Bush Adamant on Amnesty; Lax on Competence
Returning from his trip abroad, during which he was confronted by protests throughout Western Europe, but cheer by Muslim Albania (for helping pry Kosovo from Christian Serbia), the President made it clear he intends to revive the horrible McCain-Kennedy immigration bill that died so unceremoniously in the Senate last week.
[from today's New York Times]On immigration, Mr. Bush is facing a backlash in his party’s conservative wing, whose members decry the bill as amnesty. On Tuesday, he plans to attend the Senate Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill — a rare step for a president who typically has lawmakers come to him at the White House — in an effort to revive the measure.For a president who gives so much lip service to promoting democracy around the world, he certainly doesn't seem to give a damn what his own people think when trying to ram unpopular legislation through Congress. Meanwhile back in Washington, observers continue to be amazed by the sheer lack of competence demonstrated by the administration and its underlings.
“I’m under no illusions about how hard this is,” he said, adding that he was disappointed that the measure had been “temporarily derailed.”
Mr. Bush did not do much lobbying from afar. While on Air Force One Friday evening, on the way from Poland to Rome, he telephoned three top Republicans: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the party leader; Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the whip, and Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, an architect of the bill.
“The political process sometimes isn’t pretty to look at,” Mr. Bush said. “There’s two steps forward and one step back. We made two steps forward on immigration, we took a step back, and now I’m going to work with those who are focused on getting an immigration bill done and start taking some steps forward again. I believe we can get it done. I’ll see you at the bill signing.”
Republican insiders who complain about Bush filling mid-level government vacancies with "children" cite a classic case. In September 2005, the president named Julie L. Myers, then 36, to head the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau. She has never been confirmed, amid bipartisan agreement that she lacks the five years of management experience required by statute.The testimony of Monica Goodling, several weeks back, exposed how this administration is largely run by people hired solely for their political inclinations or personal connections regardless of age, credentials or experience. When Bush first moved into the Oval Office in January 2001, many conservatives proclaimed "the adults are back in charge!" Now, six years later, it's obvious that adult supervision is the one thing most lacking in this White House.
Myers is serving on a recess appointment. But 175 Bush nominees for federal offices (including 85 executive positions) were in unconfirmed limbo until Henry Bonilla -- a seven-term Republican congressman from Texas who was defeated in 2006 -- bowed out last week. After 2 1/2 months of inaction by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he figured he would never be confirmed for the important post of U.S. representative to the Organization of American States. The White House, working hard to save Gonzales, did nothing for Bonilla.