Monday, June 25, 2007

Last Word on Immigration

As I’ve said before, I don’t speak for Sarah Palin on immigration “issues,” but I do speak for myself on just about anything I want to tackle. I believe there is a fundamental dishonesty, led by Hugh Hewitt, Kevin McCullough, Pat Buchanan, and others, about the immigration reform legislation. The feeding frenzy that’s going on in the nation is destroying the political careers of many of the best conservative elected officials in the country, including Jon Kyl, Saxby Chambliss, Bobby Inglis, and Lindsay Graham. The only people the debacle is helping consist of Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Tomorrow, I’ll return to “mostly Sarah, most of the time.”

As frequent readers of this column know, I have a recurring nightmare: that the Republican Party is about to repeat with Hispanics the terrible mistake we made with Blacks in 1964. In that time, Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and a few other significant Republicans opposed Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Right Act, which outlawed many forms of discrimination against Black Americans.

A key element of the Act outlawed discrimination against Blacks by commercial businesses. In a practical sense, Blacks could not be turned away from restaurants and similar businesses because of their color.

Goldwater opposed the legislation. He did so on the grounds that business owners should have the right to determine who could patronize their establishments.

Whatever the merits of Goldwater’s argument, the political results were disastrous. Prior to 1964, Republicans had done fairly well with Black voters, whose support for the GOP reflected the legacy of Lincoln, the man most responsible for Emancipating the slaves.

In 1960, Richard Nixon got one-third of the Black vote. But beginning with Goldwater campaign of 1964, Blacks deserted the Republican Party. Nowadays, a Republican candidate for President is lucky if he gets 5%-6% of the Black vote. That’s one of the main reasons Republicans have such a difficult time competing in Northern and Midwestern states.

Something similar may be happening with Hispanics, the country’s largest – and fastest growing – minority group. Of the 100 million Americans classified as minorities, 45 million are Hispanics. That doesn’t refer to “illegals”; it refers to people who are citizens. (Blacks are the second largest minority group, totaling about 40 million.)

If Hispanics turns against the GOP the way Blacks did, what would that mean? It would indicate that a Republican national candidate would never again carry California, by far the largest state. Moreover, it would mean that states like New Mexico, Arizona, and – sooner rather than later – Colorado, Texas and Florida would become “Blue” states.

At that point, the Republican Party as we know it would become a permanent minority. It would never win the presidency again. It would have small minorities in both Houses of Congress. It would become essentially a non-factor in American politics.

Deporting 12 million – or even 2 million – illegal immigrants wouldn’t change this situation, except for the worse. Much as many members of the Republican “base” dislike the current immigration proposals, there is absolutely no stomach in the nation for deporting large numbers of people.

Is this an unlikely scenario? No, it’s very likely.

That’s why I’m suspicious of people who claim their “principles” are driving their views on immigration. It’s as if the Gadarene swine in the Bible, the ones who plunged off a cliff, claimed their actions were motivated by principle.

As I’ve suggested, the immigration is more about the mathematics of politics than principle. The hatred of “amnesty,” in legislation which does not provide for amnesty, is destroying the Republican Party. Some principle.

Barry Goldwater was wrong – disastrously so – in 1964. His principles put Black people in an awful situation. Imagine a Black family trying to get a hamburger, and the proprietor meets them at the door and says they can’t eat or use the bathroom in his facility. The country decided, correctly, that such a situation was intolerable. In fact, Goldwater should have been ashamed of himself.

Today, most Hispanics don’t believe the pious claims by anti-immigrant forces that they’re standing up for “the rule of law.” In fact, as Sanity102 has pointed out, we are a nation founded by “law-breakers,” people who were violating British law. Also, some of the country’s laws, such as the one designating a Black man or woman as three-fifths of a person were not exactly great moments in legal history.

The law (Dred Scott) saying that it was an obligation to return a runaway slave or the law indicating that it was fine (pre-Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) to have “separate but equal” schools were abominations. The laws saying that Blacks couldn’t get a cup of coffee at the Greensboro, NC Woolworths were a terrible blotch on the nation’s history.

Many Hispanics believe that many of the areas, especially in the Southwest, that their counterparts are entering illegally were stolen from Mexico. This is one of the “dirty little secrets” of American history – one that doesn’t reflect favorably on our commitment to “the law.”

There’s a great need to discuss immigration issues seriously and honestly, but it probably won’t happen. Instead, we’ll continue to hear the sloganeering and the politics-of-animosity, and that’s more than a shame. It's a disaster.

