STAND ON MERITS PLEASE- A Congress Too Sly
By Alan Nathan
Published November 13, 2007

Whether they're sabotaging our troops' lifeline on the battlefield abroad or assaulting our citizens' sovereignty at home, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are doing everything imaginable to derail an otherwise promising election result for Democrats in November of 2008. Their politics appear to be all hunger and no foresight — like rotund diabetics waddling into a pie-eating contest.

Their vile strategy, of course, is to camouflage less savory goals behind arguments that are seemingly more palatable for public consumption. Mrs. Pelosi endeavored to galvanize support for a non-binding resolution condemning a 92 year old massacre of Armenians in Turkey — despite that pivotal ally granting us supply lines to replenish our troops with critically needed materials.

Since the speaker proved legislatively unable to stop resources from reaching our troops as a way to end the war in Iraq, it seems agonizingly self-evident that she tried to secure the same results by antagonizing an ally into doing it for her — regardless of the potential harm to the very military personnel whose safety she claims as paramount.

When this resolution was brought up during the Clinton administration, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, granted President Clinton's request that Congress not pursue the Armenian question because of our need for Turkey's continued cooperation in a troubled region. Their role has become far more crucial since the beginning of the war, but Mrs. Pelosi nonetheless rejected President Bush's plea for the same consideration. Fortunately, however, more than 40 Democrats stripped her of the votes necessary to bring it to the floor with any chance of passage.

In the other chamber, Mr. Reid has been demonstrating all the tactical sure-footedness of a running-back in dress shoes. He tried, and mercifully failed, to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act. This would have granted legal status to aliens arriving before the age of 16, providing they graduate high school, sustain a clean criminal record and demonstrate a "good moral character." Mr. Reid was furious over his failure, saying "Children should not be penalized for the actions of their parents." Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat, added that "to turn on these children and treat them as criminals is an indication of the level of emotion and, in some cases, bigotry and hatred that is involved in this debate."

Mr. Reid's bad-faith argument is beyond sophistic. He fully understands that while children should not be held accountable for their parents' lawbreaking, neither should they be its beneficiary. If a shoplifting mom steals a toy for her son, should the boy really be allowed to keep it just because he didn't commit the crime? If a bank robber pulls off a heist, do we give his kids the loot simply because they didn't participate in the offense? There's nothing punitive about denying the lawbreaker's family a prize that was itself only possible because of the misdeed in question. It's merely a return to what their status would have been had the infraction never occurred — in this case, their rightful place in line for both legal residency and citizenship.

Mr. Durbin is correct when he asserts that hatred was involved in this debate. That hatred, however, was against politicos like him who unpardonably castigate folks as bigots merely because they want laws universally applied regardless of the offender's demographic origin.

Messrs. Reid and Durbin have yet to learn what people of good will have always known: If it's wrong to assume guilt based on ethnicity, race and religion, then it's equally wrong to shield guilt based on ethnicity, race and religion.

Both gentlemen continue insisting that the term "amnesty" describes neither the Dream Act nor its more sweeping predecessor, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that failed in June. They argue that because the aliens' citizenship would have been contingent upon meeting certain qualifications, there wouldn't have been an immediate reward for wrongdoing. However, this rationale is bombastically nonsensical. While the stroke of a president's pen would not have made them instant citizens, it would have made them instantly legal and that does constitute an immediate reward.

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, if you're against the war and support amnesty, fine. But fight for those positions on their merits — not through proxy causes or the disconnected relabeling of your own.

 

 



Alan Nathan, combative centrist, columnist, speaker and the nationally syndicated host of "Battle Line With Alan Nathan" on the Radio America Network.

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