While we have to remain forever vigilant, we simply can't get into a lather over the latest offending remark coming out of Washington, D.C.
I would, for example, recommend that you follow my example when it comes to anything that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has to say about immigration (or anything else):
Since 2004, when Reid was unanimously elected the Democrat's Senate leader, every single prediction he's made about amnesty has been dead wrong. Why annoy yourself by listening to him?
Here's Reid's most recent (and canned) amnesty comment, available in Spanish only:
"I expect to achieve it (amnesty) before September, and I feel extremely confident [emphasis added] that we can pass it. We are 59 Democrats and we need 60 votes, then we are going to need a little help and we are going to need them (the Republicans)." [Ponen fecha para reforma migratoria, El Informador, January 28, 2009]
According to the story (dateline Miami and transmitted by Univision) Reid said that he "has spoken with the former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has expressed to him his support to obtain the necessary Republican votes for the reform."
But Reid's statement doesn't hold up to even the most superficial analysis.
Imagine this scenario: Reid gives McCain the assignment of lining up Republican votes for amnesty. The dutiful McCain approaches his fellow Republican Senators including Oklahoma's Tom Coburn and James Inhofe. They're excellent on immigration, so they tell McCain to drop dead.
But Bennett and Gregg have problems—in 2010, they're up for re-election.
In Utah, immigration remains a hot button issue. The state is locked in a debate about SB 81 that would by requiring E-Verify reserve American jobs for citizens and legal residents, reduce public expenditures on benefits for ineligible immigrants, reduce illegal-alien crime, and provide assistance to citizens who have had their identities stolen. Most residents support it.[SB81 Requires E-Verify Checking for Workers, by Deborah Bulkeley, Deseret Morning News, February 19, 2009]
And most assuredly, fresh in Bennett's mind is the fate of long time immigration enthusiast Chris Cannon—once a Congressman but now a sorry chapter in Utah's political history as one of the rare incumbents to suffer a defeat in a primary election.
Gregg also has issues too that a "yea" amnesty vote wouldn't help. According to the AFL-CIO, [PDF] New Hampshire is losing good jobs and gaining low-wage jobs. Average wages for jobs in industries that are growing in New Hampshire are 25.4 percent lower—$11,225 a year less—than those in the industries that are shedding jobs.
Why, Gregg would wonder, should he vote for legislation that would drive income down further and gather the ire of his constituents?
Bennett and Gregg likely decline McCain's offer for the best possible political reason: they gain nothing by supporting amnesty.
As my drama unfolds, a desperate McCain then reaches out to someone he's sure he can count on, somebody who is as bad on immigration as McCain himself: Arlen Specter.
But, to his amazement, McCain discovers that even Specter can't be considered a shoo-in for his amnesty cause.
Like Bennett and Gregg, Specter is also up for 2010 re-election. But unlike his two colleagues, Specter faces a dogfight.
Both disaffected Pennsylvania Republicans and Democrats will go after Specter, who barely survived in 2004, with a vengeance. [Specter Wins Fifth Term After Tough Year, Associated Press, November 3, 2004]
Pennsylvania's level of immigration, especially in the western part of the state, is minimal. But jobs and wages are important. And it's impossible to effectively separate immigration from its impact on employment.
If Specter expects a sixth term, he'll need every single core Republican vote. And assuming Specter uses the "what's-in-it-for-me" guideline and applies it to amnesty, even he may decline McCain's unattractive offer. Possibly on the day of the vote, Specter will be absent—out "campaigning."
In short, Republican cross-over votes will be hard to come by.
And all of the Republicans that McCain might woo could be forgiven if they ask him one simple question: "John, can you explain to me what twenty years of carrying water for open borders lobbyists did for your career?"
When Reid talks about the bipartisan relationship McCain and he have forged to pass amnesty, it's to laugh out loud.
Neither one of them can get anything right. Only an institution like the U.S. Senate would suffer both of those fools so effortlessly.
In case I haven't made my point strongly enough about Reid's ineptitude, think back a mere month ago.
In late December, Reid swore up and down that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to replace President Barack Obama in the Senate "will not stand."
Fast forward to one month later. Burris is in the Senate and Kennedy, having withdrawn just before the door was unceremoniously slammed in her face, is somewhere on Park Avenue sipping white wine.
Every time Reid opens his mouth, something comically wrong comes out.
In a perfect world, there would be a limit to the numbers of egregious public errors and misstatements a politician could make before he's automatically ousted.
I'm not sure exactly how many Senators that rule of thumb would send to the unemployment line.
But Reid would be one of them.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.