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May 20, 2007

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i'd like to see it. but your brave fellow patriots have banned me from even seeing what you have to say.

now that's the real American spirit.

Never the less, I salute Charles for posting something which is seriously at odds with the opinion of the majority of Bizarro World denizens. I didn't read that far into the comments, but they're basically calling him an immigration loser-defeatist.

"The farmers up here in my area are flipping mad over this, and they feel betrayed. I know I do too."

Poor Wubbies. He should make himself a dang quesadilla and try to calm down.

CB, considering where you posted this, it is actually pretty good. I do object to a few statements, such as
" I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority among the other Redstate moderators and the directorship, but the GOP is a big-tent party and I would expect the same of Redstate.com and its commentariat."

The "big-tent" statement is almost funny (actually it is funny) and your expectations (as illustrated by the comments) represented wishful thinking.

"Democrats are too partisan to let a clean GOP bill come to the floor."

I could do the old pot meet kettle routine, except it doesn't do justice. I don't think there has been a narrower more partisan group than the Republicans for the last 13 and particularly 7 years.

And probably the least effective part of the bill you do like is the border fence. That is just a sop thrown to the paranoids out there.

But other than that you could almost be channeling publius.

As thoughtful as your post is Charles, it's a bit sad that so many commenters here can't comment there (me included). I'd hope RedState would reconsider their decision on how much dissent they can tolerate in the service of "vigorous discussion."

There's another reason that Republicans should support the bill, and that is that it will actually strengthen their chances in the coming elections. If they kill the bill, they'll have the rhetoric of fear and hatred to win them some votes, but they'll alienate the Hispanic community (for at least a generation) and be open to attacks that the situation is worsening because they were not willing to compromise. It's a lose-lose, IMO.

I didn't think you were banned, Edward. Just so you know, I defended you in the behind-the-curtain IM thread because you presented your positions civilly, but I'm in the minority there. The comment threads at RS generally suck, and the reason is that the moderators will tolerate only so much dissent from their party line.

I agree with you that if this goes down in flames, it'll hurt the GOP more than the Dems, but it'll hurt the Dems, too. The hardline group of right-wing antis are extremely emotional about this, and if they carry the day, they're going to take my party down a notch or two.

I, too, am banned at RedState, which puzzles me because I always tried to respect the fact that it was a conservative site. Oh well.

Blue ribbon goes to this comment:

Do you mildly support Iraq surrender? because the Amnesty & Anarchy Act of 2007 has potential to be much worse. remember, the Muslims only want to kill us. the commies want to make us slaves.

My banning seems to come and go. I was banned for a while, then able to relogin and then, without notice, banned again.

Thanks for defending me, btw.

The hardline group of right-wing antis are extremely emotional about this

What's at the source of that, though? I've watched a few GOP Congressmen on the talking head shows and I still can't wrap my mind around what drives that emotion. To my mind, living in New York, where everyone knows (and loves) someone who is illegal (for the record, and so they don't come knocking on our door, my other half has a green card and is 100% legal) the only thing that explains it all is xenophobia.

It can't really be a strong belief in the rule of law (otherwise, among other emotional issues, they'd be calling for Bush's impeachment with regard to the spying on Americans issue).

Is it simply fear of losing jobs for Americans? That doesn't make sense to me either, as we're not talking about jobs your average American wants.

The only thing I can think of that justifies the emotion is a national security concern, but given that Hispanics (who make up the bulk of illegal immigrants, I believe) are not generally known to be plotting terror attacks, this seems irrational as well.

Who is making sense of the position on this?

OK, so I see on Andrew Sullivan that one of the issues flaming the emotion here is the impact of illegals on certain communities (I'm assuming that means drains on public services and living conditions and violence and such). That makes a bit more sense to me, but the rhetoric does seem a bit over the top, suggesting it's a proxy debate on other, racially motivated, feelings as well.

I think the one of more direct sources is the struggle to make yourself understood while ordering a Big Mac. "It's like a whole 'nother country!"

