A World of His Making: Newt Gingrich and the Far-Right Mind

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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158 Responses

  1. BSK says:

    But racist? Plausibly not!

    Until it becomes apparent that all the “bad” ones tend to be the brown ones.  It sounds like what you MIGHT be saying is that conservatives want to be racist without being called racist…?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to BSK says:

      Well, most illegal immigrants* are brown to begin with. Those that aren’t tend to be those that overstayed their visas (and therefore had something going for them in order to get the visa in the first place – and many of them are brown from a different place).

      Which is the rub, really. Because as long as illegal immigrants tend towards being brown-skinned, there will be people that will be able to suggest that concern over illegal immigration (unless the cure is blanket amnesty and/or open borders) are racist. This would only make sense if it can reasonably be suggested that if the illegal immigrants were white there would be no problems. Our history does not suggest this to be the case.

      * – FWIW, my view of illegal immigrants from the “who are they and what do they want” standpoint tends to be pretty benign. They are people from underdeveloped nations who want a better life and don’t have a reasonable option to do so within our current legal framework. There are exceptions, of course – people who come here with further criminal intent – but I do not consider this to be close to the norm. But I don’t think it has to be in order to be wary of illegal immigration.Report

      • Well, I’m not sure how useful it is to compare the racial politics of 100+ years ago to today…if we look only at skin color, then it’s *possible* to say, See — Irish, Jewish, and Italian people (among others) were discriminated against, therefore opposition to immigration is not race-based. But that would be a somewhat ahistorical bit of analysis, imo.

        At the time, racial categories weren’t quite as simple as ours today; it wasn’t important to be white so much as it was important to be the right kind of white (and in truth a lot of people we consider white today weren’t “granted” the label by their contemporaries back then). Anyway, not to belabor the point, but looking back to the immigration of the late-19th and early-20th centuries gives just as much reason to conclude that xenophobia and racism *are* inextricable (at least in the American context).Report

        • If we had a massive influx of Polish Plumbers, do you think our response would be more enlightened than those of the Brits? I don’t think it would, even with the racial categories we have today. Is the pushback against immigrants aggravated by racial differences? I would say it is. Is it caused by it? I don’t think it is.

          I would say that racism and xenophobia are linked, but not in the way you do I guess. Racism is a form of xenophobia. And, by virtue of immediate identification, an aggravator of it. But all xenophobia is not racist, even when there are racial differences.

          In the Mormon West, there is a fair amount of resentment towards the influx of gentiles. This is xenophobic in a sense, but certainly not racial in nature. People like me who arrived there were disrupting their culture. We vote the wrong way, have different attitudes towards homosexuality, tolerance, and a host of other issues. The same is true, to a lesser extent, across the Mountain West with (white) California transplants. I hear complaints all the time.

          And I would lastly add that thought it is something of a loaded word, not all xenophobia is created equal. Diversity comes at the cost of cultural disruption. Language barriers, cultural barriers, and a loss of cultural solidarity. It may be the case that the benefits are worth the costs, but the benefits and costs are not equally distributed. And along those lines, I am more sympathetic to someone who is frustrated by significant cultural differences (be it Mormons or speakers of another language or adherence to a different set of social norms) than simple racial differences. This is complicated, of course, by the fact that racial differences frequently come with cultural differences, but that doesn’t make them the same thing.Report

          • It’s a really interesting topic. I kinda wanna turn my response into a post, because you’ve written so much here, and raised so many good points, it seems a waste to keep this in a comment thread.Report

            • This is going to sound so much like a “me” thing to say that it’s going to border on self-parody, but…

              Wouldn’t it be helpful if one side just admitted that yeah, whatever problems there may be, due to geography and comparative national economic strength it is made up of predominantly brown skinned people and it’s not racist to point that out… and the other side just admitted that yeah, part of why a bunch of our folks are so bent out of shape this precisely because they’re brown, but despite that we still think there’s still a problem that needs to be dealt with.

              Otherwise, I don’t know how we ever get to the point where we can have a meaningful national dialogue.Report

              • Otherwise, I don’t know how we ever get to the point where we can have a meaningful national dialogue.

                We don’t. But demographics play their part, and the “other side” loses. And that’s how the conversation ends.Report

              • It feels like if that’s the case, then our choice is either pretend there are no economic issues to be dealt with due to illegal immigrations (including tax revenue), or pretend that we’ll all have more money and be happier if only we got rid of all the Mexicans, and be OK treating any here at the moment as an enemy of the State.

                I don’t see how either is much of a “win” for us, except in the “keeping score against the other side” kind of way.Report

              • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                “It feels like if that’s the case, then our choice is…”

                Or attrition. Let’s not overlook the obvious.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:


                Meaning they just all get up and go home?Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                No, it means they go about their business as usual. Then when one leaves, one way or another, he’s not replaced. How do you think attrition usually works?Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                I wasn’t following where you were going.  Why would they not be replaced?Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Because we secured the border and they can’t get in.Report

              • Pat Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                Because we secured the border and they can’t get in.

                Please tell me a plan to do this credibly, and its total cost.

                The U.S. -> Canada border is 8,891 kilometers long.  The U.S. -> Mexico border is 3,169 km.

                U.S. Coastal length is an additional 19,924 km.

                There are, additionally, 19,820 airports in the United States, a goodly number of which are within a light plane’s distance of one border or another.

                There are, additionally, a number of ports in the United States.  Both the airports and the ocean ports allow international traffic, which may or may not have the same authentication and identification principles you can put into place at the physical border.Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                $3B is the number you see most often, and most of the sources are critical, eg, this one:


                That’s for US-Mexico. The other borders aren’t important, because illegal immigrants for the most part don’t come in that way.

