Shaky base to build on

I don't like illegal immigration, and for a long time now, I have believed that the border should be closed, that a fence should be put up, and that no amnesty should be granted to illegal border crossers. I've even argued that uncontrolled immigration might have been a contributory factor in the Fall of Rome. My position on immigration, then, would appear to place me solidly within the conservative camp.

Right?

Wrong!

Because I have not supported draconian employer sanctions and massive door-to-door raids, the angry right wing would consider me a sellout wimp RINO libertarian stooge -- and I'd be lucky not to be accused of being an open border advocate.

And to the left I'm probably a fascist. (Small comfort that.)

Anyway, these thoughts have been on my mind over the years as I witnessed the government's inability to effectively do anything about the problem, and they were on my mind again when I saw what Kathryn Jean Lopez had to say about how "the base" feels about the latest crummy immigration bill:

Mark Levin, on Wednesday night, implored: "Do these Republicans ever learn? . . . Do they understand that a majority of the American people, whether they're Democrats, Republicans, or nothing, have had it up to here with illegal immigration and they don't want to subsidize it?"

It would seem not. And so I'll make mention of my e-mailers flirting with consideration of the i-word (yes, as in "impeachment").

The base, of course, will eventually calm down -- a bit. The question is, how much? Was this the last straw? If conservative media is any indication, recovery will be slow. Laura Ingraham began her show Friday announcing "I'm trying not to be demoralized." But after playing tape of Ted Kennedy "waxing triumphant" Thursday, the mood was reminiscent of the morning after Election Day 2005 all over again. And now you can kiss the Senate goodbye, too, if this bill goes through, she said.

It's going to be a long, hot summer on the Right thanks to la Casa Blanca.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who remarks that there isn't much pro-immigration support for this bill.

First of all, I think Lopez is right to say that a majority of the American people do not like illegal immigration (see this Inquirer poll, for example), but that does not mean they are necessarily part of the "had it up to here" crowd. Nor are they among those angry activists clamoring for impeachment. My own opinion is that the people who like to call themselves "the base" are very, very loud about having "had it up to here" -- so loud that they drive away all people who might be inclined to listen to them. (Including some people who are in basic agreement with them.)

I keep hearing that Bush "betrayed his base," yet he has openly touted his Hispanic "strategy" since 1999. What's the matter? Couldn't the base read his lips? When an office holder behaves in a manner consistent with his campaign promises, that is not a betrayal.

What I find rather disturbing is that (at least if the Lopez column is any indication) "the base" is so utterly delighted to have their own party out of power. So delighted, in fact, that they can't wait to "kiss the Senate goodbye" so they can be even more out of power.

Presumably, this means they can't wait to kiss the "Casa Blanca" goodbye too.

Call me a RINO for asking, but what kind of "base" is this that so badly wants its own party out of power?

I don't know, but I do know that I'm not enough of a "had it up to here" guy for them, and it hurts, because I think I'm generally quite good at having had it up to here, but apparently I'm just not mad as hell enough over this. FWIW, I don't agree with the bill, but I don't agree with a lot of bills. What am I supposed to do? Gnash my teeth and howl at the moon? Join the Minutemen?

I find myself wondering about one thing, though. If the base has had it up to here now, what will they be like with a president whose campaign is co-chaired by the former head of La Raza?

How far up can a "had it up to here" base have it?

MORE: To highlight the problems with the bill, take a look at the picture of it posted at this Pajamas Media post, which links TTLB's analysis:

It's 400 pages, but the final version may expand to 1000+ once it's printed in the "official format."
Great! That means that the geniuses who run our lives will be voting on something that none of them will have so much as taken the time to read! I guess legislating has come to mean passing laws you haven't read. (That ought to be an impeachable offense in itself. At minimum, it certainly constitutes outrageous derogation of duty.)

And Glenn Reynolds links this report in which Senator Bob Corker explains why he'll vote against cloture:

"On Monday, Senators are being asked to start voting on a complex immigration reform bill that most members have not had a chance to read or review. There is no doubt we need to secure America's borders and reform our broken immigration system, but this should not be done hastily by cramming through a largely unknown piece of legislation in a few days.

"After reading several summaries of this bill, I have serious concerns and for that reason I will vote 'no' on proceeding to the bill on Monday. I hope in the near future the Senate will return to immigration reform in a framework where Senators will be given the time necessary for serious debate on an issue of this magnitude."

Without getting into what any senator's position is on immigration, I'd like to risk venturing what sounds like a radical idea.

I think that any legislator who votes for a law without reading it should be impeached, and at minimum should lose his seat. Such people should be held in contempt -- not by the Republican base, but by the American base. (Anyone who doesn't think there is such a thing as an American base should read the polls:

Twenty-nine percent of Americans approve of Congress, down slightly from last month's reading (33%) and this year's high point of 37%, while Bush's approval rating is holding steady at 33%.
It strikes me that there's a base in there somewhere.

posted by Eric on 05.18.07 at 05:33 PM










Comments

The tree of liberty is *THIRSTY*.

anonymous   ·  May 18, 2007 8:28 PM

For the blood of Kerry voters?

Or Bush voters?

Eric Scheie   ·  May 18, 2007 9:43 PM

21st Century version of the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men born in the United States (or whosoever spends ten or so years waiting on a government bureaucracy) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Hmm....doesn't have the same ring to it....

