Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Jebbie to the rescue
Jeb Bush tries to help his brother out on immigration, with a little help from Ken Mehlman ... and falls flat with a National Review reader:
I'm just floored by this statement in the Jeb Bush/Ken Mehlman op-ed: "The bill provides real border security for the first time, protecting us against the entry of terrorists and stemming the flow of illegal drugs." For the first time? It's been how long since 9/11? How long since Bush's first inauguration? How long did he have working majorities in both houses? ...

While I'm at it, how about: "Hispanics are also the fastest growing segment of our population. Salsa outsells ketchup and tacos outsell hot dogs. One out of eight people under 35 in Nebraska is Hispanic." I thought Jeb was supposed to be the smart Bush.
Ouch!

Jebbie and Ken make a number of arguments for the bill -- it will be good for the economy, will attract high skilled immigrants to the U.S. to make us more competitive (they don't explain why it wouldn't be better to train up more American engineers and scientists, but there you go...) and it would make us more secure by identifying the currently shadowy illegal migrants in our midst (their incentive to come forward and fork over $5 grand again, not explained...) But then they get to the real point:
Both of us have spent much of our professional lives working to help build the Republican Party. We believe this legislation will be good for the GOP. Hispanic Americans are natural Republicans. Many tend to be pro-life, pro-military and pro-small business. Last year, Republican pollster David Winston conducted a national poll in which he asked registered voters to rate themselves along a 1 to 9 scale from very liberal to very conservative. He found that, overall, the country was center right and Hispanic Americans viewed themselves as slightly to the right of the country as a whole.

Hispanics are also the fastest growing segment of our population. Salsa outsells ketchup and tacos outsell hot dogs. One out of eight people under 35 in Nebraska is Hispanic.

Republicans have shown we can win Hispanic voters when we reach out. We've also seen what happens when Republicans adopt a different approach. California used to be Reagan Country, a reliably red state that, along with Texas and Florida, provided the GOP with a huge Electoral College advantage. In 1994, California Republicans embraced Proposition 187, which denied illegal immigrants public services. The proposition passed and the GOP won the governor's mansion in the short term, but alienated the fastest growing constituency in the state. California has leaned Democratic ever since. No Republican presidential nominee has won the state since 1988. Republican Senate candidates have repeatedly gone down to defeat. And our only successful candidate for governor has been the uniquely popular Arnold Schwarzenegger
Not that the Democrats don't want those potential voters, too...

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger says, let illegal migrants stay, if not for the president, ...for the markets:
No wonder it's hard to pass a bill. It's hard because Congress is trying to elevate one American value, respect for the law, by demoting an American value that up to now has been an unambiguous, uncontested ideal--respect for work, for labor. The tension here is especially difficult for conservatives.
Conservatives and liberals will fight unto eternity over whose notions of the law, society and justice are right. But the one idea owned by conservatives is the market.

For many Democrats in politics, the market--the daily machinery of the private economy--is a semi-abstraction. It's a barely understood thing that mainly sends revenue to the government, without which the nation is incapable of achieving social good. Liberals happily concede the idea of salutary "market forces" to their opposition. For them, markets are for taming.

Why, then, would Republican politicians and conservative writers want to run the risk of undermining, perhaps for a long time, their core belief in the broad benefits of free-market economic forces in return for a law that hammers these illegal Mexicans?
the key word, dear, being "illegal." Funny how a certain brand of rightie believes in the power of markets, even when they run on illegal, cheap labor.

Meanwhile, here's a novel argument! President Bush says conservative opponents of his illegal immigration amnesty -- I mean not amnesty -- ideas just don't want what's best for America. And they're fearmongers! I wonder if he ran that one by Dick "Bomb the Iranians and ask questions later!" Cheney...

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posted by JReid @ 8:47 PM  
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