President Bush yesterday told Hispanics to step into the middle of the immigration debate and make sure senators who have been bombarded with calls from opponents also hear from those who support the bill. "There's a lot of emotion on this issue, and it makes sense to have people from around the country come and sit down with members of Congress to talk rationally about the issue," he told those attending the Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington yesterday.
(Bush urges Hispanics to speak up, By Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, June 16, 2007)
(Implication: opponents of amnesty are irrational - get it?
Ironically, also today an unusual source provides graphic polling evidence of why Bush needs to find new support - and maybe a new party:
The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll] survey makes clear that the easy path for both President Bush and the Republican senators who stand with him in promoting the immigration overhaul would have been to simply let the bill die. There now is no doubt that it was yanked temporarily from the Senate floor earlier this month because of intense resistance among conservatives, which prevented Senate leaders from bringing it to a final vote.(For Republicans, Poll Shows Perils, By GERALD F. SEIB, Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2007)
The poll paints a picture of opposition that increases steadily as you move left to right across the political spectrum. The survey asked Americans whether the immigration bill that the Senate is considering is an "acceptable compromise." Among self-identified "strong Democrats," 29% said it was; 19% of "strong Republicans" agreed.
By contrast, 57% of strong Republicans agreed that the measure gave "too many compromises to illegal immigrants by allowing them to stay in the U.S." Just 31% of strong Democrats shared that sentiment — a 26-point gap between the true partisans on the key issue in the debate.
Significantly, whatever Bush's new party is, it apparently won't be the Democrats:
To be sure, some feelings about immigration appear to be bipartisan in this time of rising anti-immigrant sentiment. A striking 73% of those surveyed said they strongly favored requiring all immigrants who apply to become citizens to learn English, and 57% strongly favor imposing new fines on businesses that hire illegal aliens.
Poll PDF here.