Gaffe of the Year--so far ...

A mostly political Weblog.
Feb. 12 2007 7:14 AM

Gaffe of the Year

Plus--Radar's blind spot.

(Continued from Page 6)

9. Mickey notes that in both cases there are less grand, and less risky, alternatives. On immigration, he would prefer to put in place only new enforcement mechanisms, and make sure they work, before "rewarding those illegals who already made it across the border." The problem with that approach, which may seem logical, is that an important part of the new enforcement regime will relate to the system employers are required to use to verify the status of workers. If the undocumented workers now in the country would be more likely to get nailed under that new system, which ought to be the case if it actually works, then presumably millions will quickly become subject to deportation. Only the Tom Tancredos of the world want that. [E.A.]

This is like Bush saying we have to invade Iraq because the U.N. sanctions are eroding--the point being to rhetorically eliminate the notion that there might be a middle course falling short of the "comprehensive" solution. Here we're told that we can't try employer i.d. checks, etc., without also granting amnesty because otherwise millions of illegals who are already here will be fingered by their employers and "quickly become subject to deportation." This seems almost certainly bogus. Has Anrig never heard of "grandfathering"? Surely it's possible to apply the employer i.d. checks only to new hires and tacitly exempt ("grandfather") existing legal and illegal workers by not checking them. Most of the "undocumented workers now in the country" could keep working at their jobs, as they're doing now, "in the shadows," without amnesty or a "path" to legalization, while we discover whether the i.d. check mechanism would actually work to prevent employers from luring new immigrants (including the millions of new immigrants who'd be encouraged to come here by amnesty or legalization). 

No doubt a middle, non-comprehensive, semi-grandfathering approach faces complications,** but they're the sort of complications politicians usually tackle effectively unless they're intentionally trying to exclude the middle in order to promote the extreme. (The Iraq analogue would be Bush trying to make sure the UN's WMD inspections weren't too successful.)

P.S.: Note how those who disagree with Anrig's plan quickly become "Tom Tancredos," just as those who disagreed with Bush's plan became Neville Chamberlains.

P.P.S.: In this vein, Anrig also sneers that "only right-wing ideologues like him supported the idea of invading Iraq." He must be thinking of John "Comprehensive" McCain. I waffled but ultimately opposed the invasion on proceduralist grounds--the lack of sufficient U.N. authorization (see, e.g. this page  and this one). ...

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**One obvious complication: If existing illegals tried to switch to a new employer they might get caught (though Congress could give them, say, a year to find a decent employer before an enforcement system took effect).  Actually, if the new enforcement system worked, they would get caught. Which means they wouldn't try, no? They'd either stay with their existing employer, or try to work in the underground economy, or give up and "self-deport." I don't know how many would fall into thie latter group, but if it were tens of thousands or even "millions," it seems to me a) millions of people gradually and unofficially deporting themselves  over a number of years is not the same thing as millions of people being forcibly deported by the U.S. government, which is the specter Anrig invokes; b) those most likely to leave would tend to be those for whom it is the easier course--e.g., they haven't put down "roots" here or they have family and the prospect of work in another country. And they could always come back if they could qualify for any guest-worker or other legal programs that became available. ...  And of course some deportations--either official or unofficial--are necessary if any enforcement system, including Bush's or Anrig's, is going to have a deterrent effect on potential future illegals. ... 5:28 A.M. link

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Peretz on Gore: "He's got enough hair and enough hair in the right places not to use blow-dryer. Honest." 7:44 P.M.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Do "hate crime" laws lower racial tensions or raise them? I'm not sure it isn't the latter. In Long Beach, some black teenagers were convicted of beating three white women on Halloween "with a hate crime enhancement," according to the LAT.  This would be an inflammatory case anyway (despite the initial let's-not-cover-the-news efforts of the Times) even if it were prosecuted as a simple assault.  But adding the hate-crime inquiry makes the race issue central to the trial, and makes it more likely to degenerate into a divisive festival of competitive racial victimization, no? ... 1:19 P.M.

More on Sen. Hagel and the "surge" from an erstwhile antiwar fan of his: