Power working behind the scenes used to be so much more subtle. The pancake make-up was barely lifted from the president's increasingly haggard-looking face after last night's speech before the New York Times was providing cover on the left in an article that seeks to soften the president's image for those who are both ill-informed and unwise enough to believe that the measures he proposed were too "harsh." Earlier the paper had already acted as a conduit for Mexico's feigned concern about National Guard troops on the border.
I wonder how long it's been since the NYT used the kid gloves on Bush like this:
The headline news from President Bush's immigration speech on Monday was troops to the border, but in substance and tone the address reflected the more subtle approach of a man shaped by Texas border-state politics and longtime personal views.
In an effort to placate conservatives, Mr. Bush talked tough about cracking down on immigrants who slip across the United States' long border with Mexico.
But the real theme of his speech was that the nation can be, as he phrased it, "a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time" and that Congress could find a middle ground between deporting illegal immigrants and granting them immediate citizenship.
I barely recognize the man who invaded a nation on a fiction and casually threatens to nuke another:
Mr. Bush first met Mexican immigrants at public school in Midland, Tex., where Hispanics made up 25 percent of the population. Later, when he owned a small, unsuccessful oil company, he employed Mexican immigrants in the fields. When he was the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, he reveled in going into the dugout and joking with the players, many of them Hispanic, in fractured Spanglish.
What I love about this quote is how it reveals just how completely subsumed is the ritual of a Caucasian proving his moral worth by engaging his dark-skinned brethren. (Operative phrase here: "unsuccessful oil company.")
There's something else besides the contrived nature of this article that bothers me. This should be a damning charge, yet it's treated as benign:
At the same time, Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's veteran political adviser, recognized that there was potential in the Hispanic vote and that Republicans could appeal to them on abortion, religion and family values.
"Karl has always been a strong believer that Hispanics were a natural Republican constituency," Mr. Burka said. "He once told me that 'we have about 15 years to put this together.' "When Mr. Bush got to the White House, immigration was going to be a signature issue, a key to his relationship with President Vicente Fox of Mexico and essential in attracting Hispanic voters to a Republican Party that Mr. Rove envisioned as dominant for decades to come.
Why do we allow our president, indeed, our entire political class, to openly assesses electoral prospects when considering far reaching policy that will permanently alter our country's demography and class structure? This should be taken for granted: It is profoundly unethical for politicians to allow prospective electoral gain to determine immigration policy, and will lead to the eventual destruction of the country as we know it. Tell everyone you know. Go to your windows and shout it out into the street, like the masses in Network. Allow me to be your Howard Beale. I never thought he was that crazy anyway, even when he was hearing voices. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you younger folk out there, go out today and rent Network. One of the best films of all time.
I don't know. Am I the crazy one? Why are we allowing this? In broad daylight, no less. Am I naive to find this all too sinister?
After all, having one dominant party has been a smashing success thus far. Why wouldn't we want to extend the last five years into mid-century? What need have we for opposition to wars of adventure, ever spiralling deficits, and, yes, open borders?
Outside of the blogs it seems like everyone, except a few conservatives in the House and Lou Dobbs, is colluding on this. Next we'll see the disingenuous poll results, trying to portray a shift in opinion toward "compromise." This is like sitting with a pair of dubious friends who are trying to talk you into something without letting on that they've already discussed it thoroughly. Of course you should go ahead with that trip to Iraq, Dennis. Don't worry, we'll watch your girl, your stereo, your wide screen TV. Go on, it'll be great.