Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Next day, same issue

The overhwelming negative reaction to the president's immigration proposal joke continues today.

The Senate rejects enforcement-first and Michelle says, "Pick up the phone." The enforcement measure was proposed by Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. When I lived in Georgia, Isakson was considered kind of a moderate, country-club type from a posh suburban district, but I guess now that he's representing the whole state, he's become a stalwart. Way to go, Johnny!

David at Thunder Run says, "Thanks for Nothing":
I think the President has just screwed himself, the Republican Party's control of Congress and the American people with the plan he unveiled last night. ... Ken Mehlman be warned, not one dime of my money will go to the RNC and worse still my vote will not either as long as they support this plan that destroys America.
They're skeptical at Webloggin:
All in all it was a speech designed to placate the center; something the President has been good at in the past. Sadly I must report that I am not in the center on this issue because I just don’t believe the rhetoric will be backed up by enforcement.
A commenter at Riehl World View, Cassandra, asked:
I have a question for you, and Michelle Malkin, and all the other folks who want to hold a hard line on this issue.
Have you given up on representative government? Last time I checked (and I have been checking for at least ten years) no one else has had the guts to take on this issue. I have watched this President try to take on this, and Social Security, and a host of other issues.We do not live in a dictatorship. We live in a country with a 2 party system. That means if you want a snowball's chance in hell of seeing a bill pass, you have to do a little thing called COMPROMISE.
Dan Riehl has his own answer, but perhaps Cassandra would like to hear my thoughts:
  • First of all, "representative government" is exactly what President Bush seems to be ignoring. Having spent the past six weeks promoting DONKEY CONS on talk radio, I can assure you, Cassandra, that the American people overwhelmingly and emphatically reject any proposal that would allow illegal aliens to gain legal resident status, much less citizenship.
  • Second, the "compromise" idea on illegal aliens suggests that, if a burglar breaks into my house, and I prevent him from raping my wife, it's still a "compromise" to let him take my TV.
  • Third, the president's "druthers" are clear: Bush first proposed this "guest worker" plan in January 2004, out of the blue. It is obvious that he sincerely believes in it, so it is not a "compromise" with anybody.
  • Like most American conservatives, my political philosophy is largely libertarian. But libertarianism is an ideology that has always emphasized property rights and the rule of law, both of which principles are violated by toleration of illegal immigration.
  • I am, like all libertarians, a proponent of free trade. Many of my libertarian friends have erred on immigration by attempting to apply free trade ideas to this issue. The problem with this is simple: Human beings are not commodities. As Americans have learned the hard way what evil results from treating people as chattel, I suggest we avoid a repetition.
Speaking of "libertarian friends who have erred on immigration," the Wall Street Journal invokes Ronald Reagan's 1986 amnesty. But I explained the problem with that analogy last night:
The conditions in 1986 are not the conditions in 2006. One might by the same measure argue that another Republican president, Calvin Coolidge signed into law very tight immigration restrictions in 1924. Both Coolidge's restrictions and Reagan's amnesty might have been good policy at the time each acted; neither past act can dictate what must be done now. (By further extension: Just because Truman dropped the bomb on the Japanese in 1945 doesn't mean Dubya should do the same in Iraq tomorrow.)
The WSJ editorial prompts the otherwise stalwart Wlady Pleszczynski to go all gooey, and to denounce the president's critics, whom he accuses of "shutting off debate, burying their heads in the desert sand instead of squarely facing our long, complicated history with labor streaming up from the south in response to our own economic demands and enriching our nation' economy as a result."

I'm sorry, Mr. Pleszczynsi, but this is not about economics, it is about politics and, as I said, the American people have made up their minds: 12 million illegals is too many, especially when it is considered that we've been admitting roughly 800,000 legal immigrants per year since 1993. Arguments among economic and intellectual elites on this issue are moot. The ordinary working people of America — both of my brothers are truck drivers in Georgia — have made up their minds, and further attempts at discussion will only make them angry. And I consider it a distinct possibility that the ordinary people sometimes may be right, something that never seems to have occurred to the WSJ editorial board.

The common-sense, property-rights perspective of the issue is elucidated by One Big Dog:
A man who breaks into your house would not be treated as a gues, so why treat a person who broke into our country as one?
OK, here's some assimilation advice: If you want to debate illegal immigration, a Waffle House in North Carolina is probably not the ideal venue. Especially not at 3 a.m. Saturday.

Also, don't try to argue with PoliPundit, who is sick of the president's "suicidal immigration 'reform' plan." (Hat tip: Stop the ACLU and Hot Air.)

At National Review Online, the editors are blunt:
If the purpose of the speech was to shore up the president’s standing with conservatives, it failed. This administration’s lack of credibility on immigration enforcement can’t be reversed by adding a few National Guard references to its tired rhetoric of unmanned aerial vehicles and more detention beds.
Does this mean that National Review will reinstate Peter Brimelow? The author of Alien Nation recently spoke at Vanderbilt University:
[O]pinion polls have consistently shown that the Americans are highly disturbed by the issue. There’s a reason why the President hasn’t been able to get his amnesty program through, although he’s been trying now for six years. That’s because when the Republican congressman go home, they find that their districts are fiercely opposed to it.
Exactly. Folks who spend their lives in Washington or New York, debating other college-educated professionals like themselves, have no idea the strong, visceral reactions which amnesty proposals provoke in the working class and middle class in the Red States. "Fiercely opposed" is probably an understatement.

The nation's elites clearly don't spend enough time listening to talk radio.

-- McCAIN

UPDATE:

Linked by VDare, but I'm not sure exactly what Patrick Cleburne (great name, by the way) means:

The reason Bush is so adamant on this policy is the same reason that Immigration reform was so systematically eradicated from National Review almost ten years ago. Think about it.
The links are, among other things, to a Sam Francis column responding to David Frum's notorious "Unpatriotic Conservatives" article, and to a column in which Peter Brimelow comments on the remarkable 2000 correspondence between Jared Taylor and Wm. F. Buckley Jr.

While perhaps relevant to the shifting perspective at National Review, I don't know what any of this says about President Bush's stubborn insistence on a guest-worker program. It is clear to me that Bush seriously and sincerely believes in this approach. I suspect that his devotion to this plan is so strong that critics are now persona non grata at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The argument now boils down to straightforward political warfare -- it's up to Congress, and ultimately to the people -- and one might observe that the National Review crowd is by no means an unbreakable phalanx behind the "comprehensive" approach. One detects a certain desperation among amnesty advocates — Steve Sailer noted Alexander McClure's bizarre "liar" rant — while many who would ordinarly be considered "neocons" by most VDare regulars are already in the Tancredo/Simcox camp.

Should the amnesty crowd be dealt a shattering defeat on this issue, either in Congress or at the ballot box in November, the result would severely diminish the prestige of the GOP wing of the open-borders lobby, and deal a huge blow to the "propositional nation" ideologues. Such an outcome would be a signal victory for Sam's "Middle American Radicals."

Think about that.

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