Bush’s open-borders politics transcends politics

Once again, the rest of the world has caught up with VFR. For years, contributors at this site have been obsessing on President Bush’s seemingly impenetrable motives, while most of the rest of America simply hated him or loved him. Now it seems everyone has become aware of the utter strangeness of Bush, and is trying to figure him out. Thus Parapundit repeats speculations on Bush (including those of a disgusting nature) by the Darwinian reductionist Gregory Cochran, and the blogger Clayton offers several possible explanations on why President Bush keeps pushing open borders so hard despite the damage it is causing him. Clayton’s ideas include: (1) Bush has made a deal with Mexico whereby Mexico apprehends terrorists in exchange for us letting in illegals; (2) Bush is afraid that if we shut off the flow of illegal immigrants, Mexico would erupt into revolution; (3) Bush is concerned that cutting off the supply of illegal laborers would drive up labor rates, causing inflationary pressures on the U.S. economy; (4) Bush is concerned about alienating Hispanic U.S. citizens and residents; (5) Bush is pandering to corporate interests that want cheap and docile labor.

I don’t find these theories compelling or even plausible. To me it is plain as day that Bush’s open borders fixation does not proceed from an ordinary political or rational calculation. It is supra-rational. It is of the nature of what Eric Voegelin called the concupiscential drive to empire.

Specifically, Bush is a true believing liberal. America’s white racism, which so cruelly and artificially separates us from our brown brothers to the south, must be overcome, by breaking down our borders, breaking down all resistance to the open borders creed, turning American into a nonwhite country, and creating a new order. There must be no compromise. Open borders are to Bush what the League of Nations was to Wilson.

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VFR’s favorite Bush analyst, Howard Sutherland, writes:

Interesting speculation from Cochran and Cramer. I have some other speculations of my own, typed as I listen in on a conference call. I do not know Mr. Bush. But I know people in Texas who do, as well as someone who knew him quite well at Andover and someone else who knew him well as a business school classmate. The common comment is that he is gregarious but cocky—arrogant, even, when he doesn’t rein himself in (Laura may be his monitor about that). He kicked the bottle, which might make him cockier still when he compares himself to others with petty vices. His brand of Christianity is conducive to moral self-confidence, justified or not. Bush is also a born-and-bred establishment liberal. For all the Texas accent, he belongs (patrician Greenwich family; Andover; Yale; Harvard) to a bipartisan Northeastern liberal elite. That set may have been wrong about most things in the end, but during his schooldays they were quite sure they were right. With the possible exception of abortion, he does not question fundamental liberal assumptions. His foreign policy is nothing but armed liberalism, and his domestic policies are those of Lyndon Johnson, only worse. Bush used that Texas accent and phrases like “compassionate conservatism” to fool the Republican rubes. Other people may see him as dumb; I think Bush sees himself as smart, successful and in charge. I don’t put much stock in his being in some sort of psychological contest with his father. Any feelings of inferiority he might have had on that score would have vanished when he beat the old man’s record by winning re-election.

That might explain the cocky certitude, which in turn might explain why so far he refuses any course change re his determination to keep America open to illegal aliens as well as immigrants. What explains the immigration fixation, especially re Mexicans? I say immigration advisedly because I don’t think Bush distinguishes between immigrants and illegal aliens. They are all potential contributors to the new diverse America that he, like Clinton, welcomes.

First, as you have said, in pushing open borders he is just being himself: a self-satisfied liberal who believes he knows what is best and that any resistance to mass immigration/illegal entry is white racism. Because they are racists, and beyond the pale, Bush doesn’t even owe restrictionists an explanation. They are to be shunned and defeated. Here I think his liberal certitude is fortified by his evangelical Christianity (presuming it is sincere): Bush believes he is doing what Jesus would do, which surely trumps what the U.S. Constitution (for which he has no obvious respect) requires him to do.