                For example, the US-Canada border is twice as long and almost completely undefended. But, for an immigrant to enter the US from Canada, they must first get to Canada (or be born there). But that’s a highly unrealistic proposition, not least because of Canadian immigration policy, which is much harsher than ours.

                But Pat, it’s difficult for me to understand why you make me point these things out to you when surely you know them already yourself. Or maybe not?Report

              • wardsmith in reply to Koz says:

                Patrick, Back when Ellis Island was “open” you were a fool to try and come in through a different path if you wanted citizenship. We could have an Ellis Island 2 on some island on the Rio Grand (my geography knowledge is limited in this area, I think there was an island called Padre in the river, no idea if it is big enough) or elsewhere along the border. The infrastructure could be built, the databases and DNA sampling setup, whatever was needed. Everywhere but there could be classified as illegal entry. Make it easy enough to come in through the front door and the only ones sneaking in the back door are bad guys by definition. Easy enough to keep track of them, and I believe the stigma of being an alien would disappear within a generation.

                We’ve all seen the movies of people traveling around within a country (usually European) and official demanding to see their “papers”. The US simply has no equivalent. When Arizona attempts to do this they are sued by Obama’s Justice Department (even though Arizona is merely enforcing FEDERAL LAW).

                Let’s face it, we don’t even really know how many people (legal and otherwise) are in this country today. The methodology is fundamentally flawed. We hear numbers all the time like 12-15 million illegal aliens are living here but those are just estimates. Unless and until we start going door to door, we won’t know and can’t know. Until they embed the identity chips into us that is. 😉Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                If it’s really that much of a problem, why not just go after employers?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                Employers donate to re-election funds. Human beings who merely happen to not have a piece of paper that you think they should have you racist don’t.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                That’s why candidates pitch a fence.  Why do voters embrace it?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s because of a particular dynamic when it comes to the country of origin and specifically the *LANGUAGE* of the lion’s share of the human beings who merely happen to not have a piece of paper that you think they should have you racist.

                There is a particular region that most of the human beings who merely happen to not have a piece of paper that you think they should have you racist come from, you see… and a sizable chunk of the human beings who merely happen to not have a piece of paper that you think they should have you racist are perfectly content not speaking English.

                On top of that, there are a number of capitalist enterprises that have said “we could make a mint catering to the human beings who merely happen to not have a piece of paper that you think they should have you racist” and have television shows in Spanish, radio shows in Spanish, and it has reached the point where it makes sense for any given corporation with a 1-800 number have a phone tree where the first thing it tells you to do is “press 1 for English” rather than have it just be assumed that that’s what you want to speak.

                And people who are a certain age or older remember when they were the majority and now it feels more and more like they are not… so there’s this thwarted entitlement going on. Additionally, there’s a dynamic where they don’t feel like they can even really complain about the human beings who merely happen to not have a piece of paper that you think they should have you racist without having their motives questioned if not downright insulted and so a huge chunk have decided to say “may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb”… and there will always be at least one politician who will explain that there’s nothing wrong with wanting a sheep (proverbially).Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                My favorite part of this conversation is the “you racist” part.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                One fun thing to imagine is to take a particular behavior of a particular immigrant group and then have Americans act that way if they moved to, say, Denmark.

                Does anything change in the dynamic when you think about a bunch of Americans living in Denmark but not particularly inclined to learn Danish?Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                Um…. No.  It seems cool to me if that’s what they want to do.  It’s kind of their choice.  What is your point?Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                Also, I’m getting the subtle jab but am confused… who is it that I am accusing of being a racist?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Koz says:

                Tod, the vast majority of people who want a fence also want increased enforcement of employers. Nobody can really argue against the latter, though nobody wants to really take the initiative, so we debate the fence and enforcement against the illegal immigrants themselves.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                I’m actually not intending to be that oblique.

                It strikes me that if a bunch of Americans went over to live in Denmark for years at a time but refused to learn Danish then that would be, at the very least, rude. Would they have the “right” to do that? Of course. Would I even sympathize with them? Certainly (I’m old enough to not want to learn another language).

                I’m not accusing you of accusing anyone of being racist. It’s more that there is an undercurrent among some of the more vocal pro-immigration forces (of which I consider myself one) that anyone who disagrees with them is racist.

                Personally, I take the attitude that saying “you can’t live here” is somewhat analogous to telling someone that they cannot purchase a house in a particular neighborhood. Strict anti-immigration law strikes me as somewhat similar to redlining… with that said, I certainly don’t think that those who disagree with me have made the same assumptions I have, nor do I think that they are necessarily racist for reaching the conclusions that they have. (And I know that there are even those who will look at that sentence and focus on “necessarily” and say “mighty white of ya!” but, seriously, that’s not how I mean it and there are a few very bad apples indeed who spoil the barrel to the point where I feel it necessary to say “necessarily”).Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                $3B is the number you see most often, and most of the sources are critical, eg, this one:

                Anyone who cites that number at you knows nothing about security.  They might be brilliant political analysts.  They might be astonishingly deep thinkers.  They don’t know a damn thing about security.  From the link you sent me:

                For fiscal years 2006 through 2009, the SBI program received about $3.6 billion in appropriated funds. Of this amount, by late 2008 about $2.4 billion had been allocated.

                As of January 22, 2010, CBP had completed roughly 643.3 miles of fencing.

