2007 June 04 Monday
Immigration: Bush's Domestic Iraq

In an article entitled "Immigration -- Bush's domestic Iraq" Mickey Kaus says "The rigid thinking leading us to failure in the Mideast spawned 'comprehensive immigration reform.'".

6. In both cases, the solution has failed before. The British failed to "stand up" democracy in Iraq. We failed to do the same in Vietnam and also failed to establish stable, trans-factional governing structures in Lebanon and Somalia. Likewise, the grand, bipartisan Simpson-Mazzoli immigration reform of 1986 had promised, and failed, to establish an effective immigration enforcement mechanism.

7. In both cases, some Bush plan enthusiasts may not really mind a chaotic end result. Iraq war foes argue that some important neocon supporters of the Iraq war weren't really bothered by the prospect of Sunni-versus-Shiite warfare — even seeing divide-and-conquer advantages. Similarly, there's the suspicion that many supporters of Bush's immigration plan won't really be bothered if the enforcement parts of the law fail to stop the flow of new illegals. Employers, for one, would get additional inexpensive, willing workers.

All of his 10 points are great. I recommend reading the whole thing.

The domestic debacle of Bush's immigration proposal would be even worse than the foreign policy debacle of Iraq.

10. In both cases the consequences of losing the grand Bush bet are severe. Bush himself is busy these days describing the debacle that his big Iraq bet has now made possible: a government "overrun by extremists on all sides … an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by Al Qaeda." Possibly "the entire region could be drawn into the conflict."

The equivalent disaster scenario on immigration would go something like this: "Comprehensive reform" passes. The 12 million illegals are legalized as planned. But the untested enforcement provisions prove no more effective than they've been in the past — or else they are crippled by ACLU-style lawsuits and lobbying (as in the past). Legal guest workers enter the country to work, but so do millions of new illegal workers, drawn by the near-certain prospect that they too, some day, will be considered too numerous to deport. Soon we have another 12 million illegals, or more. Wages for unskilled low-income American and immigrant workers are depressed. As a result, in parts of L.A., visible contrasts of wealth and poverty reach near-Latin American levels.

For people who want to live in a Latin American style society I have some simple advice: Go on a very extended vacation to one of those countries and take a real hard look at it. The United States of America is a far better place than Latin America. Or go for a ride through LA and look at the graffiti. Or follow the news in Santa Barbara about knife stabbings. Or read up on the one state that already has the demographics that Bush and our foolish elites want to make the United States into: New Mexico. What Bush wants is very bad for America.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 June 04 10:54 PM  Immigration Elites Versus Masses

John S Bolton said at June 5, 2007 2:01 AM:

It would be quite clearly bad for America, to lurch towards Latin American standards.
As obvious as it is, Bush nevertheless insists that the anti-amnesty people are failing to support
what's good for America.
On of the 'arguments' is that immigration causes total economic activity to rise, even net of the effects of
public subsidies going to immigrants.
If one reads the fine print on that, though, it turns out that per capita growth is not what they claim will
assuredly occur, only a rise in total economic activity.
There is mendacity, specifically equivocation, in such a rhetorical approach.
People are given the impression that a rise in per capita income is expected from any sort of low-quality immigration, as the term 'economic growth'
is shamelessly equivocated between the gross totals and the per capita ones.
Meanwhile the main rhetoric is smears, smears, and almost nothing but smears.

John S Bolton said at June 5, 2007 2:19 AM:

Just in case anyone doesn't know what Latin American standards mean for America:
The NYT of June 4th '07, p.B2 says that in NYC, Mexicans go from boys at age 14,
95% attending school, but by 18 or 19 the percentage is down to 26%!
For Mexican girls, the same comparison declines from 96 to 31%.
Is this the 'good for America' effect that the administration wants
spread all over with legalization?
What a bunch of benighted, bereft of moral vision, sticks-in-the mud the anti-amnesty must be,
to see bad effects from encouraging our standards to approximate towrds groups with a 70+%
HS dropout rate!
Is this happening in NYC because of the lack of a creative accounting Texas miracle,
or because anti-immigrant forces have taken over liberal NYC, with its foreign-born population of millions?

Gary said at June 5, 2007 6:16 AM:

It is astounding that we have a President with such an apalling deficit of common sense. Bush's entire approach to immigration seems to boil down to "my family had some Mexican servants when I was a boy, and they were nice people. Therefore, all Mexicans must be nice people."

Ned said at June 5, 2007 8:48 AM:

Many US presidents in the twentieth century seemed to be very naive. Woodrow Wilson thought he could "make the world safe for democracy" by taking the US into World War I. Of course, what he ended up doing was making it safe for Naziism, communism, fascism and imperialism. By the late 1930's, democracy was becoming an endangered species. Then FDR, with his naive, sentimental view of "Uncle Joe Stalin," gave away most of eastern Europe at Tehran and Yalta, even though Stalin's crimes were well known at the time. LBJ thought he could turn the weak, corrupt South Vietnamese regime into something robust enough to hold off its more aggressive counterpart from the north, but even the help of half a million US troops and billions of dollars of aid couldn't pull that off. That's not to say that these outcomes were undesirable - it would have been great if democracy instead of dictatorship had flourished following WW I, if the Soviets had peacefully retreated to their own borders following WW II, and if the South Vietnamese had developed a democratic government that was able to effect its own survival. But, in retrospect, all of these enterprises seem foolish and unrealistic. Now Bush II continues in the same great tradition with his immigration and Iraq projects, both of which seem utterly doomed to failure. And note that Congress, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, has been complicit in these disasters.

