Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Back in 1996, the Clinton Administration was rocked somewhat by the very public resignations of two high-ranking officials at the Department of Health and Human Services who were opposed to Clinton's signing of the welfare reform bill.

Even though I disagreed with their policy views, I admired their willingness to speak up and take a stand on a matter that obviously meant a lot to them, especially in light of the fact that their resignation mattered not the least bit to Clinton as he went ahead and did what he wanted to do.

Contrast that with the lack of any rumblings of disagreement from anybody within the Bush Administration about Bush's endorsement of the amnesty bill now being debated by Congress. No resignations, no anonymous criticisms, nothing.

And I can't understand why. It's not as if immigration reform is some penny-ante issue that nobody cares about. It's not an issue that requires three advanced degrees to understand.

And given how few Americans support these proposals, what is the likelihood that every single person working in the Bush Administration happens to be part of the 26% of America who supports this proposal?

I'll go out on a limb and say none. There have to be people working in the Bush Administration who are opposed to this, perhaps very much so, and yet have decided to keep their mouths shut and the paychecks coming.

It reminds me a bit of the way the entire Clinton Administration stood by him during the Monica Lewsinsky matter. No resignations over his abusing his position by having sex with an intern. No resignations over his lying to a grand jury. No resignations over his using the White House to attack and smear his opponents.

While the two situations are a bit different, they are the same in one important regard: by not complaining, by not standing up to disagree, one implicitly endorses the actions and policies of the President.

In their defense, a fair number of Clinton's staff thought he hadn't done anything wrong and the rest probably figured that Clinton was being hounded by his enemies in a manner that was far worse than whatever 'crime' he may have committed.

But those working in the Bush Administration who oppose this immigration proposal have no such excuse. This, as was the case with the 1996 welfare reform bill, is a disagreement of substance.

And those opposed to it who are keeping the mouths shut ought to be ashamed of themselves.