Sarah Palin & Victory in 2008

Note: There will be mirror posts on this blog. One will be:
& the other will be this one:

In a column over the weekend, Sanity102 ( , one of the best bloggers around, outlined why she strongly supports Gov. Sarah Palin being on the Republican national ticket in 2008. She said:

“. . . Let me explain something about me...the way I work. I AM extremely jealous of my time because it is so frequently limited. I do not push Palin just because "I like her". I do so because I think she can win...and help the GOP in 2008 and in the future. I like doing something positive after weeks, months of watching the GOP being hurt by the absolutes.”

I do like Sarah Palin – a lot, but I support her for basically the same reasons as Sanity. Sarah has the character, charisma, and communication skills necessary to appeal to the American people. She doesn’t come with the political history – and the high “unfavorability ratings” – associated with most national figures.

Sanity mentions how much she values her time. Although I now work for homes, after decades spent among the corporate “suits,” I also recognize the importance of the time, “the fire in which we burn,” as one poet called it. I’m prepared to burn a great deal of time in the effort to get Sarah on the ticket.

I’ve invested at least 200 hours so far, and I’m ready to spend at least 2,000 more. Why? Because I believe it’s essential to the country that there be a new dynamic – specifically, a dramatically different personality – in American politics. As I’ve said before, if our ticket is the usual one – two aging white males in gray suits, both carrying more baggage than an army of red caps – then we deserve to lose, and we will lose.

My friend Jack Kelly, the superb national security columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, disagrees with me. He’s looking at candidates like Rudy Giuliani (whom I like a lot frankly) and Fred Thompson, about whom I have some pressing questions.

Admittedly, I may be wrong, but I don’t think Fred can defeat Rudy in the Republican primary. And I don’t believe Giuliani alone can defeat Mrs. Clinton in the general election. Recent polls suggest my gloomy assessment is correct.

Could Rudy running with Sarah defeat Hillary Clinton? Maybe. Could Fred Thompson running with Sarah defeat Mrs. Clinton? Possibly. I like some of the other Republican presidential candidates, but I see no evidence they could emerge as winners in November, 2008.

As Sanity said, this isn’t a question of which candidates we “like.” At its best, politics is NOT a popularity candidate. We aren’t going to elect Mr. (or Ms.) Congeniality, but rather a President.

We’ve never anyone remotely similar in high office. For one thing, Sarah is the mother of four children.

We’ve never had a high official from Alaska, a state blessedly free of many of our political obsessions in the “lower-48.” We’ve never a President or a Vice-President whose spouse has actually held what most of American regards as “real jobs” – in Todd Palin’s case as a commercial fisherman and oil field production foreman.

In Alaska, some of the state officials have been experimenting with designating Todd as the “First Gentleman.” Somehow, I don’t think commercial fisherman would be comfortable with the effete term “gentleman.” In any case, Sarah calls him the “First Dude.”

The idea of Sarah going to D.C. as the nation’s first female vice-president makes me smile. It has a little of the quality of Jimmy Stewart’s old “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Imagine that: sending a real person – someone with whom a hundred million American can immediately identify.

Recently, a blogger asked me on these pages what Sarah’s position was on Immigration Reform. I said, speaking partly tongue-in-cheek, that I hoped she didn’t have a “position” on that issue, one of no real relevance to Alaska, which wants more people – not fewer – to come there.

On critical issues like energy, faith, and family, Sarah might be the best-informed person we’ve ever sent to Washington, DC. She won’t have learned about those matters by reading books; she has lived them first-hand.

Sarah is good at running things. That traces back to her childhood, and especially to her role at a point guard on a state championship basketball team. The point guard brings the ball up the court and decides exactly how the offense will attack the defense.

In both life and politics, Sarah has almost always been a winner. The “almost” qualification comes from the fact that she lost her race for Lieutenant Governor.

She obviously learned a lot from that. She came back to defeat former Senator and then-Republican Governor Frank Murkowski in the primary. Then, she defeated Democrat and former Governor Tony Knowles in the general election.

How’s she doing at Governor? She’s managed critical energy legislation, fought the rampant corruption in Alaska politics, and shown herself willing to fire officials who aren’t doing the job. That’s why her approval rating among Alaskans has surged to nearly 90%.

So Sarah, you may barely know I exist – at this point. But I’m going to devote every hour I can to making sure you have to relocate sooner rather than later from Wasilla, Alaska to Washington, DC.

Why Sarah? “Because she's fresh, and everyone else is tired.” So, when her country calls, she will answer.

Bloggers (and non-bloggers), join us. . .