Thursday, June 07, 2007

Panicked White House Posts on RedState, Lies to its Base

I never thought I would see the day when the White House would be so panicked at the derailment of a particular bill by its own base that it would feel to need to post about it on the front page of a conservative blog in its own name.

I also never thought I would see the day when a respected community blog would simply allow a White House official to post on its frontpage--not even a promoted article or quote from an email, mind, but an originally authored piece.

Finally, I never thought I would see the day that George Bush had to defend himself from Republicans on charges of letting terrorists into America unsupervised and uncontrolled.

Apparently, I was wrong. Apparently, a fractured corporatist/xenophobic base can lead to some seriously strange results: a mendacious takeover of a right-wing blog by the very White House it was supposed to be holding accountable.

Case in point: today's frontpage post by Kerrie Rushton of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives with the amazingly defensive title, Are Convicted Criminals And Terrorists Barred? Yes!

Wanted to take a moment to clarify what is in the bill regarding the Z program and convicted criminals and terrorists. The contention that they are not barred from the Z program has been making the rounds today.

The range of crimes that disqualify applicants from the Z program extends into the thousands and includes any felony (murder), any three misdemeanors (theft, although felony theft would be covered in the prior category), any aggravated felony (rape), any serious criminal offense (assault), most crimes involving moral turpitude (fraud), and any violation of a law relating to a controlled substance. These bars are not waivable by anyone -- period. You can view the bill language on this provision on pages 282 to 284.

Terrorists are not eligible for the legalization program. Period. And this bar is not waivable by anyone. Period. Again, this is spelled out on pages 282 and 284 of the bill, without ambiguity or room for debate. The bill also contains a whole host of new tools to fight criminal, dangerous, and terrorist aliens.

Kerrie Rushton
White House Office of Strategic Initiatives

Of course, today is ground zero for the White House on this bill: George Bush desperately wants it to pass to please his corporatist, cheap-labor-loving base. Karl Rove and other GOP strategists desperately want to pass it in the hopes of winning the hearts and minds of the growing Latino voter population. Harry Reid, meanwhile, is taking a standoffish approach and calling it George Bush's bill--a brilliant political maneuver that leaves Republicans in a lose-lose situation. With a second cloture vote coming up tonight in the wake of the first failed cloture vote and major arm-wringing going on behind closed doors, it's now do-or-die desperation time for the bill's White House backers.

And the xenophobic base isn't buying. Most of the angry comments in response to this post point out that many undocumented immigrants have probably broken a number of laws ranging from trespassing to tax evasion to the use of fradulent government documentation such as social security numbers and driver's licenses that would not show up on the government's registry. Further, others point out the improbability of all of these background checks' occurring within the 24-hour period mandated by the bill. Yet others make the obvious declaration that terrorists are already barred from citizenship in any case.

While many of these comments skirt around why this propaganda effort on the part of the White House is such a lying bamboozle, none of them really get to the heart of the matter. The one major overlooked key to this is, as many of the wingnuts point out, the fact that only convicted terrorists are excluded from the "amnesty" provisions of the bill. What it doesn't exclude from this process is that uniquely Bush Administration status so often defended by these very same wingnuts: the suspected terrorists on the vaunted Terrorist Watchlists.

Some of you may remember my writing about Senator Lautenberg's brilliant legislation entitled "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007", granting Alberto Gonzales the direct authority to prevent those on the terrorist watchlists from purchasing firearms or explosives. This legislation was crafted in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings and was met with strong uproar from the gun nuts, putting Republicans in the uncomfortable situation of either dismissing their gun nut base, or seeming to to be unconcerned with suspected terrorists' access to high-power weaponry.

This little legislative loophole in the immigration bill has the same effect: the White House is only disbarring convicted criminals from obtaining Z-Visas, while saying the bill contains tough anti-terrorism measures--all while insisting that terrorist watchlists, Patriot Acts and warrantless spying on Americans are necessary for the nation's very survival.

Regardless of the fate of this immigration bill, the Bush Adminsitration must be called on this two-faced, lying hypocrisy. Either strict use of the terrorist watchlists is necessary to defend America or it isn't. Even if this bill dies in the Senate today, the desperate pleading on behalf of the White House to conservative bloggers to ignore the issue of terrorism as it relates to immigration in spite of its past horrendous authoritarian overreaches in name of "keeping America safe", provides the single best wedge since the Dubai Ports Deal to drive between the Republicans' twin corporatist and xenophobic bases.

Meanwhile, the comments on the part of the RedStaters border on the furious--both towards the White House itself and towards the RS editors for allowing the White House to post onto the front page:

Regardless, the bill is by jyaklin
Regardless, the bill is terrible and does significant damage to the country. Prove you can fix the crossing problems and maybe then we'll listen. As for Bush, it's too bad the Democrats won't impeach him.

With all due respect to the REDSTATE staff... by ChiefMinion
I'm curious as to how this post ended up on the front page. If some White House hack states that this is not "amnesty", is that going to get posted as well?

With all due respect by Achance
and we can argue about what respect is due, what on Earth would make any sane person think that the federal government could not only do something right, but do it right in 24 hours? This is a sham and the Administration is playing the American people for fools. Anyone who believes that the US will make even the slightest attempt to enforce the border crossing and criminal acts pieces of this bill is so stupid as to be fit only for slavery. The Bush Administration and the Republican leadership have ZERO credibility on this subject, so write away. Do appreciate the time you took to try to give us a snow job, though.

Pass the popcorn, because things are just starting to get interesting...

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