The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic -- they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."
Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives? It is odd, but it is of a piece with, or a variation on, the "Too bad" governing style.
I don't recall Ms. Noonan's being upset when opponents of the war in Iraq were called "unpatriotic". Or when opponents to Gitmo were called unpatriotic. Or opponents to torture were called unpatriotic. Or opponents to the dismissal of the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" or the end of habeas corpus were called unpatriotic.
No, that was ok because they were, after all, just Liberals.
But calling opponents to the immigration bill unpatriotic is crossing the line.
So, now we know. There are only two things that can make a Conservative get angry at a Conservative President: raising taxes and calling other bona fide Conservatives unpatriotic. Trashing the Constitution is, however, the constitutional right of a Conservative President.