Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'll See Your Feingold and Raise You a Reid

Just when you thought Democrats couldn't pick a dumber issue to attack Bush on than being "too tough on terrorism," as Senator Feingold did in calling for censure, now their Senate Minority Leader has decided to expend political capitol fighting to keep illegal immigration flowing freely. To draw the line in the sand against the feelings of 75% of Americans on an issue seems to me to be less than politically wise, and would surprise me if the Democrats hadn't shown their political ineptness so many times.

I know, I know - they have a real plan, too, and they won't do amnesty, and they have a "better idea"... Yawn. Too many prominant democrats have used too much hyperbolic language against any attempt at immigration reform (such as Sen. Clinton's "police state" remarks) for this to be anything other than manna from heaven politically for the Republicans. At this point, it doesn't matter how good their ideas are. They've already defined themselves as "pro illegal immigration".

Once again - Democrats insist on hitting the Republicans where they are the strongest. Or worse, misunderstanding so badly WHY they're unpopular that they actually come out on a LESS popular side of an issue. It's like attacking a castle with only one wall by beating on the wall with your fists, instead of walking around to the other side. Wile E. Coyote would be proud.

18 comments:

Waldo said...

The thing I have yet to understand is why so many politicians are avoiding the issue of securing the borders. If there is one area where the American people are united it is on the idea of immigration reform. Yet, the President continues to push the idea of his guest worker program and the Democrats have not seriously confronted the issue either. This is such an important issue for not only our national security but also for our economy and jails/courts that there should be a major bi-partisan movement to solve this problem.

Even though I am a staunch conservative, I have to admit I would consider voting for a Democrat if they were serious about taking up the mantel on this. This issue could single-handedly either revive the Democrats or bury them politically. Somehow the leaders of their party continue to reject the views of most Americans and wonder why they aren't getting elected. Trying to get a sense of what the Democratic party is doing is like trying to herd cats.

I agree with previous points that Orrin has made. The further Democrats move to the left, the more Republicans move to the center and abandon the conservative principles that the party is based on. About the only things they have gotten right in the last five years are the domestic policy and the tax cuts. I honestly believe that the future of American politics rests on this issue of immigration. If the Republicans want to retain power they need to jump on this. The people (and votes) will follow.

Waldo said...

The thing I have yet to understand is why so many politicians are avoiding the issue of securing the borders. If there is one area where the American people are united it is on the idea of immigration reform. Yet, the President continues to push the idea of his guest worker program and the Democrats have not seriously confronted the issue either. This is such an important issue for not only our national security but also for our economy and jails/courts that there should be a major bi-partisan movement to solve this problem.

Even though I am a staunch conservative, I have to admit I would consider voting for a Democrat if they were serious about taking up the mantel on this. This issue could single-handedly either revive the Democrats or bury them politically. Somehow the leaders of their party continue to reject the views of most Americans and wonder why they aren't getting elected. Trying to get a sense of what the Democratic party is doing is like trying to herd cats.

I agree with previous points that Orrin has made. The further Democrats move to the left, the more Republicans move to the center and abandon the conservative principles that the party is based on. About the only things they have gotten right in the last five years are the domestic policy and the tax cuts. I honestly believe that the future of American politics rests on this issue of immigration. If the Republicans want to retain power they need to jump on this. The people (and votes) will follow.

Cato said...

One thing we can't do is start deporting all of the illegal immigrants. At least for Washington State, that would be economic suicide. The apple industry is completely dependent on migrant labor. If the illegal immigrants in Washington left, there wouldn't be an apple harvest the next year.

PubliusRex said...

Cato -

If Bush is a fascist, why doesn't he do just that: deport the illegals. Or better yet, force them into slave labor camps to do the harvesting for free. That would fit in nicely with your conceptions of him.

Orrin Johnson said...

If the apple industry has made themselves dependent on illegal labor, that's a risk they took, and a risk that the state was complicit in by not making the slightest attempt to enforce those laws. If anything, this state has gone out if its way to protect the illegals. My sympathy level is pretty low. I can live without apples.

But I think that risk can be mitigated, even with mass deportation, with (a) increased legal immigration quotas, and (b) a decent guest worker program that does not simply let people who are here illegally stay here.

We can address the problem now or later. It will cause pain now. But it won't get easier later.

Cato said...

Publius,

I think you may be using a narrower definition of fascist than I am. As fascist describes Bush, it describes someone who is socially conservative and fiscally liberal, with an emphasis on government regulation of private choices and increases in government spending, especially defense spending. If you don't agree that Bush is fiscally liberal, then you probably don't agree that he's a fascist, even under my loose definition.

To the extent that fascism at its root means "belief in force", I can't recall a more fascist President.