As I wrote in comments over at RedState, Charles, I'm pretty much with you 100%. I even share your concern regarding the guest worker program (although I've very much in favor of a guest worker program in principle).

Of course, my agreement may be the kiss of death, given that I'm wholly out-of-step with RedState these days.

I have a theory to offer on why this is such an emotional issue for some people. I suggest that they see it as an extension of the culture war. Their image of America is the small town with the little church packed with hymn-singers every Sunday, housewives preparing lunchboxes for their kids as they kiss husbands goodbye before they (the husbands) leave for work -- all in all, very much a 1950s America. They see that America crumbling away under the assaults from many directions, and they are responding with hysterical defensiveness. They see themselves in a fight to the death against the evil forces that would destroy their ideal America, and those Mexican immigrants are one of those forces. They speak Spanish and have different customs.

This is my hunch, but I confess that any attempt to understand such passions is very speculative.

I'd also like to throw in a word for compromise. Democracy strangles when people take uncompromising positions. Democracy attempts to permit many different people with different values to live together harmoniously. That works only when people are willing to compromise. As soon as people start talking about their political goals as fundamental principles and absolute rights, I get nervous. You can't compromise on fundamental principles or absolute rights.

The best test of a good compromise is the question, "Is this something that everybody hates but everybody could grudgingly live with?" This legislation looks like it answers that question "Yes".

The only thing I can think of that justifies the emotion is a national security concern, but given that Hispanics (who make up the bulk of illegal immigrants, I believe) are not generally known to be plotting terror attacks, this seems irrational as well.

From arguing with these folks over the last few years, I get the sense that the truly hard-core anti-immigrant are cultural conservatives, who decry the loss of what they view as American culture. (Think, for instance, Paul Cella -- an eloquent defender of this view.) Most are not xenophobic, as that term is generally understood. But it is fair to say that they are less excited by cultural diversity than some others.

There is a significant component, however, who truly are enraged by the wholesale failure to follow the law and who are disinclined to support any kind of program that encourages lawbreaking. Many agree and/or offer support for the hard core, but are probably not going to base their vote on it. (Although some might -- Mickey Kaus, for instance, probably falls into this group.)

I'd hope RedState would reconsider their decision on how much dissent they can tolerate in the service of "vigorous discussion."

Redstate's editors are not interested in "vigorous discussion". Or more to the point, they are only interested in discussion that stays within very narrow acceptable boundaries. Redstate's avowed purpose is to advance the Republican Party, not the nebulous and varied shades of "conservatism", and certainly not vigorous intellectual debate.

I'm not putting words in their mouth, they've said as much directly when confronted by their own people in comments.

I should note that despite this, I somehow am still not banned there, although there've been a few close calls. I think this is probably because I've learned, for the most part, what disagreements to stay out of.

I somehow am still not banned there, although there've been a few close calls. I think this is probably because I've learned, for the most part, what disagreements to stay out of.

i suspect you've just been lucky w.r.t. the blood-sugar levels of the moderators.

What's at the source of that, though?

There's a segment in the party with strong opinions on borders-language-culture, and they're fanned by the likes of Savage, Malkin, Tancredo, etc., and they bolster their arguments on national security grounds, that are borders so open that Islamist terrorists can get through and launch attacks.

The truly confounding part is that they don't accept the concept that the political will isn't there to enforce the existing law, and they'd rather have a killed bill and no enhanced border security than a negotiated bill that gives us a better chance at better border security right away. They don't even acknowledge the "demand" side of the issue. It's all about controlling the supply.

