Jewish World Review May 16, 2006/ 18 Iyar, 5766

Wesley Pruden

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This skirmish goes to Corporate Wing | The war continues between the Conservative Republicans, whose hearts skip beats at the sight of Old Glory, and the Corporate Republicans, who regard America as a good place to do business and not necessarily something to get emotional about on the Fourth of July. The greedy guys are winning.

And why not? The commander who could be marching with the conservative regiments he counts on on Election Day is missing in action.

The conservatives have never been a majority, but they comprise the 40 percent that is enough to assure a Republican victory in most national elections. A competent Republican can package the conservative coalition assembled by Ronald Reagan together with the old Rockefeller Republicans and the odd stragglers and dawdlers to fashion a workable majority.

This president, who talks the Conservative Republican talk and walks the Corporate Republican walk, has never actually misled anyone. George W. says it straight and plain enough. Even his evasions are direct. He came to office as a "compassionate conservative," deliberately not saying exactly what he meant or who he intended to shower his "conservative compassion" on. Fair enough. H's a politician, not a patriarch. But five years on, a lot of his friends, who have been trying to break through the cocoon that protects every president from his friends, are concluding reluctantly that the compassion is mostly reserved for the mistreated moguls and underprivileged autocrats of the Corporate Wing.

These include most prominently the employers who yearn for a steady, abundant supply of easily exploited — and abused — cheap labor. The Senate immigration reform legislation, praised last night by the president and up for consideration this week, is the answer to the prayers of everyone who ever dreamed of owning a sweatshop, restaurant, saloon, chicken-pluckery, grape arbor, catfish farm, cotton plantation, swimming pool or slaughterhouse, or thought of hiring someone to tend his yard, clean his toilets or mind his obstreperous children. These may not be the jobs that no one else will do, but they're the jobs of those willing to work for the minimum wage or less if an unscrupulous employer thinks he or she can get away with it.

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The president and his allies in the Senate are determined to provide another amnesty to the millions of these illegal aliens among us, the "undocumented workers" who jumped the line ahead of the suckers who had gone by the rules to become immigrants. This amnesty is designed to double the number of illegals who cross the border with Mexico each year, as well as bring up their dependents back home. That's not all. One provision tucked away in the fine print would grant an immigration visa to any woman or orphan anywhere in the world who is "at risk of harm" because of age or sex. The critics of the president's amnesty fiesta thought they were kidding when they said the president and the Senate wanted to grant citizenship once and for all to everyone in the world.

As a sop to those who want true immigration reform — those arrogantly dismissed as "bigots" and "racists" and "nativists" — the president proposes to send National Guard troops to enforce the border until enough Border Patrol agents can be trained to do it. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, an amnesty ally, demurs on this point. He says the Senate bill, which he helped write, would double the 12,000 Border Patrol agents over five years, and thinks that will do it.

The irony of sending the National Guard to the border will not be lost on the Guardsmen, many of whom are part of the president's abused base. Many have already pulled two or three tours in Iraq; by one Pentagon estimate nearly three-quarters of all National Guard equipment — trucks, tanks and the like — is permanently deployed in Iraq. (The president is worried that the presence of military troops will hurt the feelings of President Vicente Fox of Mexico.) Sen. Bill Frist, the leader of the Republican senators who have signaled surrender to the president and the illegals, says those who make this point on behalf of Guardsmen who have sacrificed so much are "whining" and "moaning."

This is the thanks extended by those who never had time to wear their country's uniform. Payback is scheduled for Nov. 8.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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