                Those numbers jibe with the government reports I’ve read.  So they’ve already spent $2.4 billion dollars building 640 miles of fencing, or 1,030 kilometers, or about a third of the distance.  That translates to $7.2 billion dollars to finish the existing fence, assuming costs are relatively constant for the terrain (which is an enormously big “assume”).  Note: the fence, as designed, will do nothing to keep out illegal immigrants, as I’ll partially explain below.  As a security principle, static defenses are of nearly zero use against persistent threats.

                That’s for US-Mexico. The other borders aren’t important, because illegal immigrants for the most part don’t come in that way.

                Koz, you need to understand the difference between a target of opportunity, a target of convenience, and a persistent threat.  If you believe that the linear distance between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico is the only thing that needs to be secured, you don’t really understand the scope of what you’re talking about.

                For example, the US-Canada border is twice as long and almost completely undefended. But, for an immigrant to enter the US from Canada, they must first get to Canada (or be born there). But that’s a highly unrealistic proposition, not least because of Canadian immigration policy, which is much harsher than ours.

                You’re making a huge error.  You’re assuming one needs to get Canadian citizenship in order to get into Canada.  It takes 15 days to get a visitor visa to Canada, as a Mexican citizen.  The cost is 965 pesos, or about $75 U.S.  A round trip ticket to Vancouver from Mexico City costs less than $500 U.S.  Currently paying a coyote to take you across the U.S. -> Mexico border runs around three grand.  As it stands, it’s actually cheaper to jump on a plane to Vancouver and take a goddamn rowboat across to the U.S., illegal immigrants probably don’t even think about it because of the network effect.  Let’s assume that your hypothetical fence was actually capable of doubling the cost of sneaking people across the U.S. border from Mexico.  All it will do is move the attack vector to the northern border.    The number of easy entry points from Canada to the U.S. are legion.

                But Pat, it’s difficult for me to understand why you make me point these things out to you when surely you know them already yourself. Or maybe not?

                Koz, there are times when you walk away from the missionary position and you can make a cogent argument that has some meat on it.  I keep hoping that you’ll give me some sort of credible argument that makes some sort of sense routinely.

                This induced a chuckle.Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Actually the $3B is mostly a scare number from the fence opponents. Even so, it’s pretty cheap at the price.

                Your point about Canada is highly counterintuitive to say the least. I never said you have to be Canadian to cross from Canada to America. But you do have to get into Canada. I’m sure some people can do that, it won’t be very many, insignificant related to the 1M immigrants per year coming from Mexico (and through Mexico).

                Really Pat, it’s hard for me to believe you can’t appreciate the difference between “airtight” and “good enough”. It seems pretty fundamental to me.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                Really Pat, it’s hard for me to believe you can’t appreciate the difference between “airtight” and “good enough”. It seems pretty fundamental to me.

                “Good enough” is actually what you’re shooting for, in a security system.  “Airtight” is not practically possible.  That’s the whole effin’ point.

                When you introduce a security system, you increase cost for the attacker.  The idea is to increase the costs enough for the attacker that their activity is no longer profitable, so they either (a) go attack somebody else or (b) stop.

                If you’re introducing a security system that is against a *tactic* (coming over the southern land border), instead of a larger more complex system designed to inhibit *behavior” (illegal immigration), part of the problem is that you often don’t accomplish either (a) or (b), you just encourage the attackers to use a different tactic.

                If the “different tactic” is within a reasonable delta of the cost that the attacker is already spending, you’ve just introduced a completely useless security system.  You put a $50,000 lock on your front door when you have a $23 Kwikset on the back door.

                (sigh).  Okay, Koz.

                What’s “good enough”?  By what measure, five… ten years from now, will you declare that a fence “has worked”?

                If illegal immigration has not gone down, will you admit this was not a good idea?

                If illegal immigration has gone up, will you claim that this is because the economy in Mexico has gotten so much worse and gee, immigration would be even more worse if the fence had not gone up?

                I’ll accept a nuanced set of metrics.  I won’t accept, “I think this will work, so I’m going to support it, but I have no idea under what grounds I’ll say, ‘It worked’ five years from now.”

                Your point about Canada is highly counterintuitive to say the least.

                Glaring security holes usually appear that way.  I can think of another hundred easy ways into the country.  Do you want a list?

                You know, for example, that we don’t have great port security.  Illegal immigrants from Asia (those who aren’t visa-expiration date overstayers) come via boat, because it’s the only way to get here from there, really.

                If you completely close the land border, how many illegal Mexican immigrants are going to come via boat?

                I never said you have to be Canadian to cross from Canada to America.

                You said:

                But, for an immigrant to enter the US from Canada, they must first get to Canada (or be born there). But that’s a highly unrealistic proposition, not least because of Canadian immigration policy, which is much harsher than ours.

                It’s not unrealistic, Koz.  Explain to me how someone who can afford $3K U.S. can’t afford under $1K in visa, plane flight, and car rental fees?

                Now, I’m sure we can raise all sorts of fuss with the Canadians and say, “Why are you allowing all these Mexican nationals to buy plane tickets and get visas and then not following up when they don’t take the return ticket home?  Why don’t you make a fence like ours!?”  Heck, we may even be able to get them to build one, or split the cost.

                Now we have two fences to maintain.

                I’m sure some people can do that, it won’t be very many, insignificant related to the 1M immigrants per year coming from Mexico (and through Mexico).

                Let’s say that you’re incorrect.  Let’s say it’s ten years from now, and we’ve spent only $7 billion on a fence (why you think it will cost this little is beyond me, given your general belief that government spends too much money, but… okay).  And illegal immigration in total has gone down by 5%, with 50% less U.S. -> Mexico land border crossings, but the other 45% are now coming across via the five hundred billion other ways it’s possible to enter this country.

