Monday, May 15, 2006

This won't do

*** UPDATED ***
Two words:

This kind of argument-by-anecdote -- the Lenny Skutnik mode of presidential rhetoric -- is simply unacceptable on so vital an issue:
I know many of you listening tonight have a parent or a grandparent who came here from another country with dreams of a better life. ... On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded Marine named Guadalupe Denogean. Master Gunnery Sgt. Denogean came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States Marine Corps as soon as he was able.
During the liberation of Iraq, Master Gunnery Sgt. Denogean was seriously injured. When asked if he had any requests, he made two – a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him … and the chance to become an American citizen. And when this brave Marine raised his right hand, and swore an oath to become a citizen of the country he had defended for more than 26 years, I was honored to stand at his side.
We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow Americans.
Translation: If you don't want to swallow 12 million illegals, then you are not patriotic, you hate Marine heroes, and you're disrespecting Grandma, too.

Hats off to Gunny
Denogean -- and to any other Marine veteran -- but this debate is not about farm workers who came to America illegally as children in ... what, 1970? This is about the 12 million illegals who have crossed the border since the amnesty of 1986. It's about the 500,000 illlegals who come every year ... 40,000 a month ... 10,000 a week.

I hated Bill Clinton for constantly doing this anecdotal crap -- "... Sue Grundyberger's 12-year-old son was killed with an illegal assault weapon ..." -- and it would be intellectually dishonest for me to accept such bogus rhetoric just because it's being uttered by a Republican.

Surprisingly, the normally hard-headed Don Surber approves the warm-and-fuzzy mode of discourse:
The president made his point. No amnesty? Tell that to Gunny Denogean.

The president did well. If the Senate and the House leaders think big instead of small, they will secure the borders in a very mature manner. If they listen to the bloggers, the bill and Republican hopes in 2006 are dead.
I rarely disagree with Surber. The problem with using Gunny Denogean to illustrate Bush's point is that Denogean, by my reckoning, must be about 44. If he came to the U.S. as a child -- Bush did not say "teenager" -- that could have been no later than 1975. And Reagan amnestied all illegals in 1986, by which time Denogean had been in the Corps for six years.

Which is to say, the Denogean anecdote is a non sequitur. It has no relevance whatsoever to the illegal immigration situation in 2006. As argument, the "patriotic Marine" red herring is akin to the president's favorite "decent, hardworking" line. The work ethic and "decency" of any individual immigrant, or of immigrants in general, is moot when considering the question of whether they are here legally.

The United States has laws governing immigration and naturalization. Illegal aliens are here in violation of those laws. If we do not enforce the law, we encourage future lawbreakers, and foster a general disrespect for all our laws.

Passing new laws -- e.g., "guest worker" programs -- will not solve this problem, because those who do not respect our current law will have no reason to respect future laws, since we have shown them that we are not serious about enforcing the law.

And as to Mr. Surber's election predictions ... well, I understand that "Mark Hunt" is spelled "Mike Callaghan" in West Virginia!

* * * * * *

By the way, if one anecdote can prove a general point about all illegal immigrants, then why not Douglas Herrera Castellanos?

* * * * * *

Sen. George Allen
was just on "Hannity & Colmes" demonstrating why he's the GOP front-runner for 2008: "The president set up a straw man ...." Exactly so.

* * * * * *
Iowa Voice joins the thumbs-down chorus:
The President is really out of touch on this issue, and since he's not facing re-election, he thinks it's ok to sell the American people down the river over this. But he has to remember, there are 435 members of the House of Representatives that ARE up for re-election, along with a third of the Senate. They go along with the President on this, they can kiss their re-election efforts good-bye. ...

Mr. President, you think 30% approval is bad? Try the mid-twenties....or even lower. It's going to be a long two years for you after November, and I'm afraid you won't have a lot of conservatives watching your back any longer.

You can count me as one of them.
Likewise, Sandbox:
Call me uninspired. While I am happy about giving the border patrol assistance with National Guard troops, the speech was much too "comprehensive" for me. Too much of the same ole' stuff in this speech.
This is undoubtedly the worst reaction the Bush White House has gotten from conservatives since the Harriet Miers nomination. At least the Right was somewhat divided on the Dubai Ports deal. This speech, so far as I can tell, is being greeted with nearly universal scorn.

As previously stated, the White House speech-writing staff should be deported. ...

Right-Wing Howler -- a retired military officer whose parents immigrated here from Brazil — offers a roundup.

Dan Riehl: "I want border security. What Bush offered won't come close to providing that. It is an empty gesture which will still disappear within a year leaving us right where we are and with millions more illegals coming in in the future."

Round-up at Hot Air. Another round-up at Wizbang.

Got to say howdy to the home folks: Christy Wilson of Alabama Watch.

* * * * * *

Flopping Aces asks an important question: "I’m curious….where were these folks when Reagan granted Amnesty? Did they talk about impeachment?"

This is important, because the Reagan amnesty is cited in similarly by a lot of conservatives who, alas, have not thought things through:

1. 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.)

2. The conditions in 2006 are different precisely because of the 1986 amnesty. I keep referring you guys to Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation, which dismantles all of this confusion. As Brimelow explains, the 1986 amnesty guaranteed a continued influx of illegals because they might hope to be covered by some future amnesty. Every time Bush starts talking about another legalization, the Border Patrol reports a surge of incoming illegals.