Gary said at June 5, 2007 9:42 AM:

Ned - I am not so sure FDR was naive so much as he was a very sick man by the time of the Yalta conference. He was, I gather, too weak both physically and mentally to deal with Stalin. I agree that LBJ was naive about what could have been done in Vietnam - I think Kennedy had a much clearer picture of how corrupt the South Vietnamese government was. Then we come to the most naive and inept of our presidents, Carter, whose screw-ups number at least in the dozens, if not the hundreds. Bush is catching up to Carter quickly, though.

Ned said at June 5, 2007 10:09 AM:

Gary -

Your point about FDR's illness is well taken. He suffered from severe hypertension with resultant heart failure (which, of course, was completely concealed from the American people). By his fourth inaugural (in 1945), his angina pectoris was so severe that he could not walk across the room and he was certainly too ill to take on the likes of Josef Stalin. Nonetheless, I think FDR's naive view of Stalin long predated his final illness. Take a look at this quote from Richard M. Ebeling's review of "Roosevelt and Stalin: The Failed Courtship" by Robert Nisbet:

The same naivete hovered over Roosevelt's relationship with Joseph Stalin. World politics seemed to be nothing more to Roosevelt than local ward politics writ large -- a matter of alliances, horse-trading, personalities, and power. Personal loyalties and relationships were the heart of politics for the President. The same methods that got things done in Albany or Washington would work with Stalin at Teheran and Yalta, Roosevelt believed. The absurdity of Roosevelt's view of how to deal with the Soviets, and the disastrous results that followed, are the themes of this book.

While the personal relationship of ward politics was to be Roosevelt's means of dealing with Stalin, what were the ends he wished to attain? Nisbet explains that the President viewed himself as fulfilling the mission Woodrow Wilson began in the World War I: to take upon himself the moral leadership of making the world safe for democracy, of molding the world in his own image of American freedom. Having given the nation a New Deal at home, Roosevelt wanted to give the entire world a New Deal. But the attainment of this goal was going to require the leadership and prodding of the two great powers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

What made Roosevelt see the Soviets as the natural partner for this task? In Nisbet's words, "Somehow in Roosevelt's vision all the ugly [of Soviet brutality] was squeezed out and what was left was a system in Russia not extremely different from his own New Deal....the Soviet Union, with all warts conceded in advance, was still constitutionally pledged to its people to provide jobs, medical care, and welfare very much on the order of his own New Deal....There was also the constitutional pledge to build a classless society....the Soviet Union was forward-looking, progressive in thrust." Stalin and the Soviets, in other words, were just like us, only a bit more uncouth.

In Roosevelt's mind, the enemy of peace and order in the postwar era wouldn't be Soviet Communism, but the imperialism and colonialism of the European empires, particularly Great Britain's. This was the threat to a future of Soviet-American "democracy."

What more can I say?

I agree that Carter takes the cake for the most incompetent, inept President of recent vintage. Only Herbert Hoover comes close. It is interesting to speculate what would have happened if Carter had backed the Shah of Iran and he had remained in power. I'm not sure he could have pulled it off, but if he had, the Middle East might look a lot different today. Now Bush II seems to be rivaling Jimmy for incompetence and also doing his part to continue screwing up the Middle East.

John S Bolton said at June 5, 2007 2:39 PM:

Any evaluation of FDR's ability to hold his own relative to Stalin, is seriously defective if it doesn't mention the great influence of Stalin's agent in the White House, Harry Hopkins.
There has never been a more momentous role for a spy than that of Hopkins.
Bush is showing an extreme lack of loyalty to the citizenry here,
especially in terms of the loyalty owed to the net taxpayers of our citzenry, to such extent that he
makes himself look like a Mexican agent.

John S Bolton said at June 5, 2007 2:50 PM:

There is also the similarity of the smear approach used to push Iraq, and the same method used on the amnesty bill.
Even when what sounds vaguely like a rational argument is used, it boils down to a set-up for a smear,
as when they say immigration cohorts add to the economy, and, in effect challenge you to prove that such cohorts actually take away from per capita growth, the idea is to set up a smear.
It would be, well if you find fault with any immigration cohort, only those who discriminate would do that,
and shift the burden of proof as well.
The amnesty believers need to show how this will be good for us, not just use smears against those who doubt or deny that it .
If they can't, we're entitled to conclude that no ratioanl arguments are available for their position.

Ned said at June 6, 2007 6:50 AM:

I believe that Harry Hopkins was indeed a Soviet spy, perhaps rivaled in importance to the Soviets only by Richard Sorge. The Russians put up a monument to Sorge in Moscow - maybe they'll put up one to Hopkins one day. As the Venona papers revealed, at the time of WW II, there were over 300 Soviet spies in America, some, in addition to Hopkins, at very high levels, including Harry Dexter White and Alger Hiss. FDR was either unaware of this or turned a blind eye to it, believing that the Soviets were "just like us."

Berle said at June 7, 2007 4:27 PM:

Bush and Rove are working to split Hispanic voters away from Republicans this year. This will make Jeb Bush the inevitable candidate in four or eight years when he will have the Bush money Machine behind him. The key is to lose this year-- watch as they work to bring this about.

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