Monday, August 24, 2015

George Will misread's the source of Republican's Immigration Quagmire

Two quotes from Yogi Berra seem appropriate looking over the field of Republican Presidential candidates – and particularly their tortured responses to America’s desire for leadership on immigration. 

“You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

Today’s column on immigration (and particularly the xenophobic approach of Donald Trump to the issue) by George Will hints at the disconnect between the Tea Party “base” that allegedly captures the Republican Primary vote, and the reality of America’s history and modern economy.  In a nut shell, Mr. Will reports on, but doesn’t really analyze, the disconnect between the vast majority of Americans who favor a path to legal status for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, and Mr. Trump’s call for mass deportations and a border wall that keep the “bad” immigrants out while allowing the future return of the “good” immigrants – a deportation and return that will require (in Mr. Will’s estimation) a significant growth in the size of government, since immigration and border control are a governmental function that cannot (yet anyway) be outsourced to a private entity.  Mr. Will casts Mr. Trump’s immigration plan as a mysterious assault on the Small Government Principles the Republican Party allegedly stands for, and manages to include the supposed failures of the “government” to “run” Amtrak as but one example of why bureaucracy will fail to do what Trump suggests.

For starters, Mr. Will grossly misleads readers on why Amtrak has problems.  Created in 1970 to answer the abandonment of passenger service by private railroads, AMTRAK is not a government agency like the FBI or USDA – rather is a Congressional Chartered semi-private corporation providing a public service to Americans.  Further,  Amtrak’s budget is approved every year by a Congress that insists it make a profit (competing against airlines and personal automobiles), while starving it of operating capitol, failing to invest in highspeed rail, and (until the late 1990’s) preventing Amtrak from advertising in the same way as airlines or even Greyhound.  So Mr. Will’s operational analogy is failed on its face, a fact the WaPo would do well to correct publicly.

All that, however, pales in comparison to Mr. Will’s most notable and most enduring failure as a pundit – his unwillingness to call out Republican’s for the bed which they have created for themselves.  After decades of demonizing minorities to gain electoral advantages (including Blacks, Asians, Muslim Arabs, and now Latinos); after claiming to want to reduce the reach of government while bailing out Too Big TO Fail banks for their misdeeds in the Great Recession, and after taking America into a decade long war based on purposely falsified intelligence (a war used to create and enhance fear and mistrust of “the other”) – What exactly does Mr. Will think the Republican base would accept as immigration policy?  Republicans have fought tooth and nail (added and abetted by a spineless Democratic Party since late 2001) to create a xenophobic surveillance state where needs of corporations outweigh the needs and freedoms of average citizens.  Those illegal immigrant – who FWIW pick our fruits and vegetables, clean our offices, build our homes, and care for many of our children – can no more be successfully turned away from our borders then can the lily white poor who became Tea Party supporters because they wanted the same bailout the banks and stock brokers and hedge fund managers got.

In his closing, Mr. Will notes that mis-handled immigration policy –in a nation built on and proud of its immigrant heritage – has cost the republican Party national elections before.  As Yogi also says:

It's like deja-vu, all over again.

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