Bush's March Over The Cliff
The president and a substantial portion of the U.S. Senate have essentially declared war on the American people.
The "bill" currently under discussion is so utterly detrimental to the interests of most Americans that if more of them simply understood what it contains, there would be talk not so much of "voting them out" in 2008, but of descending on the White House and Capitol with tar and feathers right now.
Howard Fineman makes this interesting but not entirely accurate observation:
His timing was perfect, as in wrong, just as he was preparing to attend the Senate Republicans' weekly luncheon on the Hill. "I'll see you at the bill signing," he said, chestier than usual.
He might live to regret such playground bravado. If you are president, the only thing worse than issuing a public threat to your own party is failing to make it stick.
It really is quite extraordinary. Here he is, an unpopular leader fighting an unpopular war. His two-term presidency is clattering to a conclusion, besieged on all sides, taking hits on everything from his attorney general to his general incompetence. And so he decides to do what? Climb into the ring for an ultimate fighting bout with the base of the very Republicans who got him to the White House.
The fissure in the Republican Party over immigration is significant, and - by the way - it precedes George W. Bush. There are far more powerful forces than the U.S. president advocating cheap labor and open borders. But Bush has chosen to ignore the concerns of the regular citizens.
These are now everywhere disingenuously referred to as "the base" whether "Republican" or "conservative." In reality, the outrage is coming from Americans of every ideological stripe who are now seeing the negative effects of the illegal alien invasion in their own communities.
There is no doubt the president is on course to destroy the Republican Party, although not because of besmirching it over the illegal alien issue. Certainly, many Americans will realize that if not for a handful of Republican senators this bill would have passed the Senate weeks ago.
He is going to destroy the GOP by forcing the question of party loyalty and deepening internal fractures to the breaking point in the 2007 and especially 2008 elections. As blogger Ace of Spades has promised:
Every single one of you voting for this bill is looking into your political grave. There will be casualties; there will be a bloodbath...
You're done. You've radicalized the right into a Kos-like political vendetta machine, and we will not only cut our own throats in order to slice yours, we'll enjoy doing so.
Read all of that, by the way.
Beyond the party, what Bush is saying to mainstream Americans is "trust me, and follow me over the cliff" by allowing him to open the floodgates once and for all. He is not just picking a fight with the hard core of his party - he is picking a fight with the citizenry as a whole. Luckily, Americans are now inclined to view the "trust me" exhortation skeptically and more and more of them are realizing they, their kids and their grandchildren are under attack.
The time is ripe for patriotism of the kind that inspired the "revolutionaries" here 231 years ago, who were not trying to overturn a social system but rather fight off a pernicious threat being imposed on their existing social and cultural order from above.
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