Orrin,
I'll see your not caring about apples and raise it. I don't care about federal and Southwestern concerns about illegal immigration enough to jeopardize Washingtonians. These same illegal aliens have helped make the desert bloom, and are helping drive Eastern Washington's economy. I'd much prefer more legal means for Latinos to enter the country, and I feel sympathy for Southwestern states that feel like they're being overwhelmed. But our illegal immigrants aren't causing us any problems, and I see no reason to go after them to assuage our fears. Sure, seal the border now. Set up a guest worker program, there are plenty of good ideas out there. But while you're working on fixing this national problem, leave Washington alone.

I think some of our differences derive from the fact that I don't see illegal immigration as morally problematic. Coming to the U.S. to help make a better life for your children is heroic or desperate, but it isn't morally wrong.

Orrin Johnson said...

I don't think it's morally wrong that they come here to feed their families. Hell, I'd try to get here too. That's completely beside the point.

If a Mexican can come in illegally, than so can an Iranian. Or a North Korean. Or a Columbian drug smuggler. And they in fact do. Several of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally, and they knew specifically that our lax immigration laws would aid them in their mission. If your concern is merely local, consider that Port Angeles was very nearly the entry way for the Millenium Bomber. It was through sheer luck that the border agent caught him. Thankfully he didn't decide to cross a busier border crossing with less attendant agents!

The other problem is that there's no integration into our culture. They aren't waving US flags in LA, but Mexican ones. They're not learning English or sending their kids to school to learn (and when they do, the hippies cruelly don't insist they learn English). And I know this may sound a bit un-PC, but our culture is better than Mexico's, by any measure. At the very least, it is more free, more prosperous, and far, far less corrupt. When you have no ownership in the nation you inhabit, there's no impetus to make it a better place for yourself and your children. All of those things make life worse for us all. Ask the Europeans what happens to a country when illegal immigrants live on the edge of society and refuse to learn the language or integrate into the culture of their new land. There are real, proveable threats here.

And lest you think this is mere selfishness, think of the workers themselves who are exploited, paid poorly, live in slums, and hidden from health and safety inspectors. I don't understand how the liberal "champions of the worker" refuse to see that by letting them come in under the radar, they deny them the protections they claim as their agenda successes. And their children suffer profoundly, living in work camps, not going to school, and remaining hidden from CPS. The only part "morality" plays in this equation is the immorality of allowing the workers and their children to opperate under those conditions without any ability to seek redress when they are wronged.

Whatever short term gain eastern Washington and the rest of the nation are enjoying from illegal labor, the consequences to come will make cheap apples look awfully expensive. I agree with you that we should allow a great many more legal workers and legal immigrants into the country. But ignoring it is NOT the answer.

BTW, you obliterate your credibility by throwing words like "fascist" around so loosely. Words have meaning, and word choice matters. It's like saying libertarians are anarchists, or that liberal econ/liberal socially people are all Communists. As soon as Bush rounds up all the Japanese or Muslims, or passes a Sedition Act, or ups the tax structure to even half of what Carter did, then I'll buy your historical analysis of "most forceful." As soon as you mysteriously disapear for criticizing Bush, then I'll buy that he's a fascist. Last I checked, a crotchety old biddy is still allowed to wrongly accuse the President to his face of lying into war for oil, get an answer, and still have her White House Press Corps security badge honored the next day And her only punishment was her self-inflicted damage to her reputation.

PubliusRex said...

Cato -

I suspected it all came down to "choice" for you. But I think your conception of "choice" is a bit ego-centric. I.e. you don't seem too concerned about the left's attack on choice in one spending their own money, about pharmacists choosing what drugs they dispense and about people choosing to arm themselves.

In any case, I can't argue with someone who makes up their own definitions to words

By that way of thinking, you're a racist - by that I mean someone who favors low taxes.

Cato said...

I am using the word fairly loosely, but still well within the scope of the dictionary definitions:
(emphasis added by me)

From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Fascist:
n. and a.
One of a body of Italian nationalists, which was organized in 1919 to oppose communism in Italy, and, as the partito nazionale fascista, under the leadership of Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), controlled that country from 1922 to 1943; also transf. applied to the members of similar organizations in other countries. Also, a person having Fascist sympathies or convictions; (loosely) a person of right-wing authoritarian views. Hence as adj., of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Fascism or Fascists.

Fascism:
n.
The principles and organization of Fascists. Also, loosely, any form of right-wing authoritarianism.


From Dictionary.com:
Fascist:
n.

1. often Fascist An advocate or adherent of fascism.
2. A reactionary or dictatorial person.


adj.

1. often Fascist Of, advocating, or practicing fascism.
2. Fascist Of or relating to the regime of the Fascisti.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition


adj : relating to or characteristic of fascism; "fascist propaganda" [syn: fascistic] n : an adherent of fascism or other right-wing authoritarian views

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

n.

1. often Fascism
1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
2. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

n : a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism)

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University


So the Oxford English Dictionary claims that I am using the word loosely, a fact that I have repeatedly pointed out. No, Bush is not a follower of Mussolini. I believe that he is a right-wing authoritarian. While the U.S. does not have a dictatorial government, I think that Bush, and especially his advisors (Cheney et al) would prefer that it be much more dictatorial than it is, and have done there best to push it in that direction.

But my main point here is that I'm not making up words, and I'm sorry if I've lost credibility by using a loose definition (acknowledged as such) right out of the Oxford English Dictionary.

P.S. Sorry for the long post, I wanted to include the entire definitions to avoid bias.

P.P.S. Publius, I understand and appreciate your use of hyperbole, I have been known to engage in it myself on occasion. As an interesting mental exercise, feel free to find a definition of racism or racist that mentions taxation.

PubliusRex said...

Putting Mussolini and Bush in a similar box is dishonest. Sorry.

Orrin Johnson said...

"1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."

This is the only useful definition here, because the others rely on the term "right-wing", which is even LESS well defined than fascist.

Note the use of the word "and" in that definition. Actual Fascism requires all of those elements. The only one that we can come close to laying claim to is "stringent socioeconomic controls," hardly something pioneered by Bush. In fact, those most likely to oppose Bush constantly attack his "tax cuts for the rich," which would mean they are in favor of MORE "stringnet socioeconomic controls."

The "loose" definitions are better described as slang. But we are training to be lawyers, and moreover, intend to have influence over policy. In those realms, words and word precision matter. When you use the same word to describe both Bush and Mussoulini, that word no longer has any actual meaning, hence the loss of credibility.

Cato said...

If you want to call me dishonest or incredible for using the loose definition of fascist instead of the narrow one, that's your decision.

Publius,

Whether putting two people in a similar box is dishonest depends entirely on how big the box is and how similar the people are. Stalin, FDR, and Hilary Clinton are all fiscal liberals. Is it dishonest to call Hilary Clinton a fiscal liberal just because Stalin happens to be one too? We obviously disagree on which definitions of fascist to use. So how about instead of calling me dishonest, you acknowledge that we're both arguing from positions based on reasonable beliefs and reasonable interpretations of terms, both of which are in the dictionary?

Orrin Johnson said...

Because they're NOT reasonable interpretations. I'm no fan of Hillary, but she's not a communist, and it's dishonest to say she is, even for hyperbolic effect. Stalin was. If I were to simply refer to Stalin as "economically liberal", that would ALSO be dishonest because it does not accurately portray his economic policies.

The imprecision is even worse when you use such highly emotionally charged words as "Fascist" or "Communist", which implies mass murder, no free elections, and brutal oppression. Whatever Bush's faults are, they do not include that. And whatever your feelings on what Dick Cheney "would like," it does not accurately describe our government. It doesn't even come close. When you use a descriptive word most people immediately recognize as wrong or dishonest, the rest of your argument starts to look wrong as well.

Your knee jerk emotional reaction to Bush was to call him a fascist, because of his wiretap program and then for his immigration stance (which I don't think is tough enough). But if that were true, this country would have been far more Fascist than it is now during significant parts of our history. It wasn't then, and it's not now. And it's dishonest to imply otherwise. Sorry.

You are right to think there is too much government intrusion in our lives. You are right to think Bush has not done nearly enough as a "conservative" to change that. You may even be right that some of the War on Terror intel methods go too far. But you are wrong to think that any of those things have anything to do with fascism, which in fact, is the real enemy we're fighting these days. We need more people or smaller government, but it doesn't help that cause when small government proponents use dishonest hyperbole, in the same way that these immigration protesters hurt THEIR cause with their virulence.

Alex Chan said...

Perhaps my vision is getting blurred, but where in Cato's original post did Cato say that Bush is a "fascist"?

Cato said...

I think it was a few posts ago. This is an ongoing discussion.

SirWhoopass said...

An "ongoing discussion" between Republicans and those who dislike President Bush over the exact definition and applicability of a label from a 20th century Italian nationalist party. Given how both sides already feel about the President, those who support him, and those who attack him, what is the expected outcome?

Cato said...

I was sort of beginning to get the same feeling, only without the reference to mentally disabled youth.

Of course, if you aren't going to have argument and debate, why have a blog that allows comments?

I'd be happy to move onto another topic, though. How about the emergency clause?

Orrin Johnson said...

I engage only because I hate to see known FedSoc members harm their credibility. I disagree with Cato on a lot of things, but we need as many believers in small government as possible. Believers who don't hurt their (and all of our) credibility by throwing around inaccurate and eye-rolling terms like "fascist".

The hippies continue to lose elections for the Dems because of their loose use of such methods. It matters.