Freedom Folks

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Words Matter

Source: Rasmussen

In any debate words and definitions matter. Have you wondered why Washington seems to think the American people want and desire comprehensive immigration reform?

Rasmussen has an interesting take...
Early in the year, Beltway pundits assumed that “comprehensive” immigration reform would be popular with voters and that the enforcement-first approach would be problematic for the GOP. However, voters have been notably cool towards any approach that focuses on legalizing undocumented workers before enforcing the borders.

At Rasmussen Reports, we gave survey respondents a choice between two immigration bills. "One would improve control of the borders but do nothing about the status of working immigrants who are here illegally. The other would legalize the status of working immigrants who are here illegally but would do nothing to improve control of the border." By a 63% to 19% margin, voters prefer the bill that controls the borders but does nothing about the status of illegal aliens.

One of the more interesting questions raised by this turn of events is how did the nation’s political class so completely misread the issue? One answer may be found in the term “comprehensive reform.” Comprehensive is a great word from a rhetorical point of view and suggests than any competing proposal only addresses part of the problem. “Comprehensive” reform also polls well—a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 52% of voters preferred “comprehensive” solutions over reforms that focused only on controlling the border. Just 30% preferred the alternative. In that context, it makes sense for the President to sell his plan as comprehensive reform.

However, the phrase comprehensive reform probably doesn’t mean the same thing to voters that in means in Congress and the White House. In official Washington, “comprehensive” reform means addressing the issue of undocumented workers and including a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Among the general public, circumstantial evidence suggests that many poll respondents may have interpreted the word “comprehensive” to mean taking additional steps to reducing illegal immigration in addition to securing the border. Many who say they prefer “comprehensive” solutions respond to other questions in ways that clearly reflect enforcement-first or enforcement-only approaches to reform.
In Washington comprehensive = amnesty

In America comprehensive = enforcement


Read the whole thing, there's a lot of interesting information buried in the report, such as how much the enforcement first folks hate immigrants (not!).

H/T Hot Air

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