3. An unprecendented act cannot be opposed on the basis of its known consequences. Anyone who opposed the amnesty in 1986 could only argue about what negative things might happen as a result, and supporters were free to say that these were phantoms and bogeymen. But now that we see what did happen as a result of the 1986 amnesty, we can safely predict what would happen if something similar were done now.

Again, I would urge people who want to get their minds clear on these issues to get their hands on Alien Nation, a tough-minded book by an author -- an immigrant, no less -- who doesn't go for sentimental gush.

Brimelow also dismantles the silly "nation of immigrants" non sequitur. OK, fine, your great-great grandmother came over from Sicily in 1906. Therefore ... what? Are you somehow betraying your ancestor (who arrived in a predominantly country of maybe 100 million people) if, in the 21st century, you think we ought to slow the rate of immigration before the U.S. population hits 400 million?

And your ancestor who arrived via Ellis Island in 1906 came here legally, correct? Do you realize that (a) every Ellis Island immigrant was required to meet certain standards, e.g. being free of contagious diseases; (b) thousands were turned back from Ellis Island; and (c) because current U.S. immigration laws discriminate against Europeans, if your ancestor were alive in Sicily today, she wouldn't be able to get into America legally?

Brimelow explains in his book how this "nation of immigrants" argument, like so much else in the immigration debate, represents a substitution of myth and emotion for fact and reason. The media and academia have hammered Americans with the same soft-minded slogans for so long, it's as most people lost the capacity to think for themselves.

Too many Americans are content to be completely ignorant of the history of U.S. immigration policy, so long as they never have to face the accusation of being "mean-spirited," racist, xenophobic, etc. But the immigration argument is not -- repeat NOT -- a sort of Compassion Derby, in which we compete to show how sensitive we are to immigrants. (Immigrants can do just fine without your condescension and self-righteous pity, you know.) Rather, this is a debate over public policy, with serious consequences for generations to come, immigrant and native alike. We ought to stick to the facts, and avoid these little emotional "gotcha" games.

* * * * * *
While on the phone doing Alan Nathan's "Battle Line" show, I received an e-mail containing preview excerpts from President Bush's speech tonight.

The White House speech writers should be deported. This is not -- repeat, NOT -- the speech Americans wanted to hear:
“We are a Nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a Nation of immigrants ..."
My God in heaven! Is it possible that the White House is now hiring speechwriters who never read anything at all? This "nation of immigrants" cliche was a hoary deception back when Peter Brimelow so famously denounced it in Alien Nation.
“The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. ..."
Especially when you, Mr. President, do nothing about stopping them, do nothing to discourage them, and keep hinting that you're about to let them stay legally.
"[W]e must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. ..."
Translation: If you want to deport foreign lawbreakers, you aren't facing reality.

Brilliant mid-term campaign strategy, Karl: Tell the president to use the bully pulpit to insult the intelligence of the American people on prime-time TV!
“America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasoned and respectful tone. ... We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone’s fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain. ... We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.”
Translation: The American people are vicious bigots, who would violently attack innocent people if I didn't scold them like a second-grade school teacher telling kids to "play nice."

While promoting DONKEY CONS, I've spent the past six weeks doing talk radio all over the country. A couple of weeks ago, I spent four days traveling through Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, talking with ordinary folks from every walk of life. I believe I know what the mood of the people is. I believe I know what they want.

And I believe that the people who are advising President Bush on immigration are a bunch of arrogant fools who have nothing but contempt for the people who elected and re-elected Bush to the presidency. This insulting, pandering, senseless claptrap isn't going to fool anyone. It is a perfect formula for political disaster, and unless Republicans in Congress repudiate the president's position, they will be destroyed in November.


LaShawn Barber, who last week suggested Bush should be impeached for surrendering to the illegal invasion, also believes the speech insults the intelligence of the American people.

Of course, Michelle Malkin is furious at the "
platitudes, non sequiturs, and recycled rhetoric" of Team Bush's immigration song-and-dance.

Why such anger? Because the American people are not stupid. You can't talk down to them as if they were a bunch of kindergartners listening to a reading of "My Pet Goat." Republican voters -- a category distinct from the "random adults" sampled by pollsters -- have paid attention to the debate for years. They know what they know, and they believe what they believe, and what they believe can be summed up in three words:

Or, if you'd prefer three different words:

I am reminded once again of the late great Sonny Bono who, when asked to debate illegal immigration, replied: "What's to debate? It's illegal." Why was that so easy for Sonny to understand, but so unfathomable to the Ivy League geniuses who are writing Bush's speeches?

As noted here a month ago, Ted Kennedy is the man most responsible for today's immigration disaster. He was the architect of wrong-headed and dishonest 1965 Act, and continues to be the loudest Democratic voice in the immigration debate, much to the annoyance of Bryanna Stevens.

It's been five weeks since I proposed my own "immigration compromise," and they still haven't deported Arlen Specter ...

Dr. Flap sez:
How do you spell WINDOW DRESSING? Is President Bush clueless on illegal aliens and illegal immigration? ...


Liveblogging at Stop the ACLU, where they're getting drunker than a barrel full of monkeys (and my old lady, she don't care). Also: Ed Driscoll, Gateway Pundit...

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