Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Georgia Republicans and the presidential race

I know that straw polls are virtually meaningless, but this one, from Georgia’s GOP convention is interesting, as the top two vote-getters aren’t officially in the race. John McCain is at 2% (same as Ron Paul), which says something about the unpopularity of the great immigration compromise among Georgia GOP activists, despite the fact that both of Georgia’s Republican Senators tentatively support the bill, for what I regard as sound (if not necessarily airtight) political reasons. In this connection, see also this Corner post.

Senators Chambliss and Isakson say they’re making the most of their minority position, but that assumes that something worse would otherwise be inevitable. The two worse alternatives I can think of are the status quo and a bill without any real border security provisions. Of course, the status quo is only worse if you think you can’t effectively take advantage of the politics of the immigration issue in 2008. I’ve seen the polls (thanks, John and the non-vituperative commenters), but I haven’t yet seen a poll that suggests that, push comes to shove, immigration is one of the most salient issues. Consider, for example, these results, from a poll conducted about two weeks ago: illegal immigration comes in tenth in a list of seventeen issues that people might consider "extremely important" to their vote in 2008; if you add "very important" to that, it falls to twelfth. Perhaps the current brouhaha will change that and raise the salience of immigration, but I don’t at the moment think you can wage a successful presidential/national congressional campaign on that issue in 2008. (The Georgia GOP activists know that too: only 1% supported Tancredo.)

Returning for a moment to my reconstruction of the Chambliss/Isakson calculations: they clearly think that this is the best bill they can get in the foreseeable future, presumably because, right now, they have a hard time imagining that 2008 will be a good year for Republicans. A bill passed in 2009 and signed into law by President Clinton, Obama, or Edwards would likely be much worse. They’ve got that right, I’m sure. But how can they be certain that a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President would pay any signficant attention to the triggers in this legislation (assuming it passes, which I still regard as highly unlikely)? They’d have to bet that a lot of effective border enforcement could be accomplished before the end of the Bush Administration, which is a pretty shaky proposition.

In a nutshell, 2006 made it next to impossible that anything the Republican base could be happy about, or even really live with, would become law. The questions folks should be asking have to do with why nothing could be accomplished in the 2005/6 legislative cycle. And there’s plenty of room for finger-pointing there.

Discussions - 4 Comments

The status quo is far better than this bill. Under the current educational regime of multiculturalism our government and educational elites have embraced the notion that it is wrong and oppressive to expect immigrants to assimilate - or even to speak the language. The only thing worse than tens of millions of unassimilated illegal aliens would be tens of millions of unassimilated citizens.

Yes our illegals are very often being exploited - but they are better off here than they were at home - even if they are "in the shadows." If our illegal guests were not better off here, they would leave. There is no humanitarian crisis within our borders, then, to which the solution of diluting American citizenship is a reasonable remedy. The objection that the bill is concerned only with visas is a silly one - if the Kennedy bill passes citizenship will be the new visa - a right which will be demanded by thousands of protesters, Mexican flags in hand.

I'm sorry, but the premise of this is absurd.

A bill passed in 2009 and signed into law by President Clinton, Obama, or Edwards would likely be much worse.

Much worse for who?

If the Democrats want to pass a bill which the majority of the American people hate, let them do it! It makes no sense at all for the Republicans to rush forward to give them cover.

Here is another vituperative commenter for you people to cry your eyes out over.

At some point, it's worth trying to climb over the rubble of the 2007 Z-1s and the 1986 amnesty and the 1965 immigration act, and going back to basics: What is immigration for? In the modern Western world, to question immigration in even the most cautious way is to risk being demonized as a racist. Most of us like to see ourselves as nice people, and so even to raise the subject of immigration -- even illegal immigration -- feels like an assault not on distant foreigners so much as on our self-image. Yet, whatever the virtuousness of immigration for the host society, a dependence on it is a sign of profound structural weakness, and, when all the self-congratulation about celebrating diversity has died down, that weakness ought to be understood as such.

How do people as stupid as you get into positions where you can influence policy?

Believe it or not, I managed to stealth myself a nod as an alternate delegate from Bibb County. So I was one of that 2% that voted for Paul. Were you there?

I didn't get there until late on Friday, but Romney was there Friday, and he came in 4th. I really think Romney's Mormonism is an unspoken issue in the South.

But the natives were restless. They are not at all happy about immigration. Chambliss tried to sell this lemon. I saw about the last half of his speech. People cheered the "good parts" of the bill, but the delegates overall weren't buying it.

Politically, if the Republicans were smart they would grandstand the heck out of this thing. Anything that is "comprehensive" is bad. We need enforcement only. Build a wall, and the only way to deal with current illegals is to deport them. We need a restrictionist overall policy, preferably a moratorium. If the Republican had any sense, they would let the Dems push this and they would in a united manner filibuster this monstrosity. The reason they don't is because too many of the "conservative" Republicans support something "comprehensive." I don't know if that is primarily because they are in bed with big business or because they are scared of being called bad names by the PC thought enforcers.

The GOP has blown a perfectly good opportunity to come down squarely on the right side of an issue, and let the Dems fall on their sword on this. Sam Francis did not call them the Stupid Party for nothing.

Why I favor guest worker programs aspect in this bill. I think conservatives are shooting themselves in the foot and insuring that Democrats will keep control of the house by controling the hispanic vote in the South west, but their precieved racist sounding noise on this issue.

The problem with illegal immigration can be resolved with serious taking the necessity of a solidly working guest worker program. With such a program, 1. these worker who come to the US to do jobs most US citizens and residents won't do for the amount which makes these services affordable for most of the current users. 2. keep control of who comes in and goes out... that if we give documented visas to anyone who wants to come to the states for 90 days and can stay longer if their employer informs the INS of their length of employment (also there should be huge penalities (hundred of thousands of $), and serious jail times (20 years) for failure to report hiring or the end of employment of a guest worker). 3. the creation of documentation for these guest workers that could be a data base of info that can be used to effectly track down those who break the regulations (and these people should have serious penalities including jail time and permanant exclusion).

If workers can go back and forth, most will not create families here. The reasons illegals do is because they cannot easily go back and return, so they end of having two families, and this creates a problem that their US family becomes, because of the illegality of several members, part of the underclass, afraid to turn to the police when cheated or abused, and because of this, become a permanant victim class and thus their US citizen children become prime voters for democrats.

If one looks at the demographics of legal immigrants from mexico and latin america, one sees that these people intergrate into society as other groups and ususally are quite productive and enterpernual members of society (hence GOP voters). The problem is the illegal culture that most of these immigrates are forced into by association by mere cultural chance with the large population of illegals.

Although there are many things about this current bill I don't agree with, I think this is what needs to be done in order to secure or borders and de-incetivise the illegal cross border program. The killing of the guest worker provision of this Bill is only to repeat the folly of 86.

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