Best We Could Hope For


His cartoon embodies the opinion of Hugh Hewitt, who spent the weekend going through the draft and posts section-by-section responses here. Ed Morissey, who was trying to keep an open mind, now has grave misgivings. Big Lizards still has a different take; I agree with his first point --that it's legal immigration which needs streamlining. And callers to WMAL's Chris Core show this morning took Sen. Graham up on his challenge to write a better bill. Notice idea #2 is streamlining the process of legal immigration. Americans aren't anti-immigrant, and no one understands why we can't just make it a heckuva lot easier to come in the front door.

Update: I was doubting my own initial reaction, but now that Michael Barone agrees I return to my initial state of un-panicky lack of enthusiasm.

Changing U.S. public policy is like steering a giant ship -- it's impossible to sharply reverse course, but you can change the direction in a way that will make a significant difference over time.

That's what I think the Bush administration and House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas accomplished in the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, much criticized by many conservatives. They sent the health care ship moving in the direction of market mechanisms and away from government ukase. [I think that's been Bush's tactic on everything --remember this--ed.]

The Kennedy-Kyl immigration compromise, now under attack from many conservatives and some liberals, attempts to steer the immigration ship toward regularization, enforcement that actually works and toward skill-based rather than family-based immigration. At least if they get the details right.

Like Barone, however, I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks.