An insightful analysis of R. and G.
Re your discussion, “The ‘conservative’ versus the liar,” I’d rather have the liar than the “conservative.”
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Romney is an ambitious man of the establishment of basically conservative mien, but no great conservative passion. This is less than optimal, but not completely unacceptable. Romney was comfortable with American society as it existed in say 1960, and lives his personal life in accord with that. He is not “hostile” to it. And as a technocrat, he is actually educable. We’ve seen that already on the idea of “self-deportation.” Someone has explained it to him in the course of the campaign, and he is intelligent enough, and understands supply and demand well enough, to understand it and has now embraced it (while Gingrich mocks it as impossible). Romney will not charge forward as I’d like, but if the issues arise, conservatives make their case, the Republicans in Congress are willing to move, he can be a positive force. For instance, it’s possible to see Romney actually coming to an understanding of what mass low-skill immigration is doing to the labor market for working class men, and how that affects their ability to be bread winners and have the sort of family life Mormons approve of and Romney signing onto serious immigration enforcement and restriction. It’s at least possible, because Romney is educable.
Gingrich is not educable, especially on any of the important issues related to the “National Question.”
He’s not educable, first, because he’s already thought about everything and has his own superior ideas, but beyond that he is fully on board with white racial guilt and racial atonement and minority pandering. He honestly believes—I think—that such issues are inappropriate and that racial issues can all be “fixed” by his brilliant schemes and programs which will create incentives and outcomes that make minorities “conservative.” Gingrich is on the wrong side of the National Question, is hostile to preserving white America and its culture, and is deeply invested in his own superiority. On the most important questions of the day, he is a liberal. Rather than believing in culture or morality, he believes in his own brilliance. In some sense Gingrich is the ultimate modern man. He has no fixed standard other than himself.
James P. writes:
Jim wrote that Romney is “educable” on the national question, and that “We’ve seen that already on the idea of ‘self-deportation.’”
I am not completely clear on what Romney has been “educated” to say [LA replies: Obviously, for Romney to advocate “self-deportation,” an idea that got him attacked as anti-immigrant by Gingrich, shows that he’s gone beyond the false and paralyzing “deportation versus amnesty” debate and understands that the answer is enforcement of existing laws leading to the steady disappearance of the illegal community via attrition], but it appears to me that Santorum has the best position on immigration, and even he says “we need immigration” because “we are not replacing ourselves” (January 26 debate). [LA replies: I repeat for the nth time, no one in this race, including Bachmann, has questioned our legal immigration policies; and no one in mainstream politics has questioned them in many years. The simple, brutal fact is that the continuing mass legal immigration which dooms us as a nation is not a live issue in U.S. politics now, and whoever is elected, that policy is not going to change. That is why we should focus on the things that we can reasonably hope to be changed by this election, such as Obamacare, and base our vote on that, not on an issue on which the Republicans and Democrats are in agreement, such as Muslim democratization and the wonderfulness of mass non-European immigration.]
On January 26, Romney was practically slobbering in his enthusiasm for continued mass immigration, so long as it is “legal”:
I am pro-immigrant. I want people to come to America with skill and vitality and vibrance. I want them to come legally. There are grandmothers that live on the other side of the border that are waiting to come here legally. I want them to come here, too, not just those that are already here.
So, it’s just fine if a bazillion Latinos bring their “skill and vitality and vibrance” here so long as they do it legally. He wants them here!
I don’t think anyone is interested in going around and rounding up people around the country and deporting 11 million Americans—or, excuse me 11 million illegal immigrants into America.
Was that a Freudian slip when he called illegal immigrants “Americans” or just a slip?
I think it’s important to remember, that there are three groups of people that are of concern to us. One are those that have come here illegally, 11 million. The second is the group of people who are brought over by coyotes and who are in many cases abused by virtue of coming into this country illegally. And the third, are the four to five million people who are waiting at home in their own nations trying to get here legally. They have family members here asking them to come here. Grandparents and uncles and aunts. Those are the people we have a responsibility for. And the second group as well, those that are abused. We—we’re concerned about them.
