The RNC's Post-Speech Spin

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The RNC's Post-Speech Spin

In the wake of President Bush's televised speech on immigration Monday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) created this web page entitled: "What They're Saying About The President's Address On Immigration."

Below this title was the following headline:
Praise For President Bush's Address
Among the quotes cited as "praise" was this set of remarks by House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio):
"Providing extra resources and extra security personnel on our borders in an effort to stop illegal immigration is an important initiative, and I applaud the President's commitment to making our borders more secure."
Of course, the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops to the Mexican border was only one of Bush's immigration proposals.

In his statement, Boehner went on to declare that the bill passed by the House is sufficient reform -- a bill that lacks the guest worker provision that Bush said he wants. Boehner said:
"House Republicans have responded to the concerns of the American people by passing a strong border security bill that reflects our commitment to re-establishing basic respect for our immigration laws and sealing our border against illegal entry."
In the final sentence of his statement, Boehner acknowledges that the Senate may embrace a different version of reform by saying simply that he will seek to "make border security our first priority."

In Congress-speak, this is the polite way of saying, "We like the bill we passed so don't expect us to roll over for your version."

Further evidence that Boehner's "praise" was nothing more than a courteous tone comes from how Fox News characterized the Majority Leader's views in the wake of Bush's speech:
The task of settling differences between the Senate and House [bills] could be the biggest barrier to reform. The House bill emphasizes border security and calls for construction of a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border. It also makes no guest worker provision.

Signaling that House Republicans have not changed their position, Majority Leader John Boehner said he will wait and see what comes out of the Senate.
This doesn't sound like Boehner has changed his tune on immigration. He remains strongly opposed to a guest worker provision. As much as the RNC would like to portray Republicans as coming to consensus on this issue, this isn't happening. At least not yet.

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