                Will you call that 5% reduction a worthwhile cause, for $7 billion?

                What it if’s 3$ and $50 billion?

                What if it’s 15% and $3 billion?

                What’s “victory” here, for you, Koz?  Is it security?  Or is it the presence of the fence?

                Actually the $3B is mostly a scare number from the fence opponents.

                Huh?  They’ve already spent $2.4 billion on less than a third of the border.  Who says that this is a scare figure?  Citation needed.  Backup evidence required.  Pony up some actual numbers from some source you regard as credible, please.Report

              • I meant “win” as in the anti-immigration side becomes politically impotent as its ranks, well, die.Report

              • I don’t see that ever happening.  I agree with what Will says to a degree. But the part I think he misses in this issue is that I don’t believe the rank & file conservatives just woke up one day in Portland Oregon, Toledo Ohio or Butte Montana and decided that illegal immigrants were a problem.  I think people that wanted them to mobilize for other reasons used that as an obvious button; kind of like how the same people did with blacks inner-city problems back when I was in my 20s.

                You can beat them this election cycle, but it exists as a cultural touchstone to be touched whenever needed, not an actual problem that needs to be addressed… unless someone’s willing to actually tackle it as an actual problem that needs to be addressed.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Jaybird, my eyes started glazing over at the uncustomary length of yr last.  I’m accustomed to yr usual pith. Just cut to the pith, OK?  We need to know whether to lynch you as a racist or not.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Tod, I think the “brown” part is bullshit.  Folks from India tend towards the brown, also towards educated, polite, and culturally comfortable in the ways of the Anglosphere.

                They get it.

                Windies [West Indians, Caribbean, black] do pretty well in America too, even though on the whole, less educated. [They do make up for it in good cheer.]  But they come from the Anglosphere as well.  They get it.

                You know, Tod, if we actually want to discuss this shit around here. It’s culture, not race, and the two get conflated by the demagogues. They make me puke.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, do you not believe that there are some that would feel differently if our problem were with white Canadians?  You might be right that it would be exactly the same, but I have a hard time shaking the notion that there wouldn’t be a somewhat different vibe.

                Just to be clear, thought I thought I was, I’m not suggesting that those concerned with the economic issues of illegal immigration are concerned because of the skin or even the culture of folks South of the border.  It’s just that I don’t think you can have that kind of movement without picking up a lot of people who believe you’re fighting the same fight they are.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

            @Will T-

            Agreed, see also “gentrification”Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how this interacts with the common complaints about “press 1 for english” and that sort of thing.  It’s not necessarily racism, but at the least it seems like a lot of emphasis for something that’s a comparatively minor issue as far as I’m concerned.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Dan Miller says:

          Though I do not consider pressing 1 for English to be remotely a problem, and though I have and will continue to defend immigrants’ English acquisition skills (I have done so on LoOG), I don’t think being angry on the basis of language barriers is the equivalent to racism. Commonality of language is a cultural asset. If I did not believe in immigrant language acquisition, or if I believed that accommodation of foreign language hindered said acquisition, I would likely be angered by those institutions that insist of accommodation and troubled by those immigrants that refused to learn English. This is as true for Norwegians as it is for Mexicans. And I think a good portion of the cultural pushback would exist either way.Report

        • I’m not particularly fond of the SPEAK AMERICAN contingent; but I do think it’s really important that immigrants learn their home-country’s language, at least somewhat adequately — especially if they’ve children. In fact, if they don’t have children, I don’t particularly care. But I think they owe it to their kids to at least try. I wouldn’t want to turn this opinion of mine into legislation, however.Report

  2. Koz says:

    “He effortlessly weaves winks and nods toward the far-right id into his pronunciations, and taps into enduringly powerful themes that make-up the GOP base’s worldview. “

    I agree with this, especially as it relates to the debate dynamic. As you mentioned, it serves the psychological needs of a lot of Republicans to imagine that Newt will tie President Obama into knots during the high-profile general election debates.

    That notwithstanding, it’s a horrible self-delusion on their part. The debates are high-profile but not nearly high enough. The base hasn’t internalized that debates will matter much less in the general election campaign than the primaries. And if even if Mitt or Newt is likely to beat Obama on points, Obama will be able to run out the clock for a small loss if he chooses.

    It’s horribly myopic to throw away tons of campaign effectiveness and governing effectiveness for 3 hours of ego gratification.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Koz says:

      But Newt would crush Barack in a fair debate.  In fact, even in an unfair debate because Newt doesn’t let the moderates unfairly frame the questions.

      That’s the real reason conservatives are enjoying him so much—he hasn’t been going after the other candidates, he’s been kicking moderator ass.

      CNBC moderator Maria Bartiromo responded by asking, “What is the media reporting inaccurately about the economy?”

      Gingrich: “I love humor disguised as a question. That’s terrific. I have yet to hear a single reporter ask a single Occupy Wall Street person a single rational question about the economy that would lead them to say, for example — ‘Who’s going to pay for the park you’re occupying if there are no businesses making a profit?'” 


      As for the OP, since Gingrich is getting heat from his right on his immigration stance, it’s specious to say he’s blowing the far right dog-whistle.  The OP’s premise is completely wrong, but any essay that leans on the pejorative “far right” is already in trouble, as it most certainly originates on the left.


      • Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        “That’s the real reason conservatives are enjoying him so much—he hasn’t been going after the other candidates, he’s been kicking moderator ass.”

