Immigration & the West; Various Elections; Unauthorized Photo
Of course the Republicans are toast this November; I have nothing to add to this bucket of bile from Sidney Blumenthal:
President Bush's nationally televised address on immigration Monday night [May 15] was intended as a grand gesture to revive his collapsing presidency, but instead he has plunged the Republican Party into a political centrifuge that is breaking it down into its raw elements, which are colliding into each other, triggering explosions of unexpected and ever greater magnitude.
The nativist Republican base is at the throat of the business community. The Republican House of Representatives, in the grip of the far right, is at war with the Republican Senate. The evangelical religious right is paralyzed while the Roman Catholic Church has emerged as a mobilizing force behind the mass demonstrations of millions of Hispanic immigrants. Every effort Bush makes to hold a nonexistent Republican center is generating an opposing effect within his party.
The important point is that the Democratic Party will be subject to the same stresses, as we see in this New York Times account of the debate in the Senate over the immigration bill (hat-tip to Mickey Kaus):
Though the immigration issue was initially thought to favor Democrats since it could hurt Republican efforts to court Hispanics, some Democrats facing tough re-election fights in the fall are finding it cuts both ways. Almost as the votes were being counted on the Senate floor, Democrats like Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Robert Menendez of New Jersey were coming under fire.
"Stabenow Supports Social Security Benefits for Illegal Workers," said the headline over a press release issued by a challenger, Michael Bouchard, after Ms. Stabenow voted against a Republican plan to deny immigrants credit for payroll taxes paid while working illegally.
Tom Kean, a challenger to Mr. Menendez, issued a statement noting the senator opposed designating English the national language. "While I respect the diverse heritage of our nation, English is the bond that binds us together," said Mr. Kean in a statement.
By the way, the Senate rejected the only amendment that would have made the bill acceptable:
[Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota] and other Democrats also joined conservative Republicans in a failed bid to require the Department of Homeland Security to certify that the border was secured before any new programs for immigrants could start.
In any case, the worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party would be to gain control of Congress and start pandering to what they imagine to be the Hispanic vote. The irredentist wing of the open-borders movement will only become bolder with the passage of time: woe to the party that tries to meet it halfway. If the Democratic party leadership tries, it is not inconceivable that there would be no Democratic Party by 2008. Democrats don't want to see the United States abolished or balkanized anymore than Republicans do.
Everyone I talk to about this says they would like to vote for a third party. The problem is all the third parties on offer are looney bins. Grassroots organization is not enough: we need some of the leadership of both existing parties to secede and join together in third-party caucuses in Congress and some of the legislatures before the new party starts soliciting votes.
This is a pipe-dream, perhaps, but stranger things have happened, just lately.
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This issue is pan-Western. Readers may want to take a look at the Other Spengler's review of Londonistan and perhaps compare it with Victor Davis Hanson's Mexifornia (something I have not done yet, but I may).
Again, I would not trade America's immigration problem for Europe's. America would have no trouble at all assimilating the existing illegal population, or accommodating an expanded guest-worker program, though I think the latter is a bad idea; the problem is control of the border. There are some important parallels on the two sides of the Atlantic, notably the wilful neglect of what would have been an easily manageable problem by a political class that has been debilitated by multiculturalism. (The US neglect was perhaps more rational: the borders have been kept open in large part by libertarians who imagine that they can import an arbitrarily large amount of cheap labor without importing a proportionate political risk.) Something I am trying to get a handle on are the parallels, if any between the use of immigrant population by foreign powers.
The Islamist connection is clear enough. In Europe, Islamism has gone beyond providing a medium in which terrorist networks can flourish to becoming an important factor in retail politics. In Mexico, of course, there has long been some sentiment for the Reconquista, but the Mexican Voelkerwanderung does not seem to be a result of political will. The analogy to that would be a links between the irrdentists and Chavez in Venezuela, which of course would also be an oblique link to Iran.
More pipe-dreams, perhaps, but is anyone working on this?
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Meanwhile, the Bush Administration's strategy in Iraq seems to have succeeded, or so one must characterize the formation of a regular government. Was it paranoid of me to suspect that much of the media did its best to bury this development under atrocity stories? (The atrocities may have happened, but why publicize them just now?) In any case, the issues now become the degree and speed of the Coalition withdrawal.
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Perhaps New Orleans really will be abandoned. Any political culture that could re-elect Mayor Ray Nagin is probably too defective to be viable:
[D]uring the run-off campaign, Nagin courted conservative white voters by emphasizing his business background in contrast to Landrieu, a longtime politician and a member of Louisiana's equivalent to the Kennedy family...The mayoral election Saturday that returned Ray Nagin to office was split largely along racial lines, but both candidates got one-fifth crossover votes...
In such a case, the problem may not be the lethal incompetence of the incumbent, but the failure of the system to put forward a palatable alternative.
Thinking of investing in New Orleans, by the way?
Nagin dismissed threats by some business people who said they would leave if he remained in office..."Business people are predators, and if the economic opportunities are here, they're going to stay. If not, they're going to leave," said Nagin. "I don't worry about that stuff. I think there's enough interest around the country that we're going to attract top businesses. ... God bless them. I hope they stay, but if they don't, I'll send them a postcard."
E-mail might be better: the Post Office requires more public order to function than New Orleans is likely to afford.
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Europe burned to create the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918, which later became a Republic, variously Socialist or Federal, depending on the current constitution. With the divorce of Montenegro and Serbia, however, now it's all gone. Actually, it was only while reading about the referendum that I realized that the Yugoslav federal government had dissolved in 2003; only a close alliance had held the last two remaining republics together.
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Alvar Hanso supports spelling reform, as we see in this image from his address to a recent international spelling reform conference: