For Democrats, fighting illegal immigration would not only be good policy, but would have the welcome effect of being good politics, too. Democrats' major political obstacle is the increasingly intractable opposition of the non-union working and middle class, exactly the groups who most fervently oppose illegal immigration. While the opponents of immigration no doubt include nativists and xenophobes, the vast majority of those who oppose illegal immigration do so on sound public policy grounds. Illegal immigration is seen rightly as a threat to their economic livelihood. So when the Republican Party offers a platform that not only comports with their social and religious beliefs, but also addresses the one economic threat that is open to government solution, is there any wonder that the working and middle classes find solace in the GOP? [Emphasis added]
I didn't know Congressmen, or ex-Congressmen, could think and write clearly without cliches. If Carson hadn't lost his Senate race, he'd be a contender to be party's centrist savior from Hillary, no? I can't see Evan Bayh writing something like Carson's post. ... Update: Here's a MyDD post on another well-written Carson piece. ... 2:09 P.M.
Bradley swoons: New West Notes' Bill Bradley starts to swoon for S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom, Joe Klein style. It seems Newsom's "unprogrammed"! ... Bradley also writes:
Newsom, as you may have heard, elected as a centrist, did this little gay marriage thing that for a time turned the City by the Bay into even more of a mecca than it had been and prompted many conventional politicians to say that he would cost Democrats the national elections. Which, as it happened, he did not. [Emphasis added]
Huh? Last time I looked, the Democrat lost the national election. But with a switch of 60,000 votes in Ohio he would have won. You don't think 60,000 Ohioans were motivated by opposition to gay marriage? Of course Newsom's elevation of the gay marriage issue cost the Dems the election. Just as about 25 other things cost the Democrats the election. ... P.S.: And tell it to Brad Carson! ... 1:42 P.M.
Yesterday's fuss today at kf: My colleague Robert Wright defends the Spanish National Anthem ("Nuestro Himno") as a heartwarming expression of patriotism expressed in Spanish. The trouble is some of the new lyrics--"My people fight on. ... The time has come to break the chains." Sounds like a political expression of ethnic identity and uprising, not patriotism, to me. Or, rather, it's taking a symbol of national identity and turning it into an expression of ethnic identity, which seems worse. ... Or do you think that's the American "people" they're talking about? 1:09 P.M.
El Dia de Los Abuelos? Last week, the Bush administration's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency arrested a few hundred illegal immigrants, a move widely dismissed (here and elsewhere) as a for-show bust. But this minor blip in enforcement apparently frightened thousands of illegals into staying home from work, at which point the ICE felt moved to announce that nobody should worry because they didn't really intend to enforce the law after all.
The whole semi-comical chain of events drove home a point I'd overlooked: It's not enough to say you are for "enforcement first," and legalization later--my position--if the "enforcement" you're talking about is a (highly desirable) effective system of employee document checks. That system--again, if it's effective--would if applied across the board immediately throw millions of illegals out of their jobs. What would they do? Some would self-deport, presumably. But what about those with deep U.S. roots? Would they join the underground economy? Hang out on the corner? Become criminals? I don't know, and I don't particularly want to find out.
Two consequences follow from that realization:
1) Any system of employer-based enforcment should probably be applied only to new hires, not existing employees. Existing illegal employees wouldn't be "legalized," but they wouldn't be subjected to non-charade, computerized checks of their social security cards, for example. They'd just continue working as before.
2) A border wall or fence, widely denounced as the crude favored scheme of the meanest, yahoo, Know-Nothing elements of the Republican House, is in fact the most compassionate enforcement solution. A wall intrinsically blocks only new entrants. It's a physical grandfather clause! It leaves current illegals where they are. ...