With Immigration, Mittens Actually Has to Do Something.

The fascination of the day is what the Republicans and Mitt Romney are going to do — actually DO, not just bloviate over and obfuscate — about immigration. The laissez-faire, Libertarian,what’s good for Bain Capital is good for America crowd are on the horns of a dilemma with this one.

Since President Obama went unilateral (at long last) with his decision to stop prosecuting children of “illegal” immigrants, Romney and his advisors have been flapping around like an invasive carp tossed up on the banks of the Rio Grande. To agree with Obama is … well, that’s not even conceivable. The GOP position since November ’08 is to never agree with Obama on anything and blame him for everything, including, as is always worth reminding, the multi-trillion debt run-up of the George W./Dick Cheney administration. Not to mention their inability to push sensible immigration reform past their troglodyte partisans, many of whom are eager to believe that wave after wave of brown-skinned types are pouring across our borders beheading patriotic ranchers and god knows, fornicating with livestock, instead of, you know, picking strawberries in the Central Valley.

The problem is exacerbated because immigration is an issue that actually requires discernible action. You really do have to do something. Immigration is an issue that delivers a lot of immediate, empirical feedback to the effected. This is in contrast to the central — and easily/constantly obfuscatable — tenet of modern conservatism which is that packing on more (and more) tax relief for “job creators” is the only way to restart the economy. With that one conservative partisans can argue ad nauseam that the current level of tax relief is never enough, that liberals are continuing to practice “class warfare” against the only productive members of society, that Barney Frank and Fannie Mae caused the Wall St. meltdown and that “out of control” government spending, requiring laying off thousands of middle class government workers is the only possible way to achieve fiscal balance and employment growth.

They can say all that because the average low information voter finds finance bewildering and is generally inclined to believe that all government — on every level — is inhabited by a bunch of hopeless screw ups.

But … immigration … either the government does something to rectify the problem, or it doesn’t. By stopping the prosecution of young people here because of their parents and opening a path toward citizenship, Obama is doing … something. Still not a lot, but something to alleviate a long, long-festering problem that wouldn’t have festered nearly so long if the modern GOP had any serious intention of, you know, running the government like business. In business you identify problems and solve them. In politics, which is, let’s be honest, is all the Republicans are ever doing these days, you play inane rhetorical games and create as much chaos as possible in hopes of gaining back full power … at which point you can double down your tax cut dreams for the “job creators”.

Another irony with the immigration issue is that the presence of so many “illegals”, (and I use quote marks to suggest that there is a qualitative difference between illegal immigration to do work no American wants to do, and homicidal rampaging), has been shown to be a modest net gain for the economy. This is due to significant gains for the “illegal” fruit pickers and leaf blowers AND the corporate farmers, ranchers, slaughterhouse operations that employ them. (Not so much for school districts and hospitals.)

Presumably a good chunk of those large-scale farm and livestock interests are sympathetic to other Republican policies — like more tax cuts. But as it is, even they aren’t getting relief from the GOP. Large scale employers remain as vulnerable to INS raids as ever, although they are hardly the key villain in the minds of Tea Party conservatives as the Guatemalan who shows up in Pueblo, Colorado with a pair of sandals and a sleeping bag.

In general, Mitt Romney has nothing constructive to offer on any issue you can mention. (The thought of someone as gelatinous as Romney making foreign policy decisions is truly frightening.) But where he can fake it by bewildering the cynical public about finance, job creation with economic double-speak, when it comes to immigration he has to come up with something that actually … does something.

Unless its tax relief for private equity wealth creators, “doing something” ain’t Mitt’s game.

23 thoughts on “With Immigration, Mittens Actually Has to Do Something.

  1. “as gelatinous as Romney”
    That is so good! I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to use that. The entire post is very good. Thanks.

  2. The very terms “illegals” and “illegal aliens” fly all over me and especially when used in that disparaging tone by “good Christian patriots” ( conservative patriots: “they love their country–they just hate half the people in it,” as Jon Stewart puts it). At least the terms are an improvement over the words I grew up with in Texas (“wetbacks” and “Mescans”) where in spite of some callous prejudice and of course some ugly racism here and there Mexicans and Anglos have largely lived in amiable and trusting relationships and still do. (Never mind that those American icons of the Old West, the real Texas Rangers, were terrorists who assassinated God only knows how many Mescans merely suspected of crimes as recently as the fifties.) Tea Party types freshly arrived in our storied state of Texas from other states haven’t a clue about the Mexican-TExican culture and dynamic and sometimes unknowingly start hate speeching around some fifth generation Texas blood like me who (like me) might has a wonderful son-in-law and two grandchildren whose grandparents benefitted from amnesty by that European socialist Ronald Reagan.
    What’s really strange in all this–wasn’t it Romney’s own grandfather or somebody with those Mexican ties? And yet Romney wouldn’t know a Dallas barrio from a Taco Bell burrito. Or one of them French quiches.
    “Those people” are not illegals and certain not aliens–a word that must fly all over God Himself/Herself as much as He/She addresses alien issues in the Hebrew Testament. (“Remember YOU were aliens in a foreign land. . . . be kind to the alien . . .”)
    They are God’s children, human beings and, if you must, undocumented workers.

    1. Erik says:

      Commielib irony-speak is kinda lost on me, Godbotter. His lack of knowledge on Mexican food or Dallas barrios speaks to what exactly?

      Romney’s forebears were ethnic Europeans in a Mexico City Mormon colony. And it was a hundred years ago. Mitt grew up in Michigan. He hasn’t been a xenophobic hardliner on immigration

      1. Commielib???
        Are you implying that I’m a Commie something like one gutless Eric the anonymous?
        Not very neighborly of you and let me say as clearly and directly to you, sir, or ma’am, that I do not appreciate and could have done without it.
        But having started out mindlessly branding me that way I’m not surprised that irony is lost on you. I am however impressed that you apparently read my comments all the way through. You probably should give your lips a rest now.
        Grace and peace, amigo.

    1. Rev. McKay: please accept my apology for your treatment here. Without speaking for the rest of The Crowd, we like to think we’re encouraging an intelligent, civil discussion. But a decision was made not to moderate the comments section.

      1. Oh no problem, Brian, and no apology really necessary from you but I do much appreciate your grace in the apology. I obviously have strong feelings about immigrants (see the link to my blog about it that I included in my reply if any doubt about that) and also strong feelings about casually dismissing people or what they have to say, our President included, as Commie. I’ve traveled far and wide in “the former Soviet Union, China and a lot of communist countries on mission trips or just out of curiosity and may know a bit more about Communism that most, maybe even more than Eric the Anonymous.
        I would have told Eric the Anonymous (brave man) that I could see President Obama coming into the Dallas barrio where I lived myself for five years and his being perfectly comfortable with the people there in a way that the candidate or the President Romney could not begin to be. Romney is sitting back and letting everybody else do the demagoguing on the Dream Act for him, as usual, since the only core conviction or belief he has in anything whatsoever is tax cuts for the rich. To say that is not to engage in commie “class warfare,” nor being a liberal or anything else, but a fact that everybody knows. However strong he may decide to come out on the issue, he’ll “flip-flop” in a debate with Obama on it if it hurts him politically. As it turns out, Obama is reaping the political benefits anyway from people who’ve taken the time to understand what the decision to lift an unjust law was about.
        If he and his friend the Senator from Florida had anything like any real guts and convictions about them they would have simply praised Obama to the high heavens for doing something so moral and high-minded and fair to these young people and simply the right thing to do even if there was political calculation in it. But as Brian suggested, Romney is too lacking at his very core, whatever core there may be in all that gelatin, to just do something. I’ve said enough and probably too much and outta here.

      2. Erik says:

        Your earnestness gives me regret, Rev. McCay. I apologize.

        I did think your craftsmanship of irony vis a vis Mitt and immigration was fairly cheap liberal sentiment first time around. And lacking in ironic facts. I’m obnoxious, and I was thus moved to bait you.

        Your second entry is formidable in its empathy.

        I’ll leave these pages now for a few months. I announce it not for drama, but just so I keep my own word. Maybe I’ll return on election day to have a good gloat.

        Lambo, your civility must be the other thing you’re well known for. You know… besides your great intellectual abilities.

  3. Happened to just check my email and thanks, Eric, and no problem. Whatever one might think of Lam’s politics he is a formidable writer and thinker, the main reason I look in here sometimes even though the whole Rowdy crowd is formidable in their convictions and I respect anybody with formidable intellect no matter what their political persuasion. Blessings on you.

  4. PM says:

    Hey, Rev:

    Glad you showed up, but please, no thin skins around here. By all means, speak forcefully and forthrightly, and the more intellectual the better. I tend to prefer it when we are respectful and honest, and are able to tamp down the ad hominems, but it doesn’t always work out that way, sort of like the real world. So, glad you are around, and please don’t take offense if things sometimes get a bit heated–somehow we still seem to get back to the main points. And, there are those moments when you find yourself in agreement with someone you never would have believed possible….

    I suppose that I am just saying that it was nice of Brian to apologize, but that really isn’t the norm around here. And you seem like someone who is perfectly capable of taking care of yourself.


  5. john sherman says:

    On another issue, I observed more coverage of that story than I wanted to, but I doubt there were ten seconds directly addressing the question as to whether Obama’s decision was good policy. Even staid and responsible public radio went on endlessly about the politics of the decision as did everyone else.

    On this as well as every other issue the coverage is who’s up/who’s down political horse race coverage with almost no sense that policy decisions affect people’s lives for better or worse. What happens to whom ought to be the first rather than last question the media addresses.

  6. Newt says:

    Rev & Lambo,

    Where to start?

    First, chasing off Erik was dumb.

    Second, immigration is so needlessly complicated. There are two fundamental questions to answer:

    (a) How many immigrants does America want/need?
    (b) How do we make it happen, legally?

    These questions are distinctly different from the prevailing anarchist/liberal belief that the U.S. does not require borders or citizenship. Witness His Lordship Obama who with a wave of his wand last week declares the prevailing law (the one that restrained him for 3 years until political desperation kicked in) null and void. Et voila!

