August 22, 2005
Fasten your seat belts. And, if you're a Latino, put on your body armor. You are Ground Zero for Republican political attacks in 2006. Starting now.
Indeed, the midterm elections of 2006 are already underway, and we are witnessing a repeat of the divisive tactics adopted by the GOP in 2004.
Back then, faced with the challenge of re-electing a failed president, Republicans knew they needed a distraction. They couldn't defend Bush's record, so they decided to change the subject.
Instead of running on the economy or the war, they manufactured a phony crisis, made scapegoats out of gays and lesbians, and made gay marriage the number one campaign issue, starting with Bush's shameless call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions: a purposeful act of political pandering immediately dropped after the election.
Well, friends, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it's "deja vu, all over again." Today, looking ahead to 2006, Republicans are in a pickle. They still can't run on Bush's record. The war in Iraq? Social Security? Health Care? Jobs? They're all political losers. So, once again, Republicans need to stir up a phony crisis. They need another scapegoat. And they've found one.
Howard Dean figured it out first. Speaking recently in Burlington, Vt., Dean blasted Republicans for making gay marriage the big issue in 2004: "There was only one reason for that. It wasn't to outlaw gay marriage," the DNC Chair pointed out. "Gay marriage was already against the law. It was simply to scapegoat a group of Americans for the purpose of winning elections and dividing us. In 2006, we see right now the next group Republicans are aiming at: immigrants."
Indeed, the tom-toms of hate are already beating. Listen to right-wing talkers Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others. Listen to Republican senators and members of Congress. Watch Fox News. They all repeat the same talking points: "Remember the Alamo! Thousands of crooks and terrorists are pouring across the border illegally every day. We must act before they take over our country and force us all to speak Spanish and eat rice and beans."
In terms of action, Republicans call for everything from building a fence from Texas to San Diego, to denying health care and education to immigrant children, to rounding up all undocumented workers and busing them back to Mexico, to deploying the Army along the border, to empowering citizen vigilantes to shoot border crossers on sight. Neither their manufactured crisis nor their proposed cures should be taken seriously.
No one denies that immigration is a problem. Not a crisis, but a problem. There are 10 million people, mainly Mexicans, living here illegally. They are taking jobs, driving down wages, crowding schools and clinics, and, some of them, committing crimes. At the same time, they are picking our crops, cleaning our homes, mowing our lawns, washing our cars, paying taxes, and, some of them, serving in the military.
The answer is not to scapegoat Mexicans or pretend they're all going back. The answer is to recognize the legal status of those already here, holding jobs, and raising their families, which Ronald Reagan did in 1986. And, at the same time, tighten up security to prevent more coming across the border illegally, which George W. Bush has failed to do.
The intelligence reform bill Bush signed into law in December 2004 called for doubling the size of the border patrol, adding 2,000 agents every year. Another broken promise. This year, Bush provided funding for only 210 new agents. Because of attrition and lack of funding, there are actually 500 fewer agents patrolling the border this year than last year. No wonder it's so easy to penetrate the tortilla curtain.
If Republicans were really interested in answers, they'd look north, not south. Seasonal workers coming from Canada must have a visa, are paid a minimum wage, covered by Canadian health care, and required to return home once the job is done.
That same system could be applied to workers from Mexico, if only they didn't have brown skins and were such easy targets for political hate speech.
Make no mistake about it. By fanning the flames of immigration, Republicans aren't looking for a solution. They're just trying to win another election by scaring us, dividing us and branding certain people as scapegoats. Last time, gays and lesbians. This time, immigrants. Who's next?
Whoever can win the Latino vote will win.
They definitely vote
even the illegals
discussed it with several of them on construction sites
the illegals they think they have the right to vote, that is BS
Geez is there nothing that these industrious people will do, they will even do the voting that most Americans are too lazy to do.
They even do the things that the lazy Americans WILL do, like welfare
Whoever wrote that piece has everything completely wrong and is a very poor observer of politics.
Say what? This is all wildly inaccurate. Gay marriage and scapegoating homosexuals was the main issue of 2004? Hardly. Not to mention, both Kerry and Bush agreed on not approving of gay marriage.
As for making illegal immigration a major political issue in 2006, I can only hope. Because as everyone who has a halfway decent grasp on reality knows, George Bush and the GOP are far beyond accomodating to illegal immigrants pouring over the border. Does the idiot who wrote this op/ed remember Bush's bright idea of granting asylum and citizenship to all Mexicans living illegally in the US? Does she know that Bush and Rove see Latinos as a rising demographic that natually tends towards conservative family values, a valuable base to cultivate and co-opt? George Bush and the Republican establishment absolutely LOVE illegal immigration. They think its fantastic with absolutely no downside or costs whatsoever.
What we're seeing now in the last week or so are DEMOCRAT politicians taking the initiative in calling for restrictions on illegal immigration, and hence appealling to voters wanting to curb illegal immigration. It's a vast pool of voters and a cause that no political party was interested in championing. If you wanted to do something to stop illegal immigration, you had nowhere to go. Now you do: the Democrats.
So what's all this bullshit about
Ordinary average citizens are saying this, not elected politicans or the party officials. Why are their concerns not serious or valid? The law's on their side, after all.
I agree, but I do think BOTH parties are going to be making promises regarding "immigration"
it was an obvious bush bashing article, calling for the same thing bush wants, legalization of illegals
They completely mistated the problems AND played the race card
I am just glad that the problem is getting more exposure