Did I say Kennedy’s amnesty bill? I meant John McCain’s.

Senators and lobbyists are putting the final touches on a comprehensive immigration-reform bill that includes an easier citizenship path for illegal aliens and weaker enforcement provisions than were in the highly criticized legislation that the Senate approved last year…

Mr. Kennedy drafted this year’s bill with help from Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and outside lobbyists. Mr. McCain and the outside groups share Mr. Kennedy’s support for increased immigration and leniency for illegals already in the country…

The one Republican who all agree has been part of the negotiations from the start is Mr. McCain, who is running for his party’s presidential nomination. This worries Republicans who say that Mr. McCain is the last Republican they want representing their interests in negotiations with Mr. Kennedy over immigration legislation.

Yeah, apparently the entire GOP leadership’s been frozen out of the drafting — except McCain, who for some reason unfathomable to me wants to alienate the base more by putting his name on this abortion. Why would he do that? Sure, Giuliani’s weak on immigration too, but that’s precisely why St. John should find religion on this issue and tack to the right. It’d earn him points with red-meat righties who can’t stand his campaign finance betrayal and Sullivanesque softness on torture.

The only thing I can figure is that he’s confident Giuliani will implode eventually over social issues so he’s positioning himself for the general election. If so, I think he underestimates his own unpopularity within the party. Giuliani’s as much of a RINO as McCain is (on some issues, like abortion, considerably more so), but (a) he scores way higher on gut appeal thanks to his heroism on 9/11 and McCain’s chumminess with the dreaded MSM; (b) even though they both have centrist convictions, McCain’s the one who’s had to vote those convictions and let us down time (campaign finance) after time (waterboarding) after time (amnesty), leaving him with a stain of disappointment that Rudy, fair or not, doesn’t share; and (c) elephants never forget, and I suspect they won’t forget his attacks on the religious right in the 2000 primary no matter how much he tries to make nice with them now. Which is not to say they bear a grudge, but merely to say that they may find his newfound appreciation for evangelical Christianity a tad insincere.

But I digress.

We were talking about the amnesty bill. Once again, the Democrats have been given a choice between behaving like the “party of the working man” that they claim they are and the party of “the undocumented” that they actually are. And once again, they’ve chosen poorly:

Among the most active participants have been the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both groups support giving current illegals a path to citizenship and increasing the flow of foreign workers into the country…

In particular, EWIC and the chamber have taken a leading role in drafting the section of the bill dealing with work-site enforcement, Senate staffers say. Lobbyists in both organizations have shuttled around Capitol Hill drafts of those provisions, which are supposed to impose sanctions on businesses that hire illegal aliens, according to internal e-mails obtained by The Washington Times.

“That’s putting the fox in charge of the henhouse,” one Senate lawyer said about the pro-business chamber’s involvement in drafting the punishment of employers.

One of those e-mails obtained by The Times invited Democratic immigration staffers to a briefing in early January with “key stakeholders” to discuss workplace-enforcement provisions. The invitation listed six such “stakeholders,” including the chamber and EWIC. The other groups attending the meeting, according to the e-mail, were the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Council of La Raza and the Service Employees International Union.

A vote on the bill’s expected as early as April. And just when we were starting to make progress, too.

Exit question, per the “reign of terror” that’s been unleashed by ICE agents actually doing their jobs: What about the children?