The Washington Post's moderate Republican columnist Kathleen Parker opinionizes:
Likewise, Republicans are not shooting straight when they insist that the Senate bill’s path to citizenship is de facto amnesty. As paths go, it’s a 13-year pilgrimage along a precipice lined with bramble bushes — taxes, fines and various burning hoops through which one must leap in order to stand in line. Hardly rose-petal strewn.
I don't think Ms. Parker is being disingenuous here. She's just got it stuck in her head that "amnesty" is what some Democratic extremists want, while "a path to citizenship" therefore must be the moderate compromise between the liberal la-la land of "amnesty" and the horrors of "self-deportation" (i.e., going home).
In reality, of course, "a path to citizenship" is just amnesty plus the vote and other privileges. Karl Rove, for example, proposed in 2004 amnesty without "a path to citizenship." He didn't call it amnesty, of course, for the simple reason that it was amnesty.
Mickey Kaus explains:
GOP legislators said the biggest question was whether to give the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States a path to eventual citizenship, as provided by the Senate measure.–CNN, July 11
For months, Democrats have been saying they won’t agree to an immigration bill unless it has a “path to citizenship.” Reporters wrote it down. Many Republicans have also been saying the key sticking point is over the “path to citizenship”–they oppose it. Reporters wrote that down too, and declared “citizenship” the big line-in-sand battleground in the immigration debate.
The only problem is, this was BS. Citizenship isn’t the big dealbreaker issue. That’s because Democrats would ultimately–reluctantly, of course–accept a bill that did not give illegal immigrants a “path to citizenship” if it gave Dems what they really want, namely quick legal status before any new enforcement measures must be in place. Legalization gives the undocumented most of what they need from immigration refom–they can work, get driver’s licenses, etc. without fear of ICE. And if the legalization comes before enforcement, not only wouldn’t the undocumented have to wait very long, but Democrats would have the chance to water down the enforcement as soon as the the undocumented were in the clear (as Democrats, including Chuck Schumer, did after the 1986 reform).
Legalization First–that’s the real dealbreaker issue for Dems.
Now, that reminds me of a sociological issue. Ms. Parker, for example, appears to be a nice, well-adjusted lady. From Wikipedia:
Parker grew up in Winter Haven, Florida, graduated from Winter Haven High School in 1969, and attended Converse College before transferring to Florida State University where she majored in Spanish Literature. She also holds a Master's degree in the subject from Florida State.
She is married to an attorney, has three sons, and currently resides in Camden, South Carolina.
A political party like the Republicans should be proud that it represents a lot of fine, upstanding, agreeable Core Americans like Kathleen Parker. The problem is that to avoid getting taken to the cleaners by the Democrats on an issue that they enjoy thinking about far more than the typical well-adjusted Republican, you also need a few smart, cynical misfits, too.
Mickey, for example, is the kind of guy who graduates from Harvard Law School and then never practices law. A reasonable person who goes to all the expense and trouble of going to Harvard Law School and then doesn't practice law usually has something even better-paying to do. My cousin, for example, went to a fine law school, but then didn't take the bar exam because his older brother helped him get started in San Francisco real estate and development, in which he has done very well for himself. Mickey instead goes to work for the Washington Monthly magazine, run by the notoriously cynical/honest Charles Peters. Not a wise career move! In an age of feeding the blog beast, Mickey ekes out superbly crafted post every few days.