Some Say Ted Kennedy Was Not Up To The Task Negotiating Immigration Reform. Evidence Is That He Got Everything He Could Have Wanted.
By Perry Hicks- Special to GulfCoastNews.com Filed 7/9/07
Arrayed about immigration reform like actors on stage in a traditional Japanese play; the howling, shouting and sometimes shrill posturing of some U.S senators surely made for high theatre, but with the subtleties of a classic Japanese Kabuki, where the message in that bizarre form of theater is in details not spoken. Moreover, the public, like their raucous Japanese Edo Period counterparts, brought down the house- or at least the Capitol telephone switchboard- with their demands that Immigration Reform Bill S1639 be killed.
While those in Washington closest to the controversy would argue that no senator would endure such vicious criticism if they were not serious, some of S1639’s attributes indeed seemed too fantastic for the bill to be credible.
For example, consider the absurdity of Ted Kennedy, the Massachusetts senator who has proclaimed much angst about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, sponsoring legislation that would create an entire system of internal detention centers. According to S1639, these virtual prisons would be dedicated to holding illegal aliens, including entire families with children, while they waited hearings for deportation.
We can see the cameras rolling now; pitiful little brown faces peering out from behind chain link fences, waiting for the final order for their mothers and fathers to be deported; whole families (sob) being coldly separated by the appropriately named Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.)
And that would just be the footage shown on the alphabet networks; ABC, CBS, and NBC.
FOX News and Bloomberg channels would air equally pitiful, if adult faces, peering through the other side of the same detention fence. Along with the soundtrack of children calling for their mommies would be the sobs and histrionics of bankers as they watched their loan portfolios board buses headed for the closest international airport.
Several years ago, I arranged for a gentleman named Julio Valdez to be booked on FOX News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor. Mr. Valdez’ business was to assist Hispanics obtain Federal taxpayer identification numbers (which coincidently looked identical to social security numbers,) learn English, and generally navigate American society- including the acquisition of banking services.
O’Reilly was livid and verbally shredded Mr. Valdez for assisting illegals breaking U.S. law.
Julio Valdez’ business was not in California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas. Valdez’ work was in Richmond, Virginia; a place one would think the Hispanic population to be minimal.
This is what is meant when government officials say it is not possible to remove millions of illegal aliens from the United States. It is not that illegals cannot be eventually located, or arrested, or even removed. What prevents their forced repatriation with their home country is that too many of them have inextricably woven their financial lives into the fabric of America.
Illegals own real estate, businesses (often fronted by legal if not native born Americans,) owe bank loans, are obligated to contracts, and employ legal residents along with other illegal aliens. To know the extent to which these illegals have integrated themselves into our society would require uprooting them and then observing the resulting damage.
If you doubt this, ask Bank of America why they were willing to offer credit cards to customers not having Social Security Account Numbers.
This is the absurdity of Senator Kennedy’s sponsorship of S1639: Who would Kennedy have to blame if any of this were to come about as a result of his immigration reform bill?
Both Senator Cochran’s and Senator Lott’s office has assured GCN that the effort to advance S1639 through the senate was indeed genuine. Lott, of course, argued for the measure while the White House twisted as many senatorial arms as was executively possible.
In the mean time, Talk Radio’s entrance stage right came with the dramatic reverberation a gigantic gong. From sea to shining sea the vast majority of talk show hosts decried giving amnesty to illegals and questioned why a new bill was needed when the existing laws were not being enforced.
All good questions
Then something very interesting happened. Coincidently, or perhaps not so coincidently, the Democrats sent a couple of trial balloons aloft suggesting that Talk Radio might need to see the return of the Fairness Doctrine.
Talk radio hosts, speaking as proxies for tens of millions of listeners, could not have become more animated about terminating both lines of “Progressive thought.”
The Capitol switchboard lit up; the congressional email filled up; and the majority of senators were clearly given the message that if you vote for this bill you will have seen your last days in congress.
Which brings us back to Ted Kennedy: If much of this bill should have been anathema to the Left, why would a liberal icon like Kennedy, a bill sponsor, or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) agree to create an entire system of detention centers when both know the mainstream (read liberal) media would be so opposed? Furthermore, why were the mainstream media so quiet about such features of the bill in the first place? Why would they not publish a copy of the proposed bill as GCN did?
While some would argue that Kennedy was merely outmaneuvered during the bill’s negotiations, talk radio king Rush Limbaugh relabeled S1639 as the “Comprehensive Destroy the Republican Party Act of 2007.”
The bill resoundingly split off President Bush from what was left of his base, and had talk radio taking to task any Republican, including the president, who dared support S1639.
Consider that in the end, Trent Lott voted for cloture and Thad Cochran voted against.
When GCN asked each senator’s office if the respective votes resulted in any hard feelings, the answer was absolutely no. And there may not have been, but remember, we are talking about two Southern gentlemen who would prefer to find a diplomatic way out of any embarrassing situation…
…Unlike the mainstream press which seeks to drag gentlemen into controversies even if they have to manufacture them, such as Trent Lott’s statement concerning talk radio.
If one reads the original New York Times story breaking the quote, “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem,” it is clear that the statement is interjected without context or even any clear purpose.
The mainstream press then begins reporting Democrat intentions of reviving the Fairness Doctrine, the FCC rule requiring controversial programming to report “all sides” of an issue, and ergo, Lott’s statement is rendered an ominous meaning.
When interviewed on air by Number two ranked syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity, Lott vehemently denied supporting a return to the Fairness Doctrine. Furthermore, Lott affirmed talk radio’s First Amendment right to free speech and vowed to defend it.
Still, Hannity refused to accept Lott’s explanation, which in effect was that it was talk radio that was tackling the pressing issues of the day, namely a national energy policy and immigration reform, and not the senate. According to Lott, what needed to be done was not “fix” talk radio, but instead the Unites States Senate.
Indeed, the supposed “world’s greatest deliberative body” hasn’t been up to much deliberation for quite some time; particularly after having reached a hand into the Pandora’s Box of immigration reform and pulling back a bloody stump.
According to Lott’s office, the senator does not think immigration reform can be visited again until late 2009.
If the Democrats win the White House in 2008, and they can hold their slim majorities in both houses, don’t expect a new immigration bill to contain provisions for detention centers, fencing, aerial surveillance, increased number of border agents, and the judiciary and administrative staff necessary to handle the millions of cases that will be brought before our courts of justice.
Given this light, it would not appear that Senator Kennedy was outmaneuvered at all.
Out of the “failure” of S1639, Kennedy and his Left Wing stalwarts have gotten everything they could have wanted: Bush virtually isolated from the conservative base; Republican leaders distanced from each other; and the specter of immigration reform pushed back until a time when a Left-leaning administration is safely ensconced in the White House.
With the Republicans in total disarray, the Democrats can now take their bow and exit stage left.
A Closer Look at Senate Immigration Bill S-1639 - GCN Special Report
Sen. Trent Lott: Answers Immigration Critics - GCN Exclusive Report
About the Author.....
Perry Hicks is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel. Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics. Perry is a former college professor and is a senior writer for GCN on stories of national importance with local interests. His articles can be found in the GCN Archive