Which Is More Popular Among Republicans: The House Immigration Bill Or The Senate Immigration Bill?

Have you heard the latest line from the supporters of the pro-amnesty bill in the Senate? It’s that the House should buckle and support amnesty because it’s so incredibly, wildly popular among Republicans. Why, they just love it!

There are several examples I could use, but this quote from the The Wall Street Journal does a good job of summing up the argument:

“Which brings us to the politics. Contrary to what you hear on talk radio and cable news, polls continue to show that the conservative silent majority is pro-immigration, and that it supports a guest-worker program as the only practical and humane way to moderate the foreign labor flow.

According to the most recent Tarrance Group survey, 75% of likely GOP voters support immigration reform that combines increased border and workplace enforcement with a guest-worker system for newcomers and a multiyear path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here–provided that they meet certain requirements like living crime free, learning English and paying taxes. “Support for this plan,” the poll found, “is strong even among base Republican voter demographics like strong Republicans (77%), very conservative Republicans (72%), white conservative Christians (76%), and those who listen to news talk radio on a daily basis (72%).”

Let’s take a few moments and break down the popularity of the House Bill Vs. the popularity of the Senate Bill in a number of different ways, shall we?

— The Wall Street Journal quotes a poll by the “Tarrance Group?” Well, let me quote a poll by Zogby. According to the Zogby Poll, 69% of Republicans, 87% of “very conservative” Americans, and 72% of “conservative” Americans support the House Bill.

— I’ve seen literally hundreds of comments from readers across the blogosphere saying they will sit out the election if the Senate Bill passes, but not a single person saying the same about the House bill.

— I’ve received about 8-12 “chain emails” suggesting that Republicans sit out the election in 2006 if the Senate bill is passed, but not a single person saying the same about the House bill.

— I polled right-of-center bloggers on their preference between the House and Senate bills and 88% said the House Bill, “would be best for America” while 91% said the House Bill, “would most benefit the Republican Party in the 2006 elections.”

— Among the conservative “punditocracy” the Wall Street Journal and to a lesser extent, the Weekly Standard, along with Larry Kudlow, Jack Kemp, and a few others support the Senate Bill, while the other big name pundits and radio show hosts support the House bill. An 80-20 split in favor of the House Bill sounds right although it may be overly generous to the Senate Bill.

— In the elections this year, everybody is talking tough about border security and cracking down on illegals, but no Republicans running for reelection that I’ve seen are putting their support for the “comprehensive plan” front and center. Sure, they mention it and then usually mumble something about having to allow the illegals to stay here because we, “can’t deport them all,” but none of the Republican candidates I know of are out there running ads bragging about massive increases in legal immigration, giving social security for illegals, and allowing all the illegals to stay here. Instead, they’re trying to make themselves as indistinguishable as possible from the people who support the House plan.

— In the Senate, 32 Republicans voted against the legislation while 23 voted for it.

— In the House, according to Jack Kingston, there are about 180 House members opposed to the “amnesty” in the Senate Bill (and my guess is that number has probably increased since he made that statement). Even if it’s still at 180, that would leave 51 Republicans who are willing to support the Senate bill.

I could actually go on and point to how the President’s poll numbers plummeted when illegal immigration was in the news every day and only started to come back up when it looked like the Senate Bill was going to stall in committee. I could also point out how the, “President was met with dead silence at the Republican Party’s biggest annual fund-raising dinner when he mentioned his position on immigration.” You can go on and on with these examples.

The bottom line is that the Senate’s Bill is about as popular as gun control or gay marriage with the Republican base. They don’t like it, they don’t want it, and no matter how much lipstick you slap on the pig, it’s still not going to start appealing to them.

The dirty little secret is that even the President and the Wall Street Journal know this to be true. If they didn’t, they’d be happy to split the border security/immigration enforcement part of the Bill off to push it through the House. Then they could bring the amnesty / social security for illegals / massive legal immigration increases, etc., up in another bill. If the Republican base wants all those things, then why does the open borders crowd have to continue to hold border security hostage to get anyone to consider amnesty? It’s because if they uncouple the security features of the immigration bill from everything else, it’ll become immediately apparent how wildly unpopular “everything else” is and it’ll die a quick and ugly death in Congress.

No matter how they try to spin it, the plain fact of the matter is the House bill is what the Republican Party and the majority of America wants, while passing the Senate Bill would be a huge political liability. That’s the obvious truth and the Republicans in Washington had better not forget it.

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