Cross posted from The Virtuous Republic
I usually read the Strata Sphere on a regular basis. On most issues, I tend to agree with him. But, on the recent immigration debate, I noted that he took, what I would deem, an “unconservative” stance. He was decidedly for the recent bill and had a few choice words to describe those who opposed it.
Once again, I generally like the Strata Sphere and I realize that no two people will ever agree on everything all the time. That being said, the Strata Sphere’s stance on the immigration debate is exactly what is wrong with policies of George Bush and the GOP in the Senate.
Here is how the Strata Sphere views (I’m going to address some of his points, from most newest to oldest) the immigration debate and how he criticized those opposed to “comprehensive reform”:
1. GOP As Unpopular as the Amnesty Bill. The Strata Sphere argues that low approval ratings for the GOP, cited at 30%, are in part caused by its opposition to the recently defeated amnesty (and yes, forgiving criminal acts, is amnesty) bill. Yet if we look at the overall approval rating of Congress, it sits at 24%, according to Gallup. So as a whole, is the GOP any more unpopular than Congress itself?
My take is that those who vote Republican, aren’t upset with the failure to pass this grand immigration bill, Republicans are upset that members of the GOP don’t act or vote like Republicans. The fact that Republican Senators had to be overwhelmed by citizen opposition before they were dragged kicking and screaming to vote against cloture, is part of the problem. Republicans are more worried about making compromises! with th e far left than actually trying to achieve victories for conservative policies when possible.
Republicans didnt’ lose the last election because they were implementing their “redneck, NASCAR, nativist” policies, they lost because they failed to act, they failed to be Republicans. They spent like drunken sailors. They refused to stand up to the Democrats on appointments to the judicial branch (remember the nuclear option that the Republicans wouldn’t excercise?). And they proposed amnesty for people who have broken our laws.
On the important issues, if Republicans are going to act like Democrats, why not buy the real thing? And that is exactly what people are doing. That is the heart of the problem. Republicans have compromised their principles on our party’s shared core values.
Further down in the same post, I’m assuming that the Strata Sphere is suggesting that the GOP is alienating Hispanic voters by “nativist” posturing on the immigration issue. He cites recent polls showing a drop in Hispanic support for Republicans. The problem is a drop in support from Hispanics, it is a drop in support from everyone, including white Americans.
I have several issues with the Strata Sphere’s take on the impact of the opposition to comprehensive reform on Hispanic voters. First, what is the impact of losing some Hispanic votes over immigration? Here is one take on it that says losing votes from white voters is more important in terms of numbers:
Historically, the Hispanic vote moves up and down along with the white vote, just skewed about 20 points or so towards the Democrats. Latinos are not the “swing voters” of media legend. They are more accurately “flow” voters who go with t! he gener al flow.
So, relative to the bellwether white vote, the GOP did merely one percentage point worse among Hispanics versus the last midterm and four percentage points worse than in the last Presidential election.
Let’s assume (generously) that four percentage points represents the drop in the GOP’s Latino vote caused by House Republicans taking a (fairly) tough line on illegal immigration. What was the total cost to the GOP?
Well, a four percent decline times six percent of the electorate is 0.24 percent, or, say, a quarter of a percentage point.
If the GOP lost roughly five percentage points from 2002 and 2004 to 2006, then the Latino decline accounted for roughly one-twentieth of it.
If the GOP picked up merely one percentage point among whites due to immigration, that would have three times the size of this loss among Hispanics.
It is the numbers, not the percentages that matter. Hispanics can’t be ignored, but as another poll suggested, “While Republicans have suffered a great loss in their standing with this new important electorate, Democrats have made only modest gains and though well-liked are not well defined.”
It isn’t that Republicans have lost Hispanic votes because of the immigration issue, it is because the Republicans failed to govern effectively over the last 8 years.
Secondly, I have great trouble with the idea that conservatives and Republicans need to compromise their principles to attract Hispanics. Compromising one’s core values, whether on a personal or national level never results in anything good.
It is the very fact that the Republicans in Congress and George Bush as President have compromised Republican values, to make nice with the left, to “build a legacy”, that we see their numbers free falling.
2. Remember When All We Had To Do Was Enforce The Laws? First the Strata Sphere argues that the cry “enforce the current laws” was simplistic. Maybe so or maybe not. But I ask, was the fence built that we were promised in 2006 under the Secure Fence Act? Simply put, you could deter some illegal immigration simply by implementing this law.
Or take a look at deportable aliens found, as reported by the Office of Immigration Statistics on page 91. The Clinton administration applied the law in a heartier fashion did Bush. In other words, Bush could at least enforce immigration laws as well as Clinton did.
Or take a look at work place enforcement. In 1999, 2,800 illegal workers were arrested. Under Bush in 2003, only 445 arrests were made. Imagine if the resources were mustered to actually seriously enforce work place labor laws. We don’t need new laws, we need the will to enforce them.
President Eisenhower had the will. It isn’t that we need new laws, it is that we need po! litician s who believe in America. Who believe are borders should be guarded. Enforce the laws isn’t “PR”. It is a sad reality that our current politicians don’t believe in America enough to stop the flow of foreigners onto our soil.
3. Guess We Need To Dump Some More Hypochondriacs! In this post, AJ argues that those conservatives who opposed this 700 plus page amnesty bill are “fringe” and the “Do Nothing Now! crowd.”
This poll shows that 56% of Americans opposed the amnesty bill. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans viewed this bill unfavorably.
As to the “Do Nothing Crowd” label, he might be right. That is the problem with Republicans, they didn’t govern. They didn’t enact their vision of how things should be. Instead of securing the border. Instead of cracking down on the hiring of illegals, the Republican leadership supported a bill, that fundamentally went against the core beliefs of the Republican Party itself.
Now if you want to label being opposed to a 700 page bill that among other things, allows sex offenders permanent status, I support doing nothing rather than implementing a horribly written bill.
4. Will The GOP Honor Representative Government? His first argument is that it is possible to do a background check in 24 hours. Physically, I’m sure it is. But do you want to gamble and give someone permanent status due to a 24 hour limit? Why 24 hours? It is setting the system up to fail. Why not one week? Why not a month, just to be sure? I don’t have much of argument about his facts on this particular argument, but why the rush? It would have been a simple concession to the bill’s opponents to have stricken the 24 hour or you get permanent residence free clause.
Now where I do have a problem with AJ, is here:
One of the worst myths from the far right is Mexico is a criminal, socialistic, disease ridden place which is trying take over this country. Mexico has its problems, but few countried on this planet have our standard of living. They are all lesser places to some degree. So using that as some reason to insult a people and a culture is the purist of the ugly American stereotypes and is why people hesitate our efforts to protect ourselves internationally. But! even he re at home that kind of biased rhetoric does damage. The irony of the far right’s arguments can be seen in the fact those people who left Mexico (and other places south), who left their families behind and wandered at great personal risk into a foreign land, did so because they too saw how much better America was. And they stayed and brought their family here and raised them because they wanted to share in the American dream. They were not bringing disease and crime, they were fleeing it.
This is the same soft, politically correct thinking that we get from the left. Boiled down, you aren’t allowed to say anything negative about culture of others. One can bury one’s head in the sand, one can browbeat others, calling them hateful, but what if what is being said is true. First is Mexico a third world country? Yes. Does it have high levels of diseases? Yes, for instance, TB is among them. Crime and corruption? Look at this story about corruption in the police force or this story about the drug cartels.
According AJ, apparently, Americans should feel sorry for them and anyway, only the hard working ones come here anyway. The fact is, we are importing poorly educated people, we are importing poverty and we are importing criminals.
It isn’t hateful to call Mexico a third world nation. It isn’t hateful not to want to import the corruption, crime, poverty, and low education levels from the third world. Do I feel sorry for Mexico? Sure. Do I feel sorry enough for them to bring their problems here? No. That isn’t’ racist, it is simple common sense.
In the nineteenth century, we attracted immigrants that had similar values and similar skill levels, at the very least into our nation. Sure there were cries against Germans, Irish, Italians, but their skill levels matched the needs of our nation, from raw labor to skilled labor, at the time. Right now, we have a 21st century nation, importing people with 19th century skills and education levels. Does that make any sense at all?
Finally, AJ fails to address the underlying moral problem with illegal labor. We don’t import these illegals because they work hard, but because they work cheap. The exploitation of these aliens is a moral problem. Feeling sorry for them, but exploiting them at the same time to save a buck so that your lawn is green, is in my book not only hateful, but sinful. Using these people for their cheap labor is corrosive to our national moral character.
Finally, if we are talking about representative government in terms of this bill, I need to ask, was negotiating this bill behind closed doors democratic? Was putting 1639 before the Senate before the bill was printed democratic? Was the clay pigeon maneuver democratic? No, it wasn’t. On the other hand, was the fact that millions of people called, faxed, wrote, and emailed their representatives a sign of democracy at work? Yes.
Once again, before I go one, I tend to agree with the Strata Sphere on 90% of what he writes on, but ! on this issue, we diverge. What is my point then? The Strata Sphere is using the same arguments that our elites did, the same arguments that the Times or the WSJ did, the same arguments that the Democrats made, the same arguments that the country club Republicans did.
If you opposed this bill you are racist, far right, a minority, and hateful. I think I have shown that that is untrue. Pointing out that Mexican immigrants are poorly educated and that Mexican illegal immigrants fill our jails is factually correct. Sometimes facts are unpleasant, but it doesn’t change their truthfullness.
We who opposed it offer nothing in it place. That is often the argument made against our side. We have a border fence law that hasn’t been enacted. Enforce it. I showed how George Bush hasn’t enforced laws against illegal laborers. Enforce those laws. We don’t need more laws, we need the will to do something about enforcement. The American people disliked this Amnesty bill because it was all about the amnesty, not about the enforcement.
That the Republicans are politically killing themselves by allowing the “right wing” to dictate immigration policy. As I pointed out, you do not compromise core principles, moral principles to gain votes. Democrats might do that, but conservatives shouldn’t. Republicans have failed in the polls because they lack the will the enact their core beliefs. They fail to govern. When Republicans act like Democrats they fail. Ask Mike DeWine about that.
What is the answer? Border enforcement first. Fix the source of the problem. Show Americans that the government is serious and that it is competent. Second, stop the employment of illegal aliens. Third, set up a temporary/seasonal worker program for agriculture only. (Manufacturing jobs are not seasonal ! and shou ld not be included). See what effect this has on the number of illegal immigrants in this nation. Then and only then do we consider the status of those remaining illegal immigrants.
Unfortunately, this solution isn’t a quick fix. It would require fortitude. It would require sacrifice. It would dent profits. And it would produce real and lasting results. And it can’t be rolled up into a feel good comprehensive package (700 pages, pushed by Ted Kennedy!). The party that decides to govern will lay claim to this path. And to govern, it will require that we put America’s needs first and above the needs of a third world Mexico.
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Read what others have written on the immigration issue:
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