Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Impact of the Rallies on the Senate Debate?

Today Anderson Cooper on CNN was pondering if the May 1st rallies "backfired" on the immigration debate.*

Cooper's "best political team on television" gave their views on the impact of the rallies. Correspondent Candy Crowley claimed that the rallies hardened the opposition to positive immigration reform. Other correspondents were broken records harping on unintentional effects of the Spanish lyrics for the National Anthem and protestors use of foreign flags. (Is that the best they can come up with? It seems so.) Other commentators think it is unlikely that anything will get passed before the November elections. John Funu of the Wall Street Journal claimed "The boycott has so heated up the measure that we're not going to have any bill this year. It's simply poisoned the well".

Senator Harry Reid was shown praising the rallies for helping frame the issue and move the debate forward. "I personally believe very, very fervently that they have helped, helped picture this issue in the minds of the American people in a positive fashion."

Meanwhile the New York Times quoted Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (a true loose cannon on immigration issues): "The protest, I don't think, changes votes on the floor of the Senate. I think what changes votes is coming down, sitting down, talking about it, as opposed to students' staying out of school. I happen to think that students' staying out of school is counterproductive."

Back on CNN, Senator Martinez said that he thought the rallies were unhelpful. "I believe at the end of the day we'll see that it really had a negative effect and it backfired on those of us who are trying to move forward something that is comprehensive but yet in middle course."

Martinez claims that his office in DC has been receiving 10 calls to 1 in opposition to the guest worker and legalization programs he has proposed in his compromise bill (Have you ever noticed how Congressional offices love to use "10 to 1" to measure constituent calls?).

So in an effort to help Martinez's office truly reach his 10 to 1 ratio, call his office and tell him (and other Senators) that you oppose the Hagel-Martinez proposal but for different reasons: we want true immigration reform that provides earned legalization for ALL undocumented immigrants and an end to draconian and disasterous immigration enforcement.

Senator Mel Martinez: (202) 224-3041
Senate Switchboard for other senators: (202) 224-3121

* Read the transcript of Anderson Cooper's show "360"