Catsy: what cleek said. I honestly tried very, very hard to respect their views about the kind of community they wanted to have, and (as I said on TiO) (as far as I remember) only made three kinds of comments, and those only very rarely: (1) respectful corrections of flat-out falsehoods on a couple of stem cell threads, always limited to providing cites and saying 'of course, this doesn't settle the moral issue', to make it clear that I wasn't saying 'this fact is wrong, so stem cell funding is OK, ha ha ha'; (2) my attempt to be helpful during the Ben Domenech fiasco, which was motivated by my hating to see BD take advantage of some of the RedState editors' loyalty to a friend; and (3) one time when I was more or less directly attacked, and -- well, I can't find the thread, but I think I only said that whatever it was that was said -- I think it was that I was a traitor or something -- was serious, and needed documentation. I absolutely never waded in there just to foment controversy.

The truly confounding part is that they don't accept the concept that the political will isn't there to enforce the existing law, and they'd rather have a killed bill and no enhanced border security than a negotiated bill that gives us a better chance at better border security right away. They don't even acknowledge the "demand" side of the issue. It's all about controlling the supply.

right. this is another example of why i scoff at people who say their hysterical anti-immigrant fever is all about "enforcing the law". there are dozens of places where laws are routinely broken and conservatives don't form posses to take the laws into their own hand:

when's the last time you saw a bunch of armed men camping outside a bar, waiting to enforce the DUI laws because there aren't enough police to do it themselves?

have you ever seen conservative vigilantes down at the docks, making sure none of the imported food is tainted with melanine ?

and when's the last time an armed posse marched onto a construction site and started demanding ID from all the workers ?

they've fallen in love with immigration law for a reason, but that reason's not because they're in love with The Law as a whole - it's just the one that applies to their pet cause.

I think the comment that shows where their heads are at is this one:

In this particular school, there has been a marked influx of Hispanics. My estimate is half are the children of illegals, but I could be a little off.

First, note the air of omniscience. He can guess, without any real infrormation, how many of these children are from parents who broke one law (See Note A).

Second, he's worried about the influx of Hispanics. I think the "legal" / "illegal" is an internal smoke-screen, because he can't see himself as racist. But "illegals" come in all forms: Vietnamese boat-people and other Asian refugees, Cubans fleeing Castro (who always get ignored in these discussions), etc.

I've long seen the cry over "illegals" as pure, unadulterated racism -- the comments do nothing to allay that opinion.

Note A: If some people are "illegal" for breaking one law, then all people should be illegal for breaking a law. Let's have a One Strike and deport Abramhof, De Lay and Cunningham.

they'd rather have a killed bill and no enhanced border security than a negotiated bill that gives us a better chance at better border security right away

Purists. I get that on one level, having been there on other issues in the past. All or nothing, suggesting to me that they see the current situation as an attack on their identity or way of life.

Further, the laws I've seen that they will support maintain (rather inhumanely in some versions) the immigrants' second-class status.

Combine those two pieces of the puzzle, and it seems we're really talking about folks desperate to cling to their rung on the ladder, when they feel others crowding in on it.

The answer to that, in my opinion, and not surprising to anyone I'm sure, is to work toward greater economic equality. When folks do not feel as economically disadvantaged, they don't feel as threatened by the "other." (It's no coincidence that this heightened anger over immigrant coincides with a widening disparity in the clases.)

To this end, specifically, we should scrap Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy, enact major improvements to health care legislation (so middle class workers are not as trapped in their corporate/industry jobs and can more freely start small businesses), reinforce the inheritance tax (hell, increase it), raise the minimum wage, curb the banking and credit card industries' strangle hold on working people, and legislate other common sense measures to redistribute the wealth.

I know how that will strike many on the right, but the fact of the matter is, such measures will go a long way, in the long run, toward decreasing their anxiety about illegal immigrants coming into the country.

the fact of the matter is, such measures will go a long way, in the long run, toward decreasing their anxiety about illegal immigrants coming into the country.

I'm going to be really cynical now and suggest that increasing anxiety about illegal immigrants is a feature, not a bug, of growing income inequality. The more worried your base is about those [expletive deleted] furriners comin' in an' takin' jawbs away from hardworkin' Amurricans, the less attention they're going to pay to the fact that they're getting poorer while the guys in the boardroom are getting richer.

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