        Yeah, let’s stipulate to that. It’s still a horrible criterion for awarding the nomination, especially considering the freight car of baggage that comes with it.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Koz says:

          Mr. Koz, I can’t sign on for Newt, although some of the “baggage” is exaggerated if not fabricated by the slime machine.

          But it was said by Buckley way back when that what the conservative message needed—all it needed—was someone to articulate well.  This was Reagan, of course, even by BHO’s reckoning a “transformative” figure.

          Even though I believe him that he’s learned from his follies and ball-swinging of the past, like many smart people—and Gingrich is one—his instincts are still bad. In the current question, his concept is perfect and humane: separating illegal immigrants who have become part of their communities [IOW, Americans for all practical purposes] from those who are just here to live separately and/or eventually go back home.

          But there is absolutely no practical way to achieve this.  Hence the problem of Newt Gingrich. It’s possible he’s calmed his demeanor and I think he has, but when it comes to policy, he’s still a lone wolf.

          We don’t elect philosopher-kings or policy geniuses.  It was said of Reagan and it’s certainly true of Obama–you find a parade and stand in front of it.  We call this leadership, and I’m not sure that’s unfair.  Far worse is leading a parade with nobody back there in it.



          • Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            “It’s possible he’s calmed his demeanor and I think he has, but when it comes to policy, he’s still a lone wolf.”

            Actually, I don’t think he has.

            In any case, Mike Dukakis famously said in 1988 that the Presidential election wasn’t about ideology, it’s about competence. He was wrong then, he’s right now. For that reason I think Willard is head and shoulders over every other candidate from either party.Report

      • greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        You do realize that Newt’s answer about who would pay for the park if there were no profit making businesses is based on complete strawman. Newt only showed he doesn’t want to even try to understand where the OWS crowd is coming from. He also didn’t even answer MB’s question. He riffed on OWS without saying what the media is getting wrong about the economy. Why it would take a complete partisan to see Newt as even having answered the question.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to greginak says:

          True, but… meh.  LIke the “You’re no Jack Kennedy” line, these things are won on the way the answers feel.  And that delivery was perfect, felt and sounded confident, and was exactly what his audience wanted to hear one of the candidates say.

          I think Tom is right; I think it’s a big part of why he’s where he is right now.Report

          • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Maybe I’m not getting something but I don’t see the strawman there.Report

            • greginak in reply to Koz says:

              Newt questioned how there would even be a park if there were no profit making business. That is a complete bs strawman view of the OWS. I’m not even a huge supporter of whatever the OWS but i didn’t hear that they wanted to end all profit making businesses. Complaining the system has been rigged, much like the TP’s have, does not equal ending capitalism or profit.Report

              • Koz in reply to greginak says:

                Ok, now I get it. I don’t think it’s a huge reach. You can’t say OWS has been operating with a surplus of clarity and coherence.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to greginak says:

                Gregniak, #OWS’ ground zero, Zuccotti Park, is privately-owned, by a corporation.  Newt knew exactly what he was talking about here. You’re not in the zone on this one.

                Newt’s problem is often that he’s attempting to speak to those in the know, not those who aren’t, as demagogues do.  Unfortunately for him, good political leaders know how to speak to people not-in-the-know.

                Which is why the OP here is completely off-base.  Newt doesn’t demagogue, which is why he’s so frequently misunderstood by those who do.  To know Newt is to love him, and also why those in the know [who love him] doubt that he can lead our country.

                Doubt, mind you:  BHO has already proven he can’t, and worse, sets us at each other’s throats.  Legitimate criticism or trepidation about Gingrich cannot be taken as a vindication of BHO.

                Gingrich worked with Clinton, for the good of the country as they both saw it, push and pull.  By most accounts from both sides of the aisle, the Clinton-Gingrich era was pretty good.

                Let us dial that fact into our calculations, por favor.


              • Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Which is why the OP here is completely off-base.  Newt doesn’t demagogue, which is why he’s so frequently misunderstood by those who do.  . . also why those in the know [who love him] doubt that he can lead our country.

                Poor misunderstood Newtie–that seems to be the card he’s playing these days, as well as the Palin media victimization card. But make no mistake–Newt was and is a demagogue, loved by few, even in his own party.

                The OP is correct in noting that Newt, despite his occasional trips off the reservation, does know how to speak the language of the Republican base, even if his own policy inclinations might not be theirs. He’s largely responsible for coining phrases like “death taxes” and others that remain part of the “conservative” lexicon these days; he’s also part of the group that turned “liberal” into a dirty word. Newt didn’t so much cooperate with Clinton as he got beaten down by him when he decided to shut down the government. His latest claims to have balanced the budget during the Clinton era are a convenient rewrite of history for Americans with short memories and no sense of history.

                Doubt, mind you:  BHO has already proven he can’t, and worse, sets us at each other’s throats.

                I so love this right wing meme (rolls eyes). Obama goes out of his way to try to work with Republicans (to the chagrin of a lot of liberals and progressive) and the right demonizes him for creating conflict, as if all the Obama hate coming from folks like Rush and the commentators at Faux News hasn’t played a huge role in fanned the flames anger amongst the Republican base. Heck, Newt and other Republican candidates have pretty much accused Obama of treason during the debates–yet Obama is the one who’s setting us at each other’s throats. Yeah, right.


              • Mike in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Ok, Tom Van Dick, I’m going to take issue with that.

                It’s about as “privately owned” as any public park. The “ownership papers” on it also grant that it is (a) available to the PUBLIC 24/7, (b) required to do so as part of the allowance of building variances for the neighboring building.

                In other words, it is a PUBLIC park, a “trade” if you will from the business to the city in exchange for the building variances they receive.

                I love how you conservatards always want to misquote the deal. “But it’s private land”… no, actually, legally speaking, it isn’t, and it won’t be as long as the building next to it still stands.

                But then again, I’ve quickly learned watching the League that even supposedly “sensible” conservatives are nothing but liars.When you’re going as far as kicking the few really sane guys out (like David Frum) in an orgy of RINO-hunting, it’s no wonder that all you have left is your racist, hate-filled, seigheil-shouting core.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Mike says:

                Balloon Juice has free comments too, dude.

                Just sayin’.Report

          • greginak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            He’s right that in that it was slick answer. You can’t a moderators ass if all you are doing is avoiding the question however.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        @Tom: “But Newt would crush Barack in a fair debate.”

        I disagree for two reasons.  The first is that I don’t think Obama is as dim as others do, and if anything I think he is better at thinking in the abstract on his feet  than at leading or executing his vision.  Which is not to say he would win or lose on facts and accuracy, just that he wouldn’t be crushed.

        The second and bigger reason is that in a Presidential debate, the winner is the one that inspires people to vote for them, not the one with the most depth on the issues.  Newt’s style is not popular with those that wouldn’t already be in his camp; he tends to grate people the wrong way, and fairly or not he would lose a general election debate for this reason alone.Report

        • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:


          I personally thought Al Gore crushed W three times in the 2000 campaign, but that was definitively a minority opinion.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Tod: On yr first, I do not think BHO can articulate his political philosophy because he doesn’t have one.  Sentimental social democrat liberalism/communitarianism is fiscally on the ropes, not just in the USA, but in Europe.  If you’ve been following the papers.

          To yr 2nd arg, I think you’re right that Gingrich could decisively win a debate with BHO on points, and lose it disastrously in public opinion by being a dick.

          Which he is, even if less of a dick than he used to be.

          We’re talking about two different things here, the science and the art. Somebody brought up the Gore-Dubya debates, and even if Gore won on points, he acted like such a creep that he lost.

          And if you’ve been following my argument here—and you have—there’s a lot more art than science to getting elected president.  Reagan was right about nearly everything of course, but Carter was a dick and that’s really why he lost.

          If you look at presidential winners, being cool helped, but the other guy being a dick was prob the bigger factor.  McCain is a dick; Barack was cool.

          Gore and Kerry were dicks.  Dubya won by default.

          Bill Clinton was cool.  In fact, he beat 2 guys who weren’t cool, but they really weren’t dicks.

          GeoHWBush wasn’t so much of a dick as a wanker.  He beat a bigger wanker, Mike Dukakis [whom I voted for] but lost to the cool guy, Clinton.

          Mondale is and was a wanker.  Ford, wanker.  McGovern.  Hubert Humphrey, wanker.  Goldwater, not a wanker, but a dick, bigtime.  Dick Nixon, a dick but he almost won in ’60 against Mr. Sexy.

          Adlai Stevenson, wanker.  As Jackie Kennedy implied, no sexy woman would be caught dead in a bedroom with Adlai Stevenson.  Even liberal women have their limits.  Better to be caught blowing Ike.  Now that would be cool.

          Although getting caught blowing BHO would be a shocker [and probably up his approval level 10%], getting caught blowing Romney would be the real feather in the cap, Mormon that he is and all.

          Blowing Newt? Eh, whatever. But I have digressed…



          • Kimsie in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Just let me ask one dumb question!

            Why the fuck aren’t you including Japan? It’s a glaringly obvious omission, corrosive to the discourse — and omitting it doesn’t even seem to gain you anything!Report

          • Mike in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Sentimental social democrat liberalism/communitarianism is fiscally on the ropes, not just in the USA, but in Europe.

            Actually, if you pay attention, what’s on the ropes worldwide is laissez-faire greed-disguised-as-capitalism, the kind of bullshit lies that pontificators like Tom Van Dick here are shoveling left and right over hate radio and through the noise machine.

            Taxes today are lower than they’ve been since the Truman administration. Somehow we had no problem with increasing job growth for the vast majority of the periods prior to the 2000’s, even with income tax rates much higher – and even in periods when the top marginal rate was 70% or higher.

            But that sort of factual information won’t make a dent on you, I’m sure. After all, you’re so busily screaming internally and taking your required 3-hours Hate from from the Big Fat Druggie Show about “that muslim kenyan socialist” that you’ve yet to realize that a rather moderate president, who happens to have been born in the USA, is biracial, and who on policy has actually been very fair, is none of those three.Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Tom, your bigger dick theory of political outcomes is brilliant.

            That’s 100% serious.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              Or as liberal blogger Josh Marshall called it once, the “bitch slap theory” or as Clinton said, “strong and wrong instead of weak and right.” It’s one problem liberals have had since, well, LBJ left office.

              For instance, I truly think Kerry might’ve won in ’04 if he’d came out as soon as the Swift Vets thing happened and said something to the effect of, “this is all bullshit and I challenge those who say otherwise to say it to my face.”Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If John Kerry was the sort of guy who would have said that, he would be an entirely different political animal.

                Now, I could see Webb pulling that line out, with style.Report

      • Liberty60 in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        ‘Who’s going to pay for the park you’re occupying if there are no businesses making a profit?’


        This is their Smart Guy’s idea of a clever retort?

        Bring on the Brawndo!Report

        • Murali in reply to Liberty60 says:

          It makes  a bit more sense if you believe that OWS is animated by the intuition that, one or more of the following are evil:

          1. The financial sector

          2. Private Property

          3. Profits

          This may or may not be true, but as a messaging issue, I think that this may very well be the perception of OWS on the right. (just as the perception of the tea party on the left is of a bunch of white racists who want to state to remove their government hands off their medicare.)


          • Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

            right says “dirty fucking hippies”

            I hear the tea party clearer than that, thank you very much! It’s basically a movement by boomers to get more for themselves, in a delusional idea that having most of the cake isn’t going to come back and bite them in the ass. “Cut spending. But not MY spending!”

            Or, well, taht’s the nice version. the not so nice version involves Acadia…Report

  3. MFarmer says:

    “playing on the resentment and insecurity many hard-right partisans feel over a national media and political mainstream that, in their eyes, considers them ignorant and stupid. What better way to prove Them wrong than by eviscerating the President — a man who, in the GOP base’s universe, is a empty-suit tongue-tied hack, completely adrift without a teleprompter — and thus vindicating not only Newt and conservatism, but conservatives.”

    Then, there’s the possibility of many Americans who reject modern liberalism and progressivism, and, despite Newt’s many flaws and equivocations, want someone who can articulate the ideological divide, a voice which cuts through the obscurantism and reveals cause and effect clearly so that the failures of government interventions are linked to the proper causes. The Centrist/Liberal/Progressive influences in government have brought us to the brink of disaster, causing even supposedly conservative presidents like Reagan and Bush to embrace Big Government policies and solutions.

    The Information Age will have its greatest impact so far in the 2012 elections, and there are many Americans, educated and intellectually armed, who are ready for a change in direction toward a much less interventionist government (at home and abroad), a level playing field and a much freer market. It’s a shame that Gingrich is the best candidate to make the distinction and articulate the opposition, but that’s another result of the Information Age and 24 hour scrutiny of warts and past indiscretions — it discourages all but the most politically experienced from running for high office, and, thus, presents us with the most flawed. I would rather have Paul delivering the message, because I believe he’s also in touch with a growing public desire to stop foreign entanglements, whereas Gingrich is a loose cannon.Report

    • Mike in reply to MFarmer says:

      The Centrist/Liberal/Progressive influences in government have brought us to the brink of disaster

      You’ve been listening to the Big Fat Druggie too much.

      causing even supposedly conservative presidents like Reagan and Bush to embrace Big Government policies and solutions.

      While the elimination of various government programs, medicare, medicaid, social security, and the rest of the safety net in order to lower taxes for their billionaire masters is often a subject of much conservatard mental masturbation, NO president in history – “liberal” or not – has ever done so much as lift a finger in these regards. The reason is simple: these programs turn out, when you see the whole numbers, to work. Sometimes, they need tweaking and amending – but the only reinvention of any of them, the overhaul of “Welfare”, was the result of a LIBERAL president by the name of Clinton, after a successful test-pilot by a moderate-Republican governor with a Democrat state legislature in the state of Wisconsin.

      But don’t take my word for it. You can look it up yourself, or you can go back to the conservatard masturbation circle.

      there are many Americans, educated and intellectually armed, who are ready for a change in direction toward a much less interventionist government (at home and abroad), a level playing field and a much freer market.

      This much is true. But they are not “conservatives.” A level playing field, in the atmosphere of regulatory capture and overt monopolist behavior we see today, requires MORE, not less, government intervention. It requires a new round of trust-busting the likes of which we haven’t seen since Standard Oil and Northern Securities. A “freer market” means not enabling the robber barons to continue to gobble up and hoard wealth, but to TEAR DOWN the artificial barriers to entry erected by the monopolist robber barons in order to allow smaller companies a fair and free chance to compete in the marketplace.

      These are LIBERAL ideas, in the way that conservatards describe them. These are what the vast majority of Americans support, as well.Report

      • MFarmer in reply to Mike says:

        . “Big Fat Druggie”

        I thought Belushi was dead.

        Anyone who can’t see that statism has created and controls the government/corporate enmeshment is either ignorant or a statist reactionary. the Robber Barons are in government positions. It’s enlightening to see progressives in the role of reactionaries. You’ll be quite busy reacting from here on out, because statism is imploding, unraveling, screwing the pooch, melting down, spiralling, coming unhinged, whirling down the old crapper, so to speak, worldwide. A new dynamism is on the horizon, and it’s not originating from any park. OWS wants a more interventionist government — how backwards and out of touch is that? It’s almost like they’re competing for a new conservative entrenchment of status quo ignorance. Wishful thinking that yearns for State salvation fails to realize the anti-social nature of the State, and, therefore, Centrists/Liberals/Progressives continue to hang on in an abusive relationship. Denial is not a river in Egypt, pal, so there.Report

  4. wardsmith says:

    Illegal aliens are now merely “undocumented immigrants”? Just making sure we didn’t check our biases at the door, obviously not the case here.

    I personally feel that illegal aliens are a pressing problem in this country. By my sister’s workplace in Arizona, there was a shootout between gangs of illegal aliens. Stray shots (and viz Patrick’s article elsewhere, sans excellent training there will be a LOT of stray shots in a shootout) hit her business and there was a dead “undocumented immigrant” still holding his “undocumented handgun” under her car in the parking lot. Just the kind of happy environment we’d all love to work and shop in this holiday season no?

    As I’ve said elsewhere, immigration into this country is unnecessarily “illegal” for a lot of folks exactly like our ancestors. Unfortunately for them, they are piled into the same “illegal” box as miscreants exactly like the ones who were shooting up a parking lot in a strip mall full of shops. Since the front door is nailed shut, everyone comes in the side doors that are illegal. Open the front door properly, vet the applicants properly and manage the system properly. Immigrants can and should be an asset to a country.

