Roger L. Simon

Thompson, bipartisanship, immigration and the war

The hugely well-received post by Fred Thompson on PJM has received a few caveats, both in the comments and elsewhere, regarding Fred’s support for bipartisanship. Most of this seems to be a reflection of understandable frustration with the immigration legislation currently going through Congress, which has supporters on both sides of the aisle (Kennedy, McCain, etc.).

Although I have nowhere near enough time to read the voluminous legislation itself, my view on the subject tracks pretty well with that expressed by Rudy Giuliani the other day:

“I think the focus here has to be on the security of the United States. We should do nothing to compromise the security of the United States and we clearly need more security now after September 11th. If we need to be reminded of it, think of what happened in New Jersey at Fort Dix. Six who were apparently going to attack our troops at Fort Dix – three of them were illegal. … We need to know everybody who’s in the United States. That’s almost a basic of proper security. We need to know who’s in the United States from foreign countries. A number of other countries do this. We should do it.

“So how do you get there? You need a tamper proof ID card, which anyone who comes in here from a foreign country has to have. It should contain identification criteria that is as tamper proof as possible. Second, you have to have a database in which all these names are entered so that they can be found easily and we can make the determination of who’s good, who’s average, and who’s bad. … And finally we need to have a border patrol that is capable of dealing with it. If you have that, if you have the tamper proof ID card and the database and you’ve achieved the objective of we know who’s in the United States, then I think this idea of working things out between the Democrats and the Republicans and each side has to make some compromises in order to get there, then I can see a lot of flexibility there to get that accomplished. But if you don’t accomplish, if you go through all of this and you don’t accomplish a tamper proof ID card, a database in which we know everybody that is here, then you really haven’t achieved making this country more secure …”

In other words, it’s about security. Which brings me back to the issue of bipartisanship. It doesn’t take Fort Dix to remind us we are in a war against a world view that is radically different from ours. The adherents of that world view seem to be growing in number. We need everyone our side, most everyone anyway, to defeat them. You don’t win a war with half your troops. That means some degree of bipartisanship, like it or not. I think that’s what Thompson was driving at when he advocated talking across party lines in an evenly divided society. I can’t see that we have any choice.