We delude. You Decide.

A mostly political Weblog.
April 9 2006 3:18 PM

We Delude, You Decide

Do pols actually believe the press clips on immigration?

(Continued from Page 9)

DealBreaker.com is up. Wall Street gossip. Not my subculture. But it seems to have the prized magical Elizabeth Spiers quality. There's even a Venn diagram, always the mark of excellence. Eat your heart out, Nick Denton. ... 3:28 P.M.

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Note to Doris Kearns Goodwin--Ben Domenech Died for Your Sins: Maybe Domenech just wanted to win $50,000 from the New York Historical Society! ... Eric Weiner notes that the wages of plagiarism are good  if you have a survival network that includes Walter Isaacson and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. ... For more of the goods on Goodwin: See this summary and try to find the damning LAT piece cited here. ... 1:05 P.M.

Hispander Reality Check: Did the passage of anti-illegal Prop. 187 really tilt California to the Democrats for decades by waking the "sleeping giant" of the Latino vote? That's what the courageous Republicans engineering the proposed semi-amnesty Hispander are worried about. I've always believed they were right to worry, in part because I once read that veteran Reagan adviser Stuart Spencer was worried. But Debra Saunders and Dale Franks  dispute this bit of CW: They note that the allegedly energized Latino vote failed to save Democratic Governor Gray Davis after he signed a bill allowing illegals to get drivers' licenses, and failed to prevent a Republican governor from being elected on a pledge (since fulfilled) to repeal it. ... They might have added: a) According to the NYT  [see chart], Hispanics are 34.7 % of California's population but those registered to vote are only 6.8% of the population.** b) The Republicans apparently lost 8% of this 6.8% sliver between 1996 and 2000--a non-trivial but also non-gigantic loss of half a percentage point; c) Welfare changes in 1996--conditioning benefits on citizenship--also may have encouraged many previously non-citizen Latinos to become citizens and voters; d) If, as David Brooks argues  [$], Latinos are such natural Republicans (they're religious, family oriented, and "Mexican-Americans spend 93 percent more on children's music") then are they really going to abandon their ingrained ideological orientation in a fit of identity politics because Congress refuses to legalize their undocumented ethnic compatriots? ... I still think there's something to the CW--and Dick Morris certainly does--but it's worth questioning how much. ... Update: Steve Smith says the  real post-187 GOP problem is Asians. If you add the Asian and Latino share of the California electorate from November, 2004, you're talking over 20%, according to the LAT (which I now do not trust even on something routine like this!). ...

**This sentence has been corrected. It originally said that "Hispanics in 2004 were still only 6.8% of the California electorate (even though they are 34.7% of the population)." But reader S.K. suggests that this is a misreading of the NYT chart--the 6.8% figure is the proportion of the total population that is registered Hispanics. That would jibe roughly with the LAT's finding that Latinos were 14% of the last presidential electorate. ... I'm actually not sure which interpretation of the confusing chart is correct, but I suspect S.K. is right. 11:22 A.M.

kf Searches for Compromise! My bloggingheads colleague Robert Wright says anything that makes already-here illegal immigrants live in "fear"--like criminalization of being in the country illegally--is unacceptable, because "we basically said its no big deal if you come over here." 1) I thought that the message of the Simpson-Mazzoli law of 1986 was supposed to be, 'OK, we'll give amnesty to the people already here but from now on we mean business. No more illegal immigration.' Was that a  "wink and a nod" to all of Latin America saying it's OK to come on in? 2) Wright seems to argue that yes, it amounted to tacit permission because there were no criminal penalties. But that makes his current opposition to criminal penalties somewhat awkward, no? Can we at least agree that for future illegal entrants, there should be criminal penalties?**(Maybe not felony-level jail penalties, but penalties.) Or are we going to deter them by telling them if they come here we'll make sure they don't "live in fear"? ...

**--It might be hard to distinguish later illegal entrants from earlier illegal entrants. Maybe the burden could be placed on them to prove they were in the country before whatever date is established for criminalization. 3:17 A.M.

Why isn't it the Dems who are split on immigration?

Realistically, we'll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants. Mainly that means better controls on illegal immigration. [Emph. added]

Tom Tancredo? No, Paul Krugman, endorsing several border-control arguments  before trying to preserve his Dem street cred by denouncing the House anti-illegal bill as "harsh" and "immoral." Most significantly, Krugman says "serious, non-partisan research" reveals that

Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average U.S. worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst-paid Americans. The most authoritative recent study of this effect, by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, estimates that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren't for Mexican immigration. [Emph. added]