More: In attacking the "Lou Dobbs Democrats," Jacob Weisberg lumps opposition to illegal immigration with trade protectionism as part of the "economic nationalism" advanced by so many of the now-famous Dem "moderates" who won this year. That's very CFR of him, along with the not-so-veiled suggestion that advocates of border control are racists. But the immigration half of this Democrats' new Lou Dobbsianism does suggest that Bush and McCain might have a harder time selling "comprehensive" reform than I'd feared. Here are some Weisberg characterizations:
Here is a snippet from one of [Senator-elect Sherrod] Brown's TV spots: "I'm for an increase in the minimum wage and against trade agreements that cost Ohio jobs. I support stem-cell research, tighter borders, and a balanced-budget amendment." ...[snip]
In Virginia, apparent winner James Webb denounced outsourcing and blasted George Allenfor voting to allow more "foreign guest workers" into the state. In Missouri, victor Claire McCaskill refused to let incumbent James Talent out-hawk her on immigration. ...[snip]
An even harder-edged nationalism defined many of the critical House races, where Democrats called for a moratorium on trade agreements, for canceling existing ones, or, in some cases, for slapping protective trade tariffs on China. These candidates also lumped illegal immigrants together with terrorists and demanded fencing and militarization of the Mexican border. In Pennsylvania, Democratic challengers Chris Carney and Patrick Murphy defeated Republican incumbents by accusing them of destroying good jobs by voting for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and being soft on illegal immigration.
P.S.: Weisberg distinguishes "economic nationalism" from the more "familiar"--and presumably more benign--"economic populism":
Nationalism begins from the populist premise that working people aren't doing so well. But instead of blaming the rich at home, it focuses its energy on the poor abroad.
So does Weisberg think it's ok to blame "the rich at home" for working-class living standards? That's not very centrist or DLC-ish. And I don't believe he believes that explanation. The claim that uncontrolled immigration does have the effect of bidding down wages, meanwhile, is quite plausible and consistent with normal market economics of the sort the DLC usually endorses. It's also consistent with support for free trade--the argument would be that it's easier to support free trade if Americans can at least get good wages for those unskilled jobs that can't be shipped abroad (the so-called non-tradable sector). In fact, that seems like a much more plausible combo than the coupling of free trade with Clintonian "worker retraining programs" whidh, as Weisberg notes, never amounted to much. ...
See this excellent essay by DLC-type Brad Carson. ... 7:24 P.M.
Egg on CNN Poll Face? As ABC's Note points out, by one measure those final three polls showing a Republican comeback turned out to be quite accurate. It's just that, as so often happens, the "comeback" didn't keep coming! ... The final vote (as measured by exit poll) was 53-45 Dems over GOPs. The three 'GOP comback' polls understated that 8 point Dem advantage by 1 percentage point (Gallup), 2 points (ABC) and 4 points (Pew). Meanwhile, the four polls showing no pro-GOP movement overstated the Dem advantage by 5 percentage points (Fox), 7 percentage points (Time), 10 percentage points (Newsweek), and an embarrassing 12 percentage points for CNN. ... 3:16 P.M.
Vilsack vs. Iowa: Isn't Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's presidential run more good news for the Democrats--he'll be the favorite son in Iowa's caucuses, meaning other candidates will have a ready-made excuse to skip them and the press will have a good excuse to downplay them? Maybe the sweet, polite fools who fell for the John Kerry authorized bio won't get to do similar damage in 2008. ... P.S.: The CW is presumably that this is also good news for Hillary, who wasn't looking like the likely Iowa winner (and maybe bad news for Edwards, who was). ... Update: Several emailers suggest that Vilsack isn't nearly popular enough in Iowa to clear the field the way Tom Harkin did. But he only has to do well enough to give Hillary a plausible excuse for skipping Iowa, no? ... More: Everybody still seems to think I'm wrong about this. I probably am! ... 2:34 P.M.
Sleeping Giant Watch: That front-page Wall Street Journal article on the "Crucial Role of Hispanics" in the Democrats' victory-- cited by Alterman, among others--would be more convincing if it came with some actual numbers about the size of the Hispanic vote. Yes, according to exit polls "Hispanics favoring Democrats over Republicans by 73% to 26%." But what percent of the overall vote, in what races, was Hispanic? ... P.S.: Even a follow-up WSJ story [$] has no numbers, only a (highly plausible) claim of "an increase in turnout" among Hispanics, attributed to Sergio Bendixen. ... P.P.S.: No turnout numbers here either. ...
More: Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer reports
Hispanics accounted for 8 percent of the total vote. That is about equal to the Hispanic vote's record turnout in the 2004 presidential election, and much more than its turnout in previous mid-term elections. [emphasis added]