Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Irony of the Bush Immigration Speech And Its Chief Detractors

Compare these three statements. The first is from President Bush's speech last night:

America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasoned and respectful tone. Feelings run deep on this issue and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. 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.

Those read like the words of a leader to me.

The second is from Polipundit, where a purge of sorts seems to have taken place. Lorie Byrd, one of the bloggers there who dared to disagree with PoliPundit, the proprietor of the blog, writes:

I received a lengthy email from Polipundit tonight alerting us to an editorial policy change that included the following: "From now on, every blogger at PoliPundit.com will either agree with me completely on the immigration issue, or not blog at PoliPundit.com."

How embarrassing for PoliPundit, whoever he is.

Which of the above two statements would you rather associate yourself with-- President Bush's, or PoliPundit's rather Stalinist-sounding e-mail? PoliPundit has referred to the president as "Jorge Arbusto." Perhaps not the "reasoned and respectful tone" President Bush called for last night, but I imagine PoliPundit thinks it's cute. And this from a man who likes to fancy himself a conservative in the Reagan mold. No sale, PoliPundit; thought control is neither conservative nor Reaganite nor American. I will not be visiting your site again.

Finally, here's one from VDare.com:

"The Bush Administration has seemed never to notice that Mexico is not the 51st
state, but a foreign country--one that is engaged in a slow-motion invasion of
America. . . . Why is Bush doing this? I have suggested that his
motives are dynastic--that he is selfishly sacrificing the GOP to build a family
vehicle, much like Brian Mulroney sacrificed the Canadian Progressive
Conservative party in a vain effort to build a personal fief in the
French-speaking province of Quebec. Brenda Walker speculates he is a
'MexiChurian Candidate.' What he is not is an American patriot."

Yep, there's your "reasoned and respectful tone." Well, maybe not. Take a look at VDare's explanation for its symbol, a white fawn. The unabashed nativist tone is refreshingly honest, in a way.

Oh, and by the way, Bush's speech is polling well. "Staggeringly" well, it turns out:

79 percent of those who watched had a very favorable or favorable view of the speech, and those who support the president's policies rose in number from 42 to 67 percent.

Hey, you guys in the vaunted Republican "base:" Remember the old Irish saying: When everyone else in the room is telling you you're drunk, it's time to sit down.


Anonymous nash said...

That last sentence you wrote was neither reasoned nor respectful. In fact, it was incredibly contemptuous and insulting. Why on Earth should conservatives trust people like you? 

Posted by nash

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

Nash: It's simply an adage. Not to worry. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Laer said...

Odd that Nash would call you a purveyor of the contemptuous and insulting after you wrote such a fine, reasoned and respectful piece. He was obviously searching for something, anything, to hang his biases on.

The speech made me regret my blogging hiatus (not really, I'm doing some much-needed good work for my wife's film , but I would have liked to have said that it was an excellent first big step. Big goals are best achieved through big steps. If implemented by Congress, Bush's plan would be a big step -- but only the first of several that are needed.

I like the idea that in-country illegals can become legal, but only if they stand politely at the back of the line, behind everyone who went about it the right way. That does not reward illegal behavior, and that's a must for any reasoned federal policy. Let's see if the (whatever respectful adjective Nash demands) Dems can stomach that! 

Posted by Laer

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you want me to go through it line by line? How about compairing Polipundit's "purge" (Hedgehog's words) to Stalin?

How about calling Bush's critics "unabashed nativists"?

How about his sarcastic and dismissive reference to the "vaunted Republican "base""?


Posted by nash

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:08:00 PM  
Blogger Harold C. Hutchison said...

Agreed. A superb post.

One of the biggest reasons I support the President's position on this issue is the rhetoric of his opponents. 

Posted by Harold C. Hutchison

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 5:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason that President Bush's speech polled so well is that the vast majority of Americans appreciate leadership in general, and particularly they appreciate a reasoned, principled, and serious attempt to solve a set of problems that have nagged at us as a nation for at least two generations. If there are ever to be solutions to the closely related problems of immigration reform, border security, and American cultural assimilation, it will take bipartisan and indeed non-partisan cooperation amongst the many varied interests who are affected by these issues.