    We are 90 days away from a new president who, like Obama, could choose to impose his own morality over the written law. Will the Good Reverend and Lambo still be consistent in their support of executive discretion?

    To that point I ask: Now that US citizenship has become optional or needless, what other American laws are optional? How about paying taxes?

    Citizenship by definition presumes borders, laws and, yes, exclusion. Period. This means nations are self-interested. Democratic nations have laws and mechanisms to determine who is worthy of entry. Dictatorships do it by decree (last week in our case). Unless you are honest and self-aware enough to declare yourselves anarchists, this is reality.

    And finally, painting Romney as a racist is baseless and hateful, especially from a man of the cloth. And “being comfortable” in a barrio might feel good to a guilt-ridden liberal, but it’s not a presidential credential, nor should it be.

    Obama is a failed, teleprompter-driven media creation. He had his shot. We desperately need a president with a semblance of substance.

    1. john sherman says:

      At the risk of intruding reality into your discourse: Obama has done more to tighten the borders than Bush including kicking out illegal immigrants; immigration from Mexico is essentially a wash with about as many people entering as leaving. And according to crime statistics the Arizona border is one of the safer places in the country.

      We’re talking about kids who were brought into the country at say age 3 and have spent 25 years here going to our schools, working in our business and sometimes serving in our military. Isn’t a little late to worry about whether they somehow deserve to be here?

      My ancestors have been straggling into this country since before there was a United States of America; their rigors had more to do with sea sickness that immigration barriers. The highest standard any of them had to meet was being from Northern Europe and not having t.b.

  7. I don’t think we ran Eric off, and certainly hope not; he said he was going to go away a while and–silly, naive me– I actually believed him.
    I wasn’t painting Romney as a racist in any hateful manner or any other way because hatred isn’t in my vocabulary, much less my heart. There is a difference in hatred and tough-minded moral and spiritual convictions that have nothing to do with liberal or conservative as far as I’m concerned. Me, I was rooting for Ron Paul most of the time in the those entertaining mud wrestling matches billed as debates, if only because he’s the one man in America who has the gonads to criticize unbridled defense spending and global military adventurism with zero accountability to go with it.
    Painting Romney as woefully out of touch with all those money-making restaurants and supermarkets and hard working mom and pop store owners in the barrios–owned and operated by Latino/a members in good standing in glitzy downtown Chambers of Commerce and those nice but modest barrio buildings with “Hispanic Chamber of Commerce” signs out front–yes, I painted him out of touch. May by why, from the conservative blogs and mags I read, even Rubio has tried to get him out to chow down with the barrio street vendors, who are legal, conservative, genuinely family values Catholics and Pentecostals who vote.
    IN fact, I don’t know who or what Romney is in touch with, but I have my suspicions. I’m not going to put my suspicions to words lest I be accused of being some kind of guilt-ridden librul Communist/Marxist/Socialist peddling in class division.
    Tough crowd here at Rowdy.

    1. Erik says:

      I didn’t get chased off. I suspended myself for being too rhetorically absurd to be present in my own company, let alone others.
      Anyway, suspension over. Like I was going to stay away.

      As much as anything, I have hostility to assumptions of conservative racism. Insofar as Romney “has to do something” on immigration, and that this is an uncomfortable spot for him to be in, it’s ostensibly because the conservative base is a bunch of racists, right? And additionally that he has to attract Hispanic votes to win?

      Well no. The base isn’t racist. And if it was the base wouldn’t peel away at this point. There probably aren’t an enormous amount of Hispanic votes to take from Obama. This issue is not all that consequential, and Romney is going to win comfortably.

      This Romney as xenophobe meme strains credulity, I tell ya. Or Romney as snob. He comes off as even tempered and gracious

  8. Without getting into the substance of this debate, which is rolling out to be a great one, I want to tell Erik that I do not believe you have gone too far in expressing your comments most of the time. It’s only when you get personal that you make things uncomfortable for me, anyway.

    But we need you, Erik, and Newt, and and Mike K. and thomas and anyone else who brings a different perspective to our thoughts. After all, there are 3 answers to every question: Yours, Mine and the Truth.

  9. A most excellent point about the all elusive truth, Ellen. I pray for humility in my convictions, political and religious, every day, literaly pray to God for that, because that’s who I am and my faith and i’m not going to sermonize and say everybody should be as I and do or believe as that’s not my theology of evangelism.. I will say I just try to remind myself a hundred times a day of my theology in a nutshell which is that we are all broken people doing the best we can in a broken and violent world and all standing in need of God’s endless love, grace, tender mercies and healing power. I see plenty to condemn and harshly judge in both candidates but also try not to lose sight of what I see as two decent and admirable family men.
    Praise God and Elvis and pass the gravy.

    1. “We are all broken people doing the best we can in a broken and violent world and all standing in need of God’s endless love, grace, tender mercies and healing power.” What a testament to humanity.

      I want to join YOUR church, Reverend. Thank you.

      1. PM says:

        Wow. Now i am jealous–both of you are going to be getting rich! (maybe you’ll buy a round for the rest of us at our next get together?)

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