Only several months removed from President Bush’s speech promising a major overhaul of the immigration policies in the US, the GOP has decided that it isn’t a political winner for them and will instead focus on other issues.
With Congress reconvening Tuesday after an August break, Republicans in the House and Senate say they will focus on Pentagon and domestic security spending bills, port security legislation and measures that would authorize the administration’s terror surveillance program and create military tribunals to try terror suspects.
“We Republicans believe that we have no choice in the war against terror and the only way to do it is to continue to take them head-on whether it is in Iraq or elsewhere,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the majority leader.
A final decision on what do about immigration policy awaits a meeting this week of senior Republicans. But key lawmakers and aides who set the Congressional agenda say they now believe it would be politically risky to try to advance an immigration measure that would showcase party divisions and need to be completed in the 19 days Congress is scheduled to meet before breaking for the election.
I would bet this decision is based on what they are seeing around the country where huge pro immigration rallies aren’t translating into increased Hispanic voter registrations.
Even in Los Angeles, where a 500,000-strong protest in March foreshadowed demonstrations across the United States, an increase in new registrations before the June primary was more trickle than torrent in a county of nearly 4 million voters.
Protest organizers — principally unions, Hispanic advocacy groups and the Roman Catholic Church — acknowledge that it has been hard to translate street activism into ballot box clout, though they insist their goal of 1 million new voters by 2008 is reachable.
The cynic in me has to laugh as who would have thought rallies made up largely of illegal immigrants would lead to increased voter registration as one of the few rights the illegals have yet to gain is the ability to vote but what it does show is the GOP’s continued willingness to keep stirring the pot with conservative voters while doing nothing to fix the problems that face the country.
So now that the Labor Day weekend has come and gone and election silly season starts in earnest, we can expect the GOP to continue their campaign of rhetoric against the Democrats while not actually accomplishing anything where it matters. In other words business as usual…