We hear so much talk of the Republican "base" being monolithically anti-immigrant, or pro-border enforcement, or being dominated by the "mmigration hawks" as Bret Hume refers to them on Fox News Channel's Special Report. Well, I believe that the most radicalized segment of immigration hawks can only constitute a relatively small portion of Bush's "base", since the base also includes many business interests, especially small entrepreneurial businesses - whom nobody would deny are a key part of the Republcan coalition. As a member of that group of entrepreneurs, certainly I can stipulate that many, if not most of us are in favor of immigration policies that allow us to develop effective workforces, and certainly we oppose the draconian enforcement activities against employers that many of the immigration hawks are now calling for. Key American industries, such as agriculture, construction, hospitality/tourism, and personal services must have access to immigrant labor that is willing to do jobs that most pampered Americans would never stoop (literally) to do. Certainly many of those middle and upper income Republicans who themselves employ immigrants in their households as nannies, housekeepers, cooks, gardiners, drivers, and other such relatively low-skilled laborers would also object to a sudden sudden spree of hard-line immigration enforcement. Particularly when the Government does not provide user friendly tools to employers, such as tamper-proof immigrant ID cards. Plus many of the younger generation Republicans, like my two adult children, who grew up in today's America with lots of Hispanic immigrant friends ... many if not most members of this generation are not particularly of a mind to "round-em-up-and-get'em-outahere NOW" like so many of the immigration hawks now demand.

The media, including both the mainstream media as well as lots of bloggers and the posters on their blogsites, of course love to oversimplify matters, working from standardized themes that devolve down to a white hat/black hat dichotomy, on just about any controversial subject they attempt to address. Therefore the current theme on immigration/border security is, "we have these Republican Base types who are all immigration hawks and call the shots for Republican Presidents, and then we have the 'moderates' on this issue who consist of Democrats and Independents - i.e., everybody else."

Well, it just ain't that simple!

If 79% of poll respondents say they liked President Bush's speech on immigration this week, it certainly is logical to assume that at least a sizeable minority, if not outright majority, of Republicans are included in that 79% figure. But if the so-called "base" that dominates the Republican Party indeed bitterly opposes Bush on this issue, then how can that be? Well, again, I suggest that the "vaunted base" as Hedgehog calls it just ain't that monolithic, or even just ain't that big. What the media calls the "base" is certainly noisy, though. And of course, such a radicalized version of the base certainly fits the mainstream media stereotype of reactionary Republicans, so it serves their purpose of marginalizing and discrediting the Republican Party.

I suppose we could go into all sorts of analysis on just who constitutes the so-called "base", and what their motives might be - ranging from a pure strain of patriotism and concern over border security, all the way to nativist, even Nazi-like racism (read some of the posts on some of the so-called conservative blogs, and you just come away shaking your head, wondering if some of these posters would be happier with Hitler's National Socialism than Republicanism). But that kind of analysis would not be productive, because it's beside the point.

What WOULD be productive is for this nation to focus on what we can achieve this year on immigration reform and border security, using a "Coalition of the Willing" and the strong momentum already established. If as a result of getting something done on immigration, an implacable group within Bush's so-called base becomes irretrievably alienated by his leadership, then Bush simply needs to go forward and lead the way to a solution, as he is in fact now doing. He is not running again for anything - he only needs to concern himself with doing what is right for America. Secondarily, there is the politics of the matter: as the leader of his Party, he may need to redefine somewhat the Republican coalition ... and let the implacable immigration hawks go their way. At the same time many independents and even some Democrats may be willing to consider that the Republicans are not the reactionary, nativist, "know-nothings" that the mainstream media have portrayed. The net result for the Pary should its coalition shift a bit would, in my opinion, be positive for the Party and for America.

If the implacable immigration hawks now insist upon a purging of the ranks, then let them purge themselves right out of the Republican Party. And many of us who still believe in the conservative Republican coalition would say, "and don't let the door hit you on the you-know-what!"


Posted by Duane

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 6:26:00 AM  

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