The Chicken Little amnesty panic is underway among the Republican establishment. Boehner, Hannity, the Wall Street Journal, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Norquist, Krauthammer, et al. are announcing that in the wake of Romney’s loss the GOP can’t survive unless it revisits the failed Bush/Kennedy amnesty.
But for some of these people, “panic” isn’t really the right word. Yes, the amnesty cabal is attempting to exploit the post-election malaise to stampede Republicans into supporting what will undoubtedly be a 2,000-page bill we’d have to pass in order to learn what’s in it.
But what we’re seeing is not panic, It’s revanchism, the desire for revenge. The Republican elite was soundly defeated in June 2007, when President Bush’s left-right alliance of Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media, Big Race, Big Religion, and Big Philanthropy was stopped dead in the Senate by a sustained outcry from the hoi polloi the likes of which the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body had never seen. As Hitler put it in the inevitable Downfall parody, “We had the Chamber of Commerce! We had the unions! We had the ACLU! . . . Every newspaper, every editorial writer was agitating for amnesty! What happened?!”
When the amnesty was finally killed on June 28, 2007, President Bush was on a visit to the Naval War College and held an impromptu news conference in a hallway. The text of his statement doesn’t convey what you could see in the video; the CNN correspondent said “the disappointment was written on his face”, but it was more than that — Bush was shocked, shaken, genuinely having believed his earlier bravado that led him to tell reporters “I’ll see you at the bill signing.”
Ever since, the Republican elite has been licking its wounds, biding its time for the best opportunity to strike back against the people. Thus, ironically, Obama’s victory was a godsend to the GOP establishment’s desire to settle this score not with a rival faction but with the GOP electorate itself. This should come as no surprise. Mexican political scientist Fredo Arias-King, while a representative for Vicente Fox’s ultimately successful campaign for presidency of that country, met with almost 80 U.S. senators and representatives, discussing immigration in depth with most of them. His findings were sobering, discussed here and here. This observation is relevant to today’s amnesty scramble (my emphases):
Also curiously, the Republican enthusiasm for increased immigration also was not so much about voting in the end, even with “converted” Latinos. Instead, these legislators seemingly believed that they could weaken the restraining and frustrating straightjacket devised by the Founding Fathers and abetted by American norms. In that idealized “new” United States, political uncertainty, demanding constituents, difficult elections, and accountability in general would “go away” after tinkering with the People, who have given lawmakers their privileges but who, like a Sword of Damocles, can also “unfairly” take them away. Hispanics would acquiesce and assist in the “natural progress” of these legislators to remain in power and increase the scope of that power. In this sense, Republicans and Democrats were similar.