Immigration Bill Opposed by "Livid" Conservatives Full of Talk Radio "Anger"
Friday's paper leads with a bipartisan Senate compromise on a Bush-style immigration bill that would provide amnesty to illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
The Times editorial page has long pushed this sort of bill (although strangely they say nothing about it on today's editorial page), and reporters Robert Pear and Jim Rutenberg, in a bit of a change from general Times practice, give Bush some credit for wisdom and experience in his push for amnesty and a path tolegal statusfor illegal immigrants.
"As the governor of Texas, Mr. Bush had seen firsthand the challenges of border security and the lengths to which impoverished Mexicans were willing to go to enter this country illegally. What he depicted as 'a rational immigration system' - one that would offer a temporary-worker program and a way for those who have set up working lives here illegally to become citizens - was a major part of his 'compassionate conservative' agenda.
"But the Sept. 11 attacks derailed his plan, and by the time he set out to enact it in his second term conservatives were livid over what they called deplorably inadequate efforts to secure the border. That anger, repeated nightly on talk radio and by the CNN host Lou Dobbs, remains, and is seen within the Republican Party as a motivating force for conservative voters in the next presidential election."
The paper quoted AFL-CIO president John Sweeney as also denouncing the bill, but not from a "liberal" or even "labor" standpoint but from what the Times euphemistically termed "a different angle."
In other labeling news, the Times at least called Sen. Ted Kennedy a "liberal Democrat," (balancing that with a reference to "conservative Republican" Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona).