HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist




01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Monday, November 26, 2007

 
Misdirection

by digby


I've been observing discussions here and elsewhere about the immigration debate with increasing anxiety that the Republicans are going to get away with yet another misdirection perfectly designed to derail progressive hopes and dreams by stroking America's lizard brain. The election feels eerily reminiscent of 1992, when so-called reasonable centrists stoked the crazy man Ross Perot's campaign by backing his obsessive concern for "the deficit" which was nothing more than a weird abstraction into which misinformed discontented voters could pour their economic fears. The political result was that even though a Democrat won, instead of using the tax windfall from the tech boom to finance new initiatives for the public, the best he could do was hang on to the surplus for as long as possible and then watch as the Republicans passed it out to their rich friends like it was Christmas morning the minute they stole the election. Suckered, suckered, suckered.

This time, of course, the stupid irrelevant issue they are forcing into the ether is illegal immigration. And, like "the deficit" it is virtually designed to twist the Democratic candidates into pretzels as they help the Republicans once again misdirect the public to blame something other than the corrupt plutocrats who just pillaged the treasury for their woes.

Illegal immigration has long been a political football in America and this time is no exception. There have been bracero guest worker programs and repatriation programs from the beginning of the last century. During the 1950's, Eisenhower had tens of thousands of Latinos deported under Operation Wetback more than a few of them citizens. (Read that link if you want to see just how similar the arguments then were to today's.) Migration across the border has been present since before there was a border and it's a "problem" that always exists and nobody cares about until they suddenly ... do.

The thing progressives need to keep in mind is that only thing truly different in this latest "crisis" is the growing number of Latino citizens who are getting agitated by the predictably ugly tone of it and are starting to politically organize. That really is new and the ramifications of it are huge and important for both political parties. It is true that the voter registration drive after the massive rallies was disappointing. But those rallies are a sign of something very, very different in this age-old debate and the Republicans know it. That's why Rove tried so hard to get comprehensive immigration reform knowing very well that he had a short window to take credit among Latinos. They couldn't get it done, not because of the decent people we all know who are suddenly concerned about illegal immigration, but because of a very distinct cohort of the far right who even the old hardline racists are smart enough to know are on the wrong side of history on this one:


Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”


They gave their monster a megaphone and now they can't shut them up. ("As ye sow" and all that drivel.)

The issue tends to get ginned up whenever the plutocrats need to misdirect the people from their corruption and malfeasance, so I would be very suspicious of their "support" for CIR in this environment. There is every reason to believe that they will get behind any punitive border enforcement atrocity with everything they have (if they aren't behind it already.) As much as the Wall Street Journal likes to tout open borders, their real mission at the moment is keeping the people from demanding regulations and laws that will contain their massive greed and reduce income inequality. If it means shutting the border for a little while to keep the rubes from blaming the real culprits, that's a small price to pay.

But like it or not, the way they do this (over and over again) is by playing to certain xenophobic and racist impulses that are always present among some Americans (or which can be drawn out in others who might not think they have such impulses, but, in fact, do.) It's one thing to say that we shouldn't go around willy nilly calling people racists, but it's quite another to actually believe that racism and xenophobia are not in play in a major way.

We political junkies talk a lot about "intensity" when trying to figure out what issues people vote on and which issues to emphasize in an election. It takes very little scratching beneath the surface of this argument to come up with usual "they live like pigs," "they're diseased" and worse among those who say this is the most important issue facing the nation.

But that's not the whole story either. On their side the intensity is with racists and xenophobes who are pushing their ideas into the mainstream with fervor and focus. On our side the intensity is in all those Latino citizens and legal residents who are living with the same loathing and suspicion as their family members and acquaintances who once were or currently are "illegal" and that's what our side should be concerned about. Discounting all of those who we would love to see brought into the system, if even those Latinos who are currently registered fail to vote, we will lose Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Florida in the next election again when they should be blue all the way. (Check out the current state of the Democratic party in Louisiana now that it's been cleared of African American voters to see how this works.)

The Latino community -- the fastest growing voting bloc in America -- is rightfully very concerned by these condemnations of "illegals" as being diseased, dirty and criminal, since those who say such things don't bother to make certain important distinctions.

Back at the Help Save Manassas booth, volunteers wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "What part of illegal don't you understand?" displayed photographs of garbage-strewn houses and yards. One showed a tent next to an overturned wading pool propped up by a stick—overflow, Letiecq claimed, from a house full of illegals. An elderly woman in a Democratic Party T-shirt confronted a stocky ex-Marine named Steve, asking, "How do you know that the people living in these houses are illegal? Poor people would live like that, too."

"Ma'am, they're illegal. They are," Steve said. "You're in denial."


People like that have made sure that the Republicans have lost the Latino vote for the foreseeable future. They are making the best of it by falling back on their tried and true methods of vote suppression. The question for progressives is why Democratic leaders would help them do it by having Heath Shuller and half the caucus co-sponsor a punitive enforcement only bill that is a taxpayer boondoggle and a mandate to harrass the Latino community. It simultaneously legitimizes the extremist right wing (who love the bill, by the way) while telling Latino citizens that the Democratic party would rather appease racists like Tom Tancredo than stand up for them and insist on comprehensive immigration reform --- which they support in large numbers.

Of course not everyone who is concerned about illegal immigration are racists. But it is clear that the ones who claim "illegals" are dirty, diseased and depraved to make their argument are. I don't think the vast majority of Americans are comfortable with that kind of talk and if it's exposed, they might just wise up and realize they are being played -- and not want to be associated with such people. And it certainly would reassure our Latino brothers and sisters that the Democratic party is not a party that welcomes people who believe such things.


.

Search Digby!