2004 August 23 Monday
Civil War Brewing In Republican Party?

Pat Buchanan comments on Jack Kemp's demonization of immigration restrictionists.

“A struggle is underway for the soul of the Republican Party between a minority of protectionist xenophobes and those who are pro-trade and pro-immigration.”

Thus does Jack Kemp begin a column in which he jettisons the black conservative running for Congress in North Carolina whom he earlier endorsed. Kemp accuses Vernon Robinson of “running a very negative and aggressive anti-immigration campaign ... contrary to the core values of the party of Lincoln.”

Jack is right about that struggle for the soul of the party. But why is it necessary to demonize disagreement? Webster’s defines xenophobia as “fear and hatred of strangers and foreigners.” What evidence is there that Vernon Robinson is not a man of good heart?

The Open Borders crowd in the Republican Party thinks nothing of demonizing immigration restrictionists. For another example see Tamar Jacoby's demonization of immigration restrictionists as descendants of the Know Nothing Party and the KKK. Though perhaps is Jacoby a Democrat? It is hard to tell party neoconservatives think they are in.

My take on this phenomenon is that if the Open Borders Republicans want to demonize immigration restrictionist Republicans while the Open Borders Republicans hold top leadership spots in Congress and the Bush Administration then the Republican Party should no be able to count on the votes of immigration restrictionists. If the Open Borders crowd want to take the position that we are somehow beyond the pale then I take the hint: I won't vote for them.

You think I'm overreacting? George W. Bush says non-neocon critics of his democracy strategy are racists. This prompted angry retorts from liberal Josh Marshall, conservative George Will, and the Derb. Bush basically says his critics in his own party are morally defective.

Pat Buchanan has a new book coming out: Where the Right Went Wrong : How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency. Drudge has a bunch of snippets from the book.

“There is no conservative party left in Washington. Conservative thinkers and writers who were to be the watchdogs of orthodoxy have been as vigilant in policing party deviations from principle as was Cardinal Law in collaring the predator-priests of the Boston archdiocese.” (Page 9)

“The Beltway Right has entered into a civil union with Big Brother.” (Page 176)

“Under the rubric of conservatism, the Republican party of Bush I and II has been reinventing itself into what conservatives would have once recognized as a Rockefeller party reciting Reaganite rhetoric.” (234)

“[A] civil war is going to break out inside the Republican Party along the old trench lines of the Goldwater-Rockefeller wars of the 1960s, a war for the heart and soul and future of the party for the new century.” (234)

In spite of Buchanan's obvious displeasure with Bush's foreign policy, trade policy, and immigration policy he still sees a silver lining in Bush's second term with judicial appointments. I wish I shared Pat's optimism on that score. If Bush appoints Alberto Gonzales to the US Supreme Court then we will get more racial quotas and other rather unconservative legal edicts from on high.

The Bushes are doing enormous harm to the Republican Party. It is time for Republicans to wake up and take notice.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 August 23 03:15 AM  Politics American Domestic

noone said at August 23, 2004 4:08 AM:

"he still sees a silver lining in Bush's second term with judicial appointments."

1)As I recall and you point out,many of Bushes nominees are hardly conservative.

2)Bush has left his nominees to twist in the wind as he pushed big spending increases,new government programs,affirmative action and amnesty.Clearly the judiciary is not a priority.

3)The emphasis on judicial appontments by both parties,the media and a number of factions reveals the degree that American democratic government is becoming dysfunctional and the country ungovernable.It seems the "elite" keep the Constitution around for the same reason the Caesars kept the Senate,to provide a transparent figleaf of legitimacy.

Paul Kruegman has alrady called the '04 election stolen.Read many leftwing sites,authors,pundits,etc., and it's pretty obvious that the far left believe they have the sole moral,legitimate claim to power and will not accept any government they don't dominate.

All in all,the current trends and patterns don't point to a happy future.

Christopher Rasch said at August 23, 2004 8:03 AM:

To me, Bush's tepid support for a more liberal immigration policy is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal presidential record. Unfortunately, I think it's more likely a bungled attempt to garner the immigrant vote, rather than a principled stand for the freedom of movement.

(BTW, I really enjoy your blog -- you find the most fascinating stuff. Could you point me to a post or article that you believe most closely aligns with your own views on immigration? Thanks! )

lindenen said at August 23, 2004 8:05 AM:

Yeah, if you read Bob Herbert's columns, the Democrats are spreading bullsh*t about how black voters are already being intimidated in Florida.

Kurt said at August 23, 2004 10:09 AM:

The republican party is indeed headed for a civil war and immigration is a very small part of it. The real issues are the role of government and the interventionst foreign policy. This is a civil war was sparked by the neocons (really, neonazicons) of whom the baby Bush has allowed himself to be led around by the nose.

The traditional republican party (the party of Goldwater and Reagan) stood for limited government and fiscal conservatism. It was also very leery of an interventionist foreign policy. The problem with Bush is that he is no Reagan. He appears to be a hybrid of Nixon and Rockefeller. He has yet to veto a single spending bill brought to him by congress. He has presided over the greatest expansion of government spending and government growth since Johnson. Less than 40% of this growth can be attributed to defense and the war on terrorism. The bulk of this growth (>60%) is domestic, non-terrorism stuff. Since the republicans are the majority party in congress, he cannot claim "log rolling" as an excuse for this. Bush is a big spender, period.

The other problem is the pertetuation of an interventionst foreign policy. An interventionist foreign policy is totally incompatible with being a republic with limited government. It is also totally against the intent of the founding fathers, especially Jefferson, who were very much opposed to the "entangling" allainces that such a foreign policy necessary involves. The proper foreign policy of a republic is best summed up as "being the friends of liberty everywhere but defenders of only our own".

Although an important issue, immigration is in distant third place compared to these other two issues.

Although I consider Buchanan to be an extremist on domestic and social issues, I think he is 100% right on when it comes to foreign policy. He is to foreign policy today that Perot was to the Federal deficit in 1992. His view is worth consideration.

Randall Parker said at August 23, 2004 10:11 AM:


I can't point to a single post that explains all my views on immigration. I've read and written too much on too many facets of the problem.

See some of my past posts on illegal immigrant costs including Welfare Costs Not The Only Costs Of Immigrants, Big Medicare Bill Has $1 Billion For Illegal Alien Medical Care, Heather Mac Donald On The Illegal Alien Crime Wave, One Year Of Illegal Alien Health Care Costs Would Pay For Border Barrier, Illegal Immigration Drives Up Number Of Medically Uninsured, Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal, and Richard Lamm On Harmful Immigration.

Low income immigrants receive much more in benefits from the government than they pay in taxes. We can not afford a large influx of low skilled immigrants that are creating a growing Recipient Class of people who get more in benefits from the government than they pay in taxes.

We can not afford immigrants whose children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren do poorly in school.

I also have a lot of immigration category archives with lots of posts:

Immigration Brain Drain
Immigration Culture Clash
Immigration Economics
Immigration Law Enforcement
Immigration Policy
Immigration Politics
Immigration Societal Decay
Immigration Terrorism
Immigration, Border Control

Jan said at August 23, 2004 2:29 PM:

It is time to cease the use of names that the so called neoconservatives use to describe themselves. Since nothing is conservative about the neocon agenda it is time to call them by the name that truly describes them pseudocons or pseudoconservatives.

Randall Parker said at August 23, 2004 2:48 PM:

Jan, You are quite right. The neocons/pseudocons have misnamed themselves. Conservatism is not ideological. Yet neoconservatives think in very ideological ways. See my post Irving Kristol Is An Ideologue for example.

Derek Copold said at August 23, 2004 3:19 PM:

Ah, Pat. Even Homer nods: The GOP's faith in appointments is exactly the wrong way to approach judicial activism. It only strengthens the delusion that the courts get to be the final word on all law. Instead of chasing after the chimeric perfect appointment, the GOP and conservatives in general should focus on limiting the court's power through impeachments and congressional exclusions.

gcochran said at August 23, 2004 5:06 PM:

I prefer to call them 'silly buggers' But names don't matter - the real question is why Dick Cheney appointed them.

Christopher Rasch said at August 23, 2004 7:43 PM:

Randall, thanks! I'll check them out.

John S Bolton said at August 23, 2004 10:56 PM:

The fact that the ad hominem approach has to be used against anti-immigrationism today, means that no sensible argument can be given for the mass-immigrationist, anti-merit recruitment which has been slumped down into. It is a very large-scale confession of intellectual inability, that they can think of no rational argument in favor of anti-merit immigrationism. All they have is statements to the effect of; but you must feel it, a pure heart feels the desire to share his neighbor's tax money with all the world. If so, it is better to be impure-hearted.

Conrad said at August 24, 2004 11:40 AM:

Don't complain! Most of these new immigrants are going to be typical welfare recipient democratic voters. The republicans are shooting themselves in the foot and don't even know it! The democratic party is going to control for the next hundred years, with welfare rates exceeding anything that ever came before.

gc said at August 24, 2004 11:21 PM:

Kurt, I agree with you, though I'd rank the problems like this:

1) Mass unskilled Immigration
2) Foreign Policy
3) Spending

Unskilled immigration is the biggest long term problem of the US. We just cannot keep taking in net tax recipients. It is #1 on the agenda.

Foreign policy is #2. A nuking of a US city would be the absolute worse case scenario here. Iraq is going to be hell for a long time to come, and it was a terrible mistake to go with no WMD, but it is affordable for a big/rich country (at least now - maybe if the insurgency multiplies by 5 again and hits 100000 it might not be). Unskilled immigration can - and will - make us unable to afford such things.

Spending I'd put as #3. I'd rather have a generally high IQ country with socialism/big spending than a South Africa/Brazil/Mexico style capitalism with gated communities. Obviously the ultimate is high mean IQ + capitalism, but the latter is what we will see if the country goes the way of LA. If it comes to the choice of voting for a free trader who mistakenly believes that free trade requires open borders vs. a big-spender who promises to shut down the border, I think it's important to go with the immigration reformer. The spending can be reversed in time, but the effects of waves of new illegal aliens and low-skill immigrants cannot be (modulo GE).

Conrad said at August 25, 2004 11:13 AM:

There are no immigration reformers on the ballot this year. Only a liar from the senate and a president who mangles his words. Both want to maintain good hispanic relations, so both will allow the status quo to stand.

There are a lot of dummies on these threads, but I assume that at least a few of you understand the concept of extra-governmental action. It was extra-governmental action that brought down the eastern european communist dictatorships. It was extra-governmental action that created the United States in the first place. The US government is on a collision course with disaster, regardless of who is elected. Inertia has set in and the trends are clear. The government won't reform itself, it can't do it.

Matra said at August 25, 2004 1:41 PM:

Drudge linked to the below article today: Study Says Illegal Migrants Cost U.S. $10 Billion a Year

Analysis by think tank also concludes that a program to legalize the undocumented would nearly triple that figure.


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