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Archive for the ‘Amnesty’ Category

Obama showing his great political acumen and sense of American anger at his health care proposal, proposes to legalize illegal aliens so that illegal aliens are not covered under the health care proposal.  “You lie,” is simply too kind of a way to describe this kind of treachery and boot-strapping of an even more unpopular proposal to his health plan.

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Bill Clinton was a polarizing figure, in spite of his popularity. For both friends and enemies, he was the true torch-bearer of the 60s and the Baby Boomers: idealistic, flabby, occasionally elitist, urban, self-indulgent, draft-dodging, and all the rest. His lifestyle fed into stereotypes held by Reagan Democrats and blue collar Americans about liberal elites, and his gun control measures and perceived hostility to religious people–not least in the Waco Massacre–did much to fuel an anti-government paranoia among conservatives during that time. In its more mainstream manifestation, this included measures like the Contract With America and the attempted alliance of paleoconservatives and certain libertarians in venues like Chronicles magazine and the John Randolph Club. The most extreme variant included the militia movement and the Timothy McVeigh bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Much of this feeling dissipated after 9/11 and the 2000 election. Many conservatives channeled their feelings of alienation and fear at Islamic terrorists. Bush’s perceived moral clarity was welcome, and a new kind of bellicose populism became prominent in the movement, even if the democracy-spreading stuff was dismissed as necessary window dressing. This turned out not to be so.

Bush, who was frequently called “more conservative than his father” behind closed doors in Republican circles in 2000, turned out to be quite a bit more idealistic and more liberal than his father. His foreign policy was less steeped in realism. His embrace of Hispanics, including illegal immigrants, as the future of the Republican Party did much to alienate social conservatives and Reagan Democrats, who became more concerned about mass immigration in recent years.

I believe Obama has the capacity to have the Clinton effect, uniting conservatives who have now lost the distraction of a non-conservative president leading us into hopeless backwaters like “spreading democracy in the Middle East” or expanding home ownership to bad credit risks. After all, without the albatross of the first President Bush after 1992, conservatives united around a truly conservative set of themes and did much to scuttle Clinton’s dumbest ideas. As with Clinton, Obama’s big spending, dubious heritage, increasingly hackneyed rhetoric, and recent anti-gun noises will likely trigger the anti-government, anti-spending feeling that conservatives always seem to find again as soon as they’re out of power. I may be wrong; the demographics have changed considerably since 1994. Many millions of newcomers have arrived since then. And younger people are less likely to marry and have children–these milestones being major inducements to conservatism among not particularly political folks. We’re still here though. Obama has been fearless about confronting conservative on various hot button issues–criticizing the US in Turkey, mocking Christian beliefs in his stem cell decisions, kowtowing to Mexico on guns–and the intense backlash is brewing, along with that old time conservative anti-government rhetoric. While this message fell on deaf ears during the inflationary boom, there is always a group that views big government spending as profligate and short-sighted during hard economic times. Such views connect directly with those of our Founding Fathers and have even penetrated the once pro-New Deal Reagan Democrats as they have climbed the economic ladder. When combined with the more culturally-based opposition to amnesty, which Obama seems surprisingly poised to advocate, Obama may accomplish what Bush could not: uniting conservatives around a small government, neo-nationalist set of views.

The political disaster would be for some opportunist without a thorough understanding and ability to articulate these views to become the face of conservatism. This is why McCain, Huckabee, and Palin each present different risks to the party. None is a real conservative steeped in the nationalist and small government strains of thinking that have grown so robust under Bush’s pseuedo-conservatism, and each would become a lightning rod for conservatives, while in fact being a populist or militarist imposter.

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Richard Spencer at Takimag.com makes a good point about the issues that really work for conservatives and the various ways that elites pull their punches to their detriment politically:

Political parties are pretty malleable, so I think it’s a better idea to look at what those really big issues are that could unite a broad Right coalition. Mitt Romney tried to make himself the perfect GOP candidate by standing on the thee pillars of “economic conservatism” (“free-trade”), “national security” (pro-war), and “social conservatism” (vague references to “life”). But such things haven’t proved to work too well in the recent past. 

In truth, the Big Three that have had the widest popular appeal over the past five years have instead been opposition to racial preferences, opposition to amnesty/immigration restriction, and anti-war foreign policy. Ward Connerly’s civil rights initiative of 2006, which effectively banned affirmative action in the universities, won by a landslide—even though it was opposed by youth icon Barack Obama. The only time the conservative movement really showed its teach, and has been willing to go against the GOP, was during last summer’s battle over amnesty. I don’t need to go into Iraq, which is increasingly viewed as a disaster even by Republicans (and, more importantly, Reagan Democrats.)

These issues are perhaps the only three that can unite an increasingly fracturing youth population (within an increasingly fracturing population as a whole). And better still, they’re all natural conservative issues, and ones which, with the exception of the opposition to war, don’t really work for Democrats. 

And yet, on all of these issues, the GOP has come down on the wrong side—publicly even: opposing Connerly, sponsoring amnesty, and devoutly supporting the war to the point of self-parody. 

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McCain said the following at CPAC:

Surely, I have held other positions that have not met with widespread agreement from conservatives. I won’t pretend otherwise nor would you permit me to forget it. On the issue of illegal immigration, a position which provoked the outspoken opposition of many conservatives, I stood my ground aware that my position would imperil my campaign. I respect your opposition for I know that the vast majority of critics to the bill based their opposition in a principled defense of the rule of law. And while I and other Republican supporters of the bill were genuine in our intention to restore control of our borders, we failed, for various and understandable reasons, to convince Americans that we were. I accept that, and have pledged that it would be among my highest priorities to secure our borders first, and only after we achieved widespread consensus that our borders are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem in a wa y that defends the rule of law and does not encourage another wave of illegal immigration.

McCain claims to “respect the opposition” but during the amnesty debate, he repeatedly insulted his opponents calling them racist and even cursing at Senator Cornyn for his reluctance to go along with the bill.

His rhetoric reveals that he has not changed one bit.  The issue is not just “illegal immigration,” it’s the million-plus legal aliens brought to our country.  They are not here on the basis of skill or contribution or cultural similarity, but such arbitrary criteria as “visa lotteries” and “family reunification.” 

Further, he implies the only legitimate basis to oppose massive illegal immigration–3/4 of which is from Latin America–is concern for the “rule of law.” He’s calling the rest of us racist.  Our right to preserve our country, its historical demographics, and its culture and way of life is by implication illegitimate.  But what about the poverty these people bring with them?  What about the impact these foreign people have on our cultural integrity, values, crime, housing costs, congestion, environment, etc.? There is no reason that any authentic conservative would classify such arguments as illegitimate, as the first principles allowing such arguments–belief in a specific way of life, wariness about change, affirmation of a distinct American culture–are also the basis for our concern about leftism in our schools, gay marriage, welfare, and the like.

Finally, like Bush, he says he’ll “secure our borders first.”  How about “first, last, and always?” It is distressing that many Mexicans are still hopping the non-existent fence at the border, but we are also concerned millions of these people are crowding our cities and towns.  They can be easily identified and deported.  The “comprehensive” immigration argument is a red herring; it supposes that we can’t simply be committed, as we should have been before, to serious immigration enforcement at the border and within the nation’s interior. 

McCain did not pledge not to have guest workers and amnesty, nor did he say anything about reducing legal immigration.  He’ll secure the border, only to let these people in the front door by invitation.  He may be a man of his convictions, but those convictions on this issue, even with the rhetorical window dressing, are anything but conservative. 

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