Lindsey Graham, on Americans' Relationship With Government: 'You have the right to come back for more'


Comprehensive immigration reform is being led by the Senate's Top Men. ||| AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool

The Ryan Lizza-authored New Yorker article about immigration reform that I referenced last night in a post about John McCain's zig-zagging immigration politics contained several paragraphs that illustrate the unseemliness of Washington micromanaging and dealmaking. Two of my favorites:

An equally delicate set of negotiations, by Senators Bennet, Rubio, Dianne Feinstein, of California, and Orrin Hatch, of Utah, brought the agriculture industry on board. "In Arizona, we want workers to pick lettuce three months a year," McCain said. "In the Southeast, where they process chickens, they want 'em twelve months a year. In the Northeast, because of dairy, for some reason—I guess it's .001 per cent of the economy—but, still, the dairy farmers need a certain kind of program as well. So you've got a disparate agricultural-jobs issue. […]

As for high tech, several staffers involved with the bill started to notice that every time the Gang satisfied the industry its lobbyists returned with new demands. "They keep coming back for more," [Sen. Lindsey] Graham told me. But he didn't mean it in a bad way. "This is America I don't know how you say that in Latin. That should be on some building somewhere: You have the right to come back for more when you don't get what you want. The country where you can ask for almost anything!"

It's an old insight, but worth remembering in the context of the immigration debate: The more the federal government controls, regulates, and decides which micro-sub-category of human activity is legal or illegal, the more that succeeding in America will depend on one's ability to "come back for more" from Washington, D.C. No wonder the District of Columbia is a boomtown these days.