Is it just possible that Bush hasn’t lost hope of pushing comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate, and has unleashed Chertoff to put pressure on the employers of cheap illegal-immigrant labor so that they will in turn put pressure on their tame Republican Senators?
If that’s the play, I doubt it will work.
In ordinary circumstances the rich, smart greedheads that make up the money half of the Republican coalition can outmaneuver the not-so-rich, not-so smart haters that make up the voting half, because the greedheads know the score and the haters are almost infinitely bamboozleable.
But when the haters are mobilized, as they are in this case, defying them is too dangerous. In politics, money is useful, but votes are essential.