Attention, Immigration Bill Opponents: Your Work is Not Done

I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts from RedHot last night, and encourage some of the folks who’ve been irate the last couple of weeks to think about changing gears somewhat. It’s important to realize a couple of things: first, Republicans, not Democrats, killed this bill. The 41 Republicans who opposed cloture were enough to defeat it by themselves, and Republicans by a 6:1 ratio opposed the cloture motion. Yes, a handful of Democrats also opposed cloture. Contra Polipundit’s assertion, I have not seen a single statement from any of them other than Dorgan that the reason they voted against cloture was because the bill did not provide for sufficient border security; in fact, I’ve been led to believe that the poison pill for almost all of these Democrats was the Allard amendment which removed the “points” earned for work performed while in the country illegally. In other words, insofar as the Democrats who opposed this bill are concerned, most of them did so because the bill was too tough on immigration. Second, I think that the bill is really dead for good. If the Allard amendment and Dorgan amendment aren’t removed from the bill, it’ll never pass cloture, and I think the two sides have created enough bad blood during the compromise that I don’t think a new one can be forged. So, congratulations to those who vociferously opposed the bill; you’ve won a victory.

But the job is not done. While Senators don’t like hundreds of angry phone calls, necessarily, they can read polls like the ABC/Washington Post poll which indicated that even within the Republican party, there were roughly as many supporters of the bill as there were opponents. And insofar as they are cognizant that a lot of these angry phone calls are coming from out of state, what they really like is knowing why they should care if out-of-state activists are angry. Which is why, after Miers was withdrawn, I sent donations to a couple of key Senators who were up for re-election who had done the right thing. Which was why, after Alito was nominated, I sent a donation to the RNC. Which was why, after Alito was confirmed, I sent some donations to some other key Senators who voted to confirm him (and a donation to Steve Laffey as well). None of these donations were particularly big (as a student, I live in perpetual near-poverty), but they were all accompanied by a note explaining why I was donating, and I like to think that 100 such donations would probably speak as loud (if not louder) than 600 angry phone calls.

So keep that in mind when donating season rolls around. Why not send a small check to John Sununu, Gordon Smith or Susan Collins with a note of thanks? I know, I know, Susan Collins? Hey, you never know what a slough of checks from conservatives expressing their thanks might do to a Senator. Or maybe, given the cloture vote as a whole, you want to send the dreaded NRSC a small amount with a note of thanks attached.

It’s something to consider. Working the phones is fine, and sometimes gets the message across, but politicians – especially those facing re-election – are prone to be extra sensitive to their re-election war chest, and those are the things they’ll really remember.

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