Monday, April 03, 2006

Center-Right Shuffle: Immigration

From Hugh Hewitt today:
After a morning spent plugging Painting the Map Red on a half dozen radio talk shows from Connecticut to New Mexico, and Oregon to Florida, I am reposting my thoughts on the immigration debate from earlier this morning. I feel like Jeremiah, as I do predict this situation in the book, but I don't want to end up as prescient as the prophet. Wake up, GOP: The immigration debate could kill the party's prospects in the fall.

Chapter Nine of the new book anticipated the internal knock-down the GOP now finds itself engaged in, a fight that can still be called off and the damage repaired if party leadership moves to the only position that makes sense: immediate authorization of a serious border security initiative built upon the construction of the 700 miles of fencing authorized by the House and a comprehensive regularization program for the 11 million illegal aliens already in the country, though not one including citizenship for decades.

The details are in the book, but the danger of continued intraparty battling is expressed by Bill Kristol --though not in terms likely to reduce the heat-- in this week's WeeklyStandard, where he concludes:

Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?

Kristol isn't the only one warning the GOP that November, 2006 could see the return of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Newt Gingrich is making the same prediction.

Time for Senators Frist and McConnell, Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Boehner, and the president's senior team to huddle, agree, and execute the end game on border security/immigration reform.

Any plan that includes the fencing and serious approrpiation towards continued vigilance against the possibility of a Beslan hapening in Phoenix or San Diego or anywhere inthe southwest satisfies 75% of the voters concerned about the issue.

Any plan that doesn't reward lawbreaking with citizenship satisfies the vast majority of the rest.

The Democrats can't filibuster such a plan.

So, get it done. If Jack Kelly, Hedgehog and I can all see the obvious, why can't D.C. pols?

Or prepare to welcome Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid.

Ever notice how much of the center-right political thought is just redefining conservative goals more narrowly, and smearing anybody outside the new focus as "extremist"?

Or how its focus is always strictly election results?

Or how America is always in imminent peril, and this peril can only be averted by the right result in an upcoming election?

What's the real problem with illegal immigration? I say it's millions of people on the wrong side of the border who dispute the moral authority of the US over its territory and economy, who will not comply with our immigration or employment laws where inconvenient, and are angrily clogging the streets demanding an end to the threat of serious enforcement.

The "obvious" solution does nothing about that problem. It's about pushing something, anything, through Congress and hoping the voters keep it down until the next election.

Instead of moving people, the GOP will move dirt and rocks.
Instead of enforcing compliance, we will "maintain vigilance".
Instead of making anybody do anything, we'll offer them reams of new paperwork so that they will become "regularized": we will acknowledge that they're here, pretend it is just temporary, and refuse to shove them out.

This will fail, because they don't recognize our authority to demand valid driver's licenses, let alone regulate residency and employment. But the Smart Set doesn't really care about solving problems. It's in CYA mode.

The plan needs time to work, we'll be told. We'll also be told that because a bad plan was enacted as the Party Line going into the election, the victory is a mandate to dodge solutions.

"The voters weighed the issue and they heard Candidate X. Candidate X won on the obvious plan. Let Candidate X do it his way, the voter's way."

Sound familiar?

We'll solve illegal immigration when we do three things:
Boost work visas tenfold, and guarantee citizenship to any applicant who can't be disqualified within five years.

Back up physical barriers to border-hopping laborers, with sweeps of their urban destinations. Detain. Deport.

Six-figure fines--per employee- for deliberate employers of illegal aliens.

But actually caring about solutions marks me as a loon.

I do feel smeared by Kristol's quote and I resent Hewitt's repeat of it. Anybody who wants citizenship to take "decades" has no pulpit from which to scream "Know-Nothing"!

And we should feel pretty good that America's imminent peril can be staved off by elections. As opposed to WW2, where we had to fight like Hell.

You know, the biggest barrier to long-term Republican domination--as proposed by the center-right--isn't angry Democrats? It's savvy Republicans.

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