Monday, December 03, 2007

"Immigants! I knew it was them! Even when it was the bears, I knew it was them."

Anyone who watched last week's GOP debate (specifically the first half-hour) knows that immigration has become a top campaign issue, particularly on the conservative side. But why now? And why so hostile? Those are the questions Joe Klein-- thankfully no longer writing about wiretapping bills-- tries to figure out in his new Time column. He speaks to a few of the candidates to get their take on all this.

Two of the answers he got I think nailed it. Said Sen. Clinton, "During the 1990s, I cannot remember being asked about immigration... Why? Because the economy was working... And average Americans didn't have to go around looking for someone to blame." Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

Mike Huckabee reached similar conclusions. "There's a lot of underlying [economic] anxiety," he said. "People are working harder and not getting ahead. There is a disconnect between the insider establishment in the country — and in my party — and the middle class about this. There's a greater divide between the top and bottom than ever before ... That's the stuff out of which revolutions are born."

By George (W. Bush), I think they've got it. It's no random choice that the rallying cry among the hardcore anti-immigration folk is "They took our jobs!" (because, of course, we all remember hordes of armed Mexicans taking the U.S. economy by force).

Rising economic inequality has been caused by years of bad conservative policy... policies which greatly favor those at the top, while offering mere platitudes for those toward the bottom. And it is those at the top who've been outsourcing the jobs, firing workers left and right to maintain record profits, and-- yes-- hiring illegal immigrants who will work cheap and not cause any trouble. But rather than focus on that elephant in the room (pardon the pun), working class conservatives found-- whether on their own or through Lou Dobbs-style prodding-- the perfect scapegoat... Mr. Immigrant.

My kingdom for candidates who can discuss these issues without sounding like an asshole.


At 8:25 AM, Blogger Edward Ott said...

Thinking about it. the rise in Illegal immigration came about with the destruction of the American union by the GOP and its minions. of course with all the manufacturing jobs going overseas, what jobs are they stealing?

At 12:05 PM, Blogger BlueDuck said...

"the rise in Illegal immigration came about with the destruction of the American union by the GOP and its minions."


"what jobs are they stealing?"

Not as many as people think. Picking produce, working in fields, off-the-books construction jobs... that kind of stuff.

Honestly, the jobs they do are jobs immigrants have always had a lock on, anyway.

The 'damage' to the economy people like Lou Dobbs say they do is little to nothing. If anything, they the help the economy, as they have a strong work ethic.

Like I said, I wish more people realized the ones screwing workers are the white guys in business suits, not hispanic immigrants of legal or illegal status.


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