May 22, 2006
I used to think very highly of Sen. Lindsey Graham as a rising star on the side of honest reform in the Republican Party, but his comments on Meet the Press yesterday were a big disappointment. Most galling was his comment, "If the law doesn't create a just result, what good is it?" Now, I'll grant his points that the past failures by the government to enforce the laws must be taken into account, as should the military service of immigrants, but anyone who poo-poos the rule of law like that does not deserve to be a leading voice of the Party of Lincoln. Graham contradicted himself by saying that if his approach if adopted, "we'll be rewarded at the ballot box not just by Hispanic voters," and then, "It's not about the next election. What Republicans need to get away from is fear of the next election, and do things that are good for the country down the road."
He needs to make his mind up. Is it not obvious that Graham and people like him are the ones who are most afraid of the electoral consequences of real reform? Like John McCain, he is prone to mouthing the lame canards about how our economy "needs" underpaid illegal workers, not even bothering to reflect whether our labor laws might need to be part of the reform. Fortunately, Rep. Charles Norwood, appearing with Graham on Meet the Press, rebutted the red herring about "mass deportation," stating quite clearly that a reduction in the illegal work force could be accomplished gradually, through attrition of those who choose to return home to their home countries. Even though the specter of mass roundups is too far-fetched to contemplate, it might help matters if Reps. Sensenbrenner and Tancredo could offer to compromise by including provisions spelling out such details, to allay the fears some immigrants have.