Jon Thompson   ·  May 19, 2007 12:50 AM

You convinced me that employer sanctions are wrong. And I also believe that any draconion round-up of illegals and deportation is not going to happen.
So, where does that leave us?
With a current El Presidente who is more Tex-Mex than than Texan, and a Senate that is selling out.
I have traveled down the Valley now for 25 years. I've seen Delano, near Bakersfield, change from it's once touted "internationl" status into a Mexican village. You go into the Bank of America, and only Spanish is spoken.
Same for the Burger King. The menu is even bilingual. (In 1983 only cities on the border like Douglas, AZ had that distinction)
My business customers in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and So. California who speak broken English have in the past year demanded that I either take their orders in Spanish, or they will go to my competitor who has someone who speaks Spanish at the order desk.
The militancy is palpable.
What do you suggest?
Way back when I studied Spanish in college, my instructor, a 3rd or 4th generation Mexican/American was livid about her treatment in Mexico where she obtained her PhD. Her experience in the "motherland" left her with the attitude that envy and hatred permeated educated Mexican culture.
And that attitude is now seeping into the so-far docile immigrant population in this country.
I stop at the local market to gas up and buy a few beers on the way home. Illegals are parked out front and a woman circulates comic books in Spanish explaining their "rights" and how to get benefits for free.
The Mexican drug cartels are carrying on a mini-war with each other while they stake out territory. The I-5 corridor is one seemless drug route for Mexican heroin into Portland, Oregon, and lately for meth as well.
Bush, and the Senate don't really have a clue. Or worse, they know, and just don't give a shit.

Frank   ·  May 19, 2007 1:18 AM

Eric,
I think that the "base" more likely than not,despite the rhetoric,is more in line with your ideas(why was no one terribly upset before last year when it seemed that amnesty,not security was being offered?).

It is just I think that many are incredibly angry that their supposed Representatives are and have been completely tone deaf to the fact that we all want our country to be secure BEFORE the amnesty,and that Congress need to make sure that doing the amnesty does not put any more strain on American's financial security. The illegal alien problem has helped to hold down the wages of the poor,and the costs to the middle class in particular to pay for the services that the illegals have been using are a serious problem that no one in the government seems to want to tackle.

If they can turn this bill around to security first,and then deal with the illegal alien problem, I think then the R side will be (mostly)satisfied.

flicka47   ·  May 19, 2007 1:44 AM

>what kind of "base" is this that so badly wants its own party out of power?

A base that is committed to ideas/ideals over party.

I (and I suspect you) are a conservative/libertarian before I am a Republican. But the party does not get it. The biggest problem in DC is that it everyone is worried about what is good for "my tribe" rather then ideas and what is good for The Republic - and that is true on both sides of the aisle.

andrewdb   ·  May 19, 2007 1:46 AM

Also,it seems that at the moment that most of these folks are so angry that they are yelling past one another even when they are saying basically the same thing.

Hopefully Congress(and especially the R's) will wake up to the fact that they are supposed to be representing the American people,and folks are just not happy with how this seems to be playing out.

Of course Congress at the moment would probably choose from your poll as the form of execution to be torn apart by wild beasts,because it would be quicker and less painful than the earful and eye-full that they are receiving right now.Of course they have been asking for it for quite awhile!

flicka47   ·  May 19, 2007 2:16 AM

How to Minimize Illegal Immigration From Mexico

Regime change. The only way you're going to minimize illegal immigration from Mexico is by changing the government to a truly representational democracy, and that means changing how society works. The oligarchy has to go.

Or, we open up the borders and let everybody who's a Mexican citizen cross who wants to. When Mexico is practically empty we send in people to colonize the now empty land and annex the territory. Inside 10 or 20 years we'll own new land down to the Guatemalan border, and have another 30 to 40 states.

American English would pick up more Mexican Spanish loan words, but most folks would be using English simply because it makes life simpler.

As an alternative we could purchase the Russian Far East from a cash strapped Moscow and settled volunteers there. Drawing in large part from undocumented border crossers. The deal being, settle in America's new Asian territories and participate in the defense of the territories when called upon for ten years and you'll get full citizenship with all rights and responsibilities.

Alan Kellogg   ·  May 19, 2007 5:00 AM

As far as your 'We've had it up to here' question regarding how the base seems 'delighted' to be out of power. I think the situation can be likened to that of dealing with an alcoholic. It's not until the alcoholic hits utter bottom that the lies, deceptions, denials, and excuses are abandoned. And until such time as they are truly abandoned, life is made miserable for everyone close to the alcoholic.

Of course this is very bad news for the country.

The question is to we fight to restore principles and classical values, or do we continue to fritter them all away through a never ending series of 'meeting them halfway' compromises.

The main reason Bush had conservative or 'hard liner' support is damage control. The other options were far worse. So when this support turns to outrage in the face of disaster, one should not be too surprised.

It's our electing the 'least bad of candidates' that has landed us in this sorry situation. The machinery that produces such pathetic mediocrity has got to go - hence the conservative revolt.

We want to vote 'for' something. 'Voting against' has gotten very old and quite frankly, it sucks.

Roy E   ·  May 20, 2007 7:58 AM

unformatted preeminence gospel appointive.corruption reassure

Anonymous   ·  May 24, 2007 6:46 PM

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