But why Mexico? Throughout his life, Bush has been exposed to nice Mexicans. At the lower end, there were probably nice maids and ranch hands who helped out around the place and, in their way, helped raise him. For all I know, the Mexican maids were nicer to him than his mother, who is a formidable woman. At the upper end, there were the elegant, erudite, fun and mind-bogglingly rich Mexican oligarchs with whom his father did business and politics, and whose playboy children would have been some of Bush’s playmates in his partying days. He just likes Mexicans. I think he likes them better than Americans. The Mexican functionaries he meets are a lot more like the people he goes hunting with in Texas (some are the same people) than any of his geek Washington advisers. Like many people I know in Texas, he is very comfortable with Mexican culture seen through a tex-mex lens. I like it myself, and I am a sworn enemy of the Mexican government. Bush probably has better memories overall of relations with Mexicans throughout his life than he does with Americans. I would bet that while his personal experiences of his fellow Americans have been good and bad, his experiences of Mexicans have been almost all good from his point of view. He won’t see the bad in Mexico; he hasn’t experienced it and, anyway, to criticize Mexico on social or cultural grounds would be racist. Not gonna happen…

Bush also has those Mexican in-laws, and his half-Mexican nephew, who for years now has been an explicitly hispanic political campaigner. He may well see all those Mexicans as potential George P votes down the road. His family is more important to him than all those other Americans he doesn’t know, and he believes that Bushes ruling America is exactly as it should be. The family solidarity of the Bushes, in public and private life, reminds me more than a little of those same Mexican oligarchs, although the Bushes are not as rich as the Mexican top tier.

Finally, there is the possibility that Mexicans are paying him to keep the border open. The gringo safety valve is enormously important to them as it allows them to do business as usual while not bothering with inconvenient domestic reforms. If so, it might not be the government, it might be oligarchs like the Slim or Hank families. The Bushes have been accused of being in bed with corrupt Mexicans (and Arabs) before. Perhaps the payoff is less in cash than in a secure, luxurious, extradition-proof post-White House Mexican residence for GW and Laura. Who really knows? Such determination to do Mexico’s bidding, and the willingness to do it openly, must have an explanation – a Mexican explanation.

Also, here is a dated but in-depth look at Bush and his Mexican connections.

Stephen T. writes:

Sutherland has nailed it!

Anecdote: I once worked in Texas for a wealthy man who, like Bush, had been sent to prep schools and eastern universities by his rich parents. He had never done manual labor or gotten his hands dirty in his life. Yet, he desperately wanted to see himself—and be seen by others—as some sort of hard-scrabble, self-made man of Texas lore. He employed many illegal Mexicans on work sites. Whenever he would talk about them (he referred to them as “my Mexicans”), a homespun Texas twang would abruptly enter his voice, and he would momentarily assume the persona of an oil field roughneck or grizzled ranch hand. For some reason, a crew of subservient Mexican nationals shoveling dirt at Third World wages seemed to bring this out in him in a way no one else could. He would describe to us how he admired them for working long hours for the dirt-cheap pay he gave them—something we knew he himself would never be caught dead doing. He seemed to want us to believe that, if only fate had not so cruelly deprived him of the opportunity, he would be right down there in those ditches beside his Mexicans: “Simple folk … doin’ hard work the hard way … sumpin’ only a real man like me unnerstands … gittin’ that job done (insert sound of spitting on ground here) … not like them lazy ‘mericans back East.”

The rest of the time he would be telling us about his tax shelters, his classic Porsche, and his ski lodge in Aspen.


Leaving aside the specific references to Mexicans, he sounds exactly like the protaganist in Tom Wolfe’s (very poor, in my opinion) novel, A Man in Full.

Spencer Warren writes:

Great material on your blog once again!

Your thesis is quite plausible on why El Presidente Jorge B (Which I shall always now use) pushes his position despite it destroying him and his party (a highly unusual “Profile in Courage” except like all his family he is so dumb it is really a Profile in Stupidity).

This also fits in with the view he acts on his “gut” and has a misguided sense of “principle,” as on Iraq, and is arrogant as well. But he is notional, not a conceptualist like Wilson, who had least held a Ph.D. Perhaps he started out as a water carrier for big business and his circle, then embraced the notion you explained as he was forced by circumstance to address the issue. Add messianism, arrogance and stupidity, and there we are!

And as you and one of your correspondents wrote, there is in truth NO conservative position. It has been blocked by Kristol and the neocons, Fox News, Limbaugh and the other B-lovers (who, like Rush and Mark Levin, NEVER mention B when they complain about immigration), and by Buckley’s ruination of National Review (home of the intellectually flaccid phony David Frum and the adolescents). Pat B is no help because of his extremism. So that leaves you and some other blogs. Other than Tancredo, there is no politician and none who will stand for president as a true conservative.

Limbaugh, Buckley, NR et al are major enemies of true conservatism; objectively (as the Marxists would say) they help the left.

Much of the above applies to homosexuality and other social and cultural issues as well.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 11, 2006 04:52 PM | Send

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