(photo: Ralph Alswang CAPAF)

Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are holding a press conference at 5:45 today to unveil their immigration plan, which will probably look a lot like the one that has been circulating (PDF) — heavy on enforcement to escalate the war on drugs, more money and power for ICE agents, biometric ID’s, lots of Department of Defense equipment used to militarize the border (shades of Rahm’s Shuler/Tancredo SAVE act), no apparent fix to the exclusion of immigrants from the health care bill, and of course Bill Gates’ H1-B visas. A list of benchmarks would have to be met before undocumented workers could achieve legal status.

Reid is screwed if Hispanic voters won’t turn out for him in November. He’s got to look like he’s doing something. But actually passing something would mean forcing the Blue Dogs in the House to walk the plank again like they did on health care, and the Democrats have shown no appetite for that.

Meanwhile, the President is doing his job: “double messaging” to the press:

President Obama said late Wednesday that “there may not be an appetite” to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws this year, even though he believes there is a pressing need to do so.

“It’s a matter of political will,” Obama said during a rare visit to the press section of his presidential plane. He added, “This is a difficult issue. It generates a lot of emotions. . . . I need some help on the Republican side.”

A “rare visit.” The message: “Don’t get all excited about the Harry Reid press conference tomorrow. Not going to happen, so blame it on the Republicans.”

Jon Tester backs him up, saying that the Senate has a lot to do and it’s highly unlikely they’ll take immigration reform up this year.

And thus the press gets their direct cue not to take Reid’s immigration efforts seriously. They get it (wink wink). This is how they all wind up running around “knowing” things, like the White House will never include a public option in the health care bill. Yet it keeps the credulous typing their fingers to a bloody pulp to the bitter end, insisting that Obama most certainly will because after all he mentioned the public option in his address to the joint session of Congress. And, of course, blaming Republicans.

Speaking of Republicans, now that it’s all Lindsey Graham’s fault, how is he doing?

[N]either Obama nor Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who sees Graham as a key component of the administration’s legislative strategy, has contacted the South Carolina Republican since he issued the weekend threats that could derail both bills.

No rides on Air Force One, no airports named after him?

John Boehner claims the proposal “is nothing more than a cynical ploy to engage voters, some segment of voters, to show up in this November’s elections.” If the Democrats continue with half-hearted symbolic gestures and double messaging that leave them shrugging their shoulders after Hispanics turn out for Reid and saying “what can we do, we lost the House,” Boehner’s assessment will have been the right one.

Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are holding a press conference at 5:45 today to unveil their immigration plan, which will probably look a lot like the one that has been circulating (PDF) — heavy on enforcement to escalate the war on drugs, more money and power for ICE agents, biometric ID’s, lots of Department of Defense equipment used to militarize the border (shades of Rahm’s Shuler/Tancredo SAVE act), no apparent fix to the exclusion of immigrants from the health care bill, and of course Bill Gates’ H1-B visas.    A list of benchmarks would have to be met before undocumented workers could achieve legal status.

Reid is screwed if Hispanic voters won’t turn out for him in November. He’s got to look like he’s doing something. But actually passing something would mean forcing the Blue Dogs in the House to walk the plank again like they did on health care, and the Democrats have shown no appetite for that.

Meanwhile, the President is doing his job: “double messaging” to the press:

President Obama said late Wednesday that “there may not be an appetite” to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws this year, even though he believes there is a pressing need to do so.

“It’s a matter of political will,” Obama said during a rare visit to the press section of his presidential plane. He added, “This is a difficult issue. It generates a lot of emotions. . . . I need some help on the Republican side.”

A “rare visit.” The message: “Don’t get all excited about the Harry Reid press conference tomorrow. Not going to happen, so blame it on the Republicans.”

Jon Tester backs him up, saying that the Senate has a lot to do and it’s highly unlikely they’ll take immigration reform up this year.

And thus the press gets their direct cue not to take Reid’s immigration efforts seriously. They get it (wink wink). This is how they all wind up running around “knowing” things, like the White House will never include a public option in the health care bill.   Yet it keeps the credulous typing their fingers to a bloody pulp to the bitter end, insisting that Obama most certainly will because after all he mentioned the public option in his address to the joint session of Congress.   And, of course, blaming Republicans.

Speaking of Republicans, now that it’s all Lindsey Graham’s fault, how is he doing?

[N]either Obama nor Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who sees Graham as a key component of the administration’s legislative strategy, has contacted the South Carolina Republican since he issued the weekend threats that could derail both bills.

John Boehner claims the proposal “is nothing more than a cynical ploy to engage voters, some segment of voters, to show up in this November’s elections.”
If the Democrats continue with half-hearted symbolic gestures and double messaging that leave them shrugging their shoulders after Hispanics turn out for Reid and saying “what can we do, we lost the House,” Boehner’s assessment will have been the right one.
Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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