vote to a "nay" vote when he saw that cloture would not be reached. Going into Thursday's vote, each senator knew what a yes vote meant.

Just so we are clear here, as I did put the roll call up, there is nothing left for the twelve Republicans who crossed the aisle. Below is that list, and their next relevant Senate election:

Bennett, UT -- 2012
Craig, ID -- 2008
Graham, SC -- 2008
Gregg, NH -- 2010
Hagel, NE -- 2008
Kyl, AZ -- 2010
Lott, MS -- 2012
Lugar, IN -- 2012
Martinez, FL -- 2010
McCain, AZ -- 2012
Snowe, ME -- 2012
Specter, PA -- 2010

For all those digging out the pitchforks and torches to toss these guys out of their jobs remember that you need a solid conservative primary candidate to beat them. Not just anyone will do. If we are to be serious about retaking our party from the moderates willing to bend overbackwards and make backroom deals with our ideological foes, then simply putting up clay pigeons (for lack of a better term) will not do.

People know we live in Arizona. People also know that we do not like John McCain. We believe him to be arrogant, condescending, and vain. He is a good american, but he is a lousy senator and a terrible Republican. On the flip side, John Kyl is a good man and a solid conservative. Hugh Hewitt penned a piece just before his vacation. It was a column defending John Kyl. While neither Thomas or I are too fond of Senator Kyl now, that wound will heal. We feel slighted because both men come from a border state, and they know how porous our border is. This is not rocket science; enforce the laws on the books now, and make the necessary changes incrementally towards reform.

As for the rest, many of them need to go. Lott, Hagel, Graham, Lugar, and Specter are at the top of the list of those needing to be handed their walking papers. These people have played long enough in the Senate where real and serious work needs to be carried out. Play time is over. For us to heal the wounds of division in the party, it falls to us to clean house, and remove some of the dead weight from the party that has been problematic, at best; irresponsible and contentious, at worst.

Marcie

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very good job to Thomas and Marcie. My Rino list now has 12 on it-that's too many. There are: That's too many but warranted: COLEMAN, Norm (MN); COLLINS, Susann (MA); GRAHAM, Lindsay (SC); HAGEL, Chuck (NE); LOTT, John (KY); LUGAR, Richard (IN); MARTINEZ, Mel (FL); McCAIN, John (AZ); SNOWE, Olympia J. (MA): SPECTER, Arlen (PA); VOINOVICH, George (OH); WARNER, John, (VA)

In addition to the above brownback if now known as switchback. Rawriter

June 30, 2007 at 12:13 AM  

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