St. John is muzzled because of the campaign, relegated to looking nervous and nodding condescendingly when voters complain to him about the craptacular congressional immigration efforts for which he’s materially responsible. So it falls to tools like this and Lindsey Graham to lob grenades at the base and offer sub-moronic procedural justifications for why the bill should be passed. It’s no different than if we said, “Why don’t we hook up with the nutroots and get Lott and Graham impeached, just to see if we have the balls to do it? Just to prove that our democracy still works? After all, are we men or mice?

Which, come to think of it, isn’t a bad idea:

Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

Question: What kind of political instinct would identify the one spot on the media spectrum controlled by his constituents as a “problem” that needs to be dealt with? Answer: The same kind of political instinct that believes this bill is going to guarantee his party millions of Hispanic votes for decades to come. His comment here is the logical conclusion of the grand betrayal that this bill and the secretive maneuvering behind it represents — not just ignoring the wishes of the base, not just expressing hostility towards it and/or impugning its motives and integrity (Lott also falsely claims that critics “don’t even know what’s in the bill”), but actually moving against it by threatening to neuter its media mouthpiece. As such, I may have to revisit what I said yesterday about righty bloggers being unlikely ever to organize to take down candidates. This simply can’t go on; it’s a major problem, one which we may, at last, “have to deal with.”

Krauthammer and David Frum each have new pieces out, their tone thick with exasperation, asking why, if everyone’s for border enforcement but not everyone’s for amnesty, we can’t simply deal with the border now and revisit the amnesty question later (in five years, preferable, says Frum). Bush has no answer. But he does have a hot new euphemism, fragrant and brimming with nuance, that he’s willing to try out:

Bush, at the prayer breakfast, said, “We must meet our moral obligation to treat newcomers with decency and show compassion to the vulnerable and exploited, because we’re called to answer both the demands of justice and the call for mercy.

“Most Americans agree on these principles,” the president said. “And now it’s time for our elected leaders in Congress to act.”

Nonsense. Most illegals aren’t newcomers; they’ve been crossing for decades, thanks to Congress’s sustained, steadfast commitment to ignoring Krauthammer’s and Frum’s question. Even the rhetorical puffery on this issue is dishonest, factually incorrect garbage.

I can’t leave off on such a depressing note, not on a Friday. Here. That’ll cheer you up.

Update: Okay, I’m done. GRAVEL IN ’08!