Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Bad Wedge

The Moose comments on the wedge that came back to bite the elephant.

Listen to any right wing talk radio show these days and the conversation inevitable turns to immigration. However, this time the ire of the right is not directed to woolly-headed liberals but rather at their fellow conservatives. Indeed, much of the anger of the right these days is directed at a President who has admirably embraced a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Call it the bad wedge. For years, Republicans have relied on divisive wedge issues ranging from gay marriage to law and order. They have gained power and held onto it by riling up the right against the left on highly charged emotional social issues. However, this time, the conservative base can only direct their rage toward their brethren. Even Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton have embraced as tough a stand on the border as has the President.

Yesterday, the palpable fear and the corruption of the Republicans were on full display in the United States Senate. Once, the GOP claimed that the war on terror was Priority #1 of the nation. No longer. Now, the Republicans are so terrified of the border wedge that they voted to cut funds from the President's request for the war in Iraq.

The New York Times,

"Prodded by Republicans, the Senate voted on Wednesday to trim President Bush's financing request for the Iraq war by $1.9 billion and to use that money to improve border security.

"The vote, 59 to 39, was on an amendment to an emergency spending measure and was cast on a day of difficult choices for Republicans. They passed up opportunities to strip the bill of provisions unrelated to its primary purpose of paying for hurricane relief and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."

While the "tough" Republicans cut money for the war, many of them refused to give up pork,

"Republicans fought over what, if anything, to strip from the bill, and some of the senators who said they would sustain the veto also rejected an effort by conservatives to restore the bill to Mr. Bush's original request. That vote, 72 to 26, retained provisions for farm subsidies, aid for the fisheries industry and a $700 million proposal to relocate a freight railroad in Mississippi."

And, why should the conservative grass roots fight to maintain a Republican Congress?

Ironically, the wedge issue of immigration has worked - it has divided conservative against conservative. A similar dynamic was evident in the Dubai debacle. What once would have been an ideal wedge issue against a Democratic Adminstration was turned inward against a Republican regime.

Mr. Rove surely must recognize this delicious irony. In essence, Frankenstein was turned lose and has now turned on its master.

What a pity.

-- Posted at 8:09 AM | Link to this post | Email this post