Today's Blogs

Immigration Consternation

Bloggers are buzzing about Bush’s immigration speech and also mourning the death of renowned and beloved poet Stanley Kunitz. 

Immigration consternation: In a televised address Monday night, President Bush tackled the sticky topic of immigration, proposing beefed-up border security by deploying National Guard units while laying out plans that would enable illegal immigrants who are here to acquire citizenship. In his speech, he stayed true to the attitude toward immigration he has held since his time in Texas, despite pressure from hard-line elements in his party.

The president’s centrist tack alienated much of his core constituency. “As we expected, what was said was long on blather and emotion and amazingly short on actual solutions,” Misha at the conservative Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler fumed. “Take your ‘virtual’ fence and your hi-tech vaporware coupled with your amnesty plan and shove them up your ass, Jorge.” Stalwart Bush supporter John Hinderaker at Power Line thought the president tanked. “[A]s soon as he started talking about guest worker programs and the impossibility of deporting 11 million illegals, it was all over. President Bush keeps trying to find the middle ground, on this and many other issues. But sometimes, there isn’t a viable middle ground,” he writes.

Dan, the “tremendous Bush supporter” behind Riehl World View, was dismayed by the speech: “Sure to be a tremendous disappointment to the majority of center right and conservative Americans, they could easily come to see themselves as leaderless on domestic issues for the next two years. And perhaps they are.” Live-blogging from the Fox News green room, conservative maven Michelle Malkin found the speech tired. “[E]mpty platitude after platitude was laid on thick,” she writes.

Other righties liked Bush’s speech. Andrew Sullivan was heartened by Bush’s centrism. “The president’s insistence on both goals - border security and gradual legalization of millions of illegal immigrants already here - makes sense to me. His eschewal of inflammatory rhetoric was welcome. His enthusiasm for immigration and his empathy with immigrants are genuine, it seems to me. The rhetoric wasn’t inspiring, but it wasn’t pedestrian either.” John Podhoretz at the National Review Online’s The Corner points to a poll that should be welcomed by the administration.

At Dartblog, conservative Dartmouth sophomore Joe Malchow is gladdened that Bush emphasized the importance of immigrants learning English. “[T]here was a time when learning English was universally thought to be just as fundamental to immigrating to the United States as actually moving one’s physical self within her borders,” he writes.

Lefties are pleased the president stuck to his centrist guns. Liberal Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly’s Political Animalfound himself agreeing with Bush. “Bush’s position on immigration seems surprisingly reasonable to me. But it’s still kind of fun watching him bob and weave and choose his words with such delicate care in order to avoid the ‘first fully televised political suicide in history,’ courtesy of the wingnut base he’s spent his life pandering to,” he writes.

Liberal Glen Greenwald summarized reaction to the speech at Unclaimed Territory: “It was a mushy, uninspired speech with little that was new, so it wasn’t going to win the president any converts. But for the same reason, it had the effect of exacerbating the Right’s growing dissatisfaction with Bush by getting their hopes up, only to then rub their noses in the fact that the president is never going to embrace their views on immigration, which they have decided is now The Paramount Issue,” he writes.

Slates Mickey Kaus remains unimpressed, viewing the speech as “[a]n uninspired attempt to buy off immigration conservatives with a temporary National Guard deployment and talk of ‘technologically advanced’ border security. If conservatives are impressed by this, they’re the cheapest dates around. This means you, Bill O’Reilly!”

Read more about Bush’s immigration speech.

Death of a poet: Award-winning poet Stanley Kunitz passed away Sunday. Over the course of his long and accomplished career, he won a Pulitzer and a National Book Award and twice was the U.S. poet laureate. Kunitz, who was 100, continued writing into his 90s and saw his last book, The Wild Braid, published last year.

“Kunitz leaves behind a long legacy, which includes an influential role in establishing Provincetown as a haven for writers,” writes Mark Sarvas, at his literary blog The Elegant Variation, before reprinting a short Kunitz poem that “suggests that even when you live to 100, there’s still not enough damn time.”

“Stanley Kunitz woke up as a centenarian before dying today at 100,” writes Annie of AmbivaBlog, playing on his quote, “I don’t wake up as a nonagenarian. I wake up as a poet.”

“Kunitz was one of my all time favorites and actually turned me toward the contemporary poetry of the last century. He had gathered more honors and famous friends then can be mentioned, and was writing and publishing poetry well into his golden years. It’s a painful loss, but the words go on,” mournsDarkNexus.

Read more about the legacy of Stanley Kunitz. Slate poetry editor Robert Pinsky weighs in on Kunitz here.