According to him we have a responsibility for people who want to emigrate here. So we have a positive duty and a burden of obligation for foreigners who want to come here—that’s insane! The U.S. government only has a responsibility for the American people, in my opinion. [LA replies: He simply means that we have a responsibility toward people who have applied to immigrate legally to the United States, and we shouldn’t undercut those people by giving legal status to illegal aliens.] I am not even sure why Americans should care about the difference between the first two groups he identifies. If illegals come here voluntarily or are “brought over by coyotes” and abused, either way, they present identical problems to the normal American citizen.
All I can say is that if Romney is “educable” we have a lot more educating left to do.
I repeat that you are attacking Romney over nothing. His stand on immigration—i.e., support for the continuing mass legal immigration of over a million a year—is no different from that of any other mainstream American politician. Your idea that Romney is particularly objectionable because of what he says here shows a lack of a grip of the subject. If you don’t like our present immigration laws, then blame AMERICA, blame ALL OF US, because it is we as a people who either SUPPORT these laws or are doing NOTHING to oppose them. To condemn Romney—and condemn him so harshly—for supporting something that the whole country supports is—I say it respectfully—incorrect.
Brandon F. writes:
The last two lines in Jim’s comment says it all. The double win he gets is identifying in simple terms what modern man is, which is much needed and worthy in itself, and identifying Gingrich as such.
Very good, Jim, and thank you LA for posting it.
James P. replies to LA:
Perhaps the thrust of my remarks was not entirely clear. I was not sure what Romney’s position was before he advocated “self-deportation”, so I did not (and still do not) understand how his position has evolved or how great his educational leap was. What I was trying to show is that there is not much reason to believe that Romney can be “educated” on the “national question” as Jim asserts. I was not saying that Romney is particularly objectionable. Rather, I was challenging Jim’s assertion that Romney is particularly un-objectionable, or is the least objectionable, or can be educated to be less objectionable. Given that Romney enthused about the “skill and vitality and vibrance” of Latino immigrants, Jim’s contention that Gingrich is “hostile to preserving white America and its culture” while Romney is not hostile does not appear supportable. Nor is it easy to believe Jim’s contention that Gingrich will pander to minorities while Romney will not, since I cited an example of Romney’s hispandering in the Florida debate, and no doubt other examples could be found. Just what do we think conservatives are going to do in order to educate a man who boasts “my father was born in Mexico”?
In sum, I am challenging Jim’s contention that there is a meaningful difference between Gingrich and Romney on immigration. Both candidates deserve serious criticism on this score. If no mainstream American politician deserves to escape condemnation from conservatives on immigration, then so be it.
Writ large, the idea that Romney, a man with a long track record as a moderate, can be educated or induced to become more conservative represents a triumph of hope over experience. Politicians come to Washington and become more liberal, not more conservative.
I understand that you were not trying to blame Romney in particular, but only intended to refute Jim’s argument that Romney is educable on issues related to the National Question. I would reply, first, that Romney may be educable on illegal immigration, even if he is not educable on legal immigration.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 31, 2012 10:41 AM | Send
The two issue are not only distinct, they are opposite from each other. Amnesty and support for illegal immigration are a now third rail in Republican politics. By contrast, the idea of substantially reducing our present legal non-European immigration is a third rail of Republican and American politics, and has been for decades. The closest mainstream politics got to that idea was the Barbara Jordan report about 20 years ago, and it was instantly consigned to oblivion.
So, again, the fact that Romney makes nice with legal immigration—a position that is obligatory on all mainstream U.S. politicians—does not prove that he is ineducable on illegal immigration. I disagree with you on that point. At the same time, now that I understand your argument better, I agree with you that Jim went too far in saying that there is any reason to believe that Romney is educable on the National Question as such.