    Will Newt’s councils be perfect? Of course not, but neither will anything Elias recommends. Would they be a start? Certainly and with enough sunshine into the process we might indeed learn something about ourselves and our neighbors.  Ideally we would first fix the laws but failing that, this system (which will never be adopted, make no mistake about that) would at least highlight something that sorely needs highlighting in this country.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to wardsmith says:

      Illegal aliens are now merely “undocumented immigrants”?

      We also say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.Report

      • MFarmer in reply to Jaybird says:

        I was once a law oppositionist pot smoker.Report

      • Elias Isquith in reply to Jaybird says:

        One term refers to human beings, the other doesn’t.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Elias Isquith says:

          I’m married to someone who followed the insane immigration laws that we have in this country. As such, this person has a “Resident Alien” card.

          Would “Resident Alien” be a sort of missing link between “Human Being” and “Illegal Alien”?

          (Note: I’m not talking about refering to the folks who didn’t follow the laws like my wife and I did as “illegals” but as “illegal aliens”… which strikes me as analogous to the difference between using “black” as a noun and using it as an adjective.)Report

          • Elias Isquith in reply to Jaybird says:

            The distinction btwn “illegal alien” and “illegal” is real but it’s one I often forget; and I consequently end up conflating the two.

            Unlawful Resident or Alien would be my preference — “undocumented” does, I admit, push things too far in the other direction.Report

          • wardsmith in reply to Jaybird says:

            Jaybird, My wife was legally in this country, she did not overstay her visa (as did the 9-11 hijackers) and she followed all the rules (ridiculous though they were). She even had to suffer through the “interrogation” while 8 months pregnant while “immigration” asked her questions like what I’d had for breakfast last week and which side of the bed I liked to sleep on. They were also rude, arrogant and condescending to her. I walked into the room, told them their interview was over and they’d better start stamping her paperwork. I was pissed. They could not have been more obsequious to me – a native born citizen with “peerage” on my father’s side that goes back to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

            Resident aliens with “green” cards are not to be confused with little green aliens from “foreign” planets. They are of course artifacts of the insane immigration laws we have in this country. As usual our political masters are attempting to make us focus on the symptoms instead of the disease.Report

            • sonmi451 in reply to wardsmith says:

              Ahh, so this is your problem, that your precious, precious wife is lumped in the same group as those dirty, dirty brown people.Report

              • wardsmith in reply to sonmi451 says:

                Are you a moron somni or just playing one as part of your many guises on the Internet? My wife IS a “brown” people. She is NOT white. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to sonmi451 says:

                I don’t understand this comment. Is the undercurrent that you think that Wardsmith’s wife is lumped in with those dirty brown people and that’s why he’s supportive of more lenient immigration law?

                If he had more distance from the topic, he’d be against these dirty brown folk like you are?

                Seriously, you’re not being terribly coherent.

                Could you restate your criticism?Report

        • Koz in reply to Elias Isquith says:

          Yeah, Ward is right on this one. A longer euphemism should at least be more technically accurate than the word it replaces. “Undocumented immigrant” flunks.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

        Kaus nails it:  “Is it too fusty to ask, if we can’t call illegals “illegals,” and we can’t call illegals “undocumented immigrants,” what words can we use?

        Maybe “undescribable Americans” would be the best term.”


    • Liberty60 in reply to wardsmith says:

      “Open the front door properly, vet the applicants properly and manage the system properly.”

      A resonable proposition. Could we start by increasing the number of visas from  Mexico to more accurately reflect the market demand for their labor?


      • MFarmer in reply to Liberty60 says:

        “Could we start by increasing the number of visas from Mexico to more accurately reflect the market demand for their labor?”

        Yes, a flexible and efficient system of granting citizenship in a timely manner would solve most of the problems. At some point in the future, borders will likely be open, but that’s a long way off.Report

    • BSK in reply to wardsmith says:


      I’m sorry to hear about the horrible incident near your sister’s workplace.  However, the plural of anecdote is not data.  There are probably few groups of people as large and disparate as “illegal immigrants” that do not have members involved in criminal activity, who have not been involved in shootouts, who do not have gang affiliations.  All of the data I’ve seen points to lower rates of crime, particularly violent crime, in areas with high numbers of illegal immigrants.Report

    • Koz in reply to wardsmith says:

      “As I’ve said elsewhere, immigration into this country is unnecessarily “illegal” for a lot of folks exactly like our ancestors.”

      Actually, that’s not quite right. I’m not completely sure, but I think most immigration into America is actually legal, and that has to be the case for net immigration since 2008. And for the illegal immigrants that are here, a large portion of them entered the country legally (I think it’s almost half).

      The perspective of Ward’s comment is very illustrative though. We can and should pass laws to clarify who we want to let in and who we don’t. And we can have very meaningful debate during the legislative process. But the perception is that it’s all meaningless unless if we don’t secure the Mexican border. Therefore, that has to come first.Report

      • Liberty60 in reply to Koz says:

        Securing the border is impossible without also reforming the visa process.

        There are two ways to secure a perimeter.

        One is to simply harden it, in hopes of reducing or eliminating the trespassers. It is next to impossible to completely secure the 3000 mile border, unless we really do want some sort of moat filled with alligators with laser beams. Maybe we can import some ex-East German Stasi to provide helpful advice on the matter.

        The other is to reduce the number of trespassers who want to enter, thus making the first option much easier.

        The reason so many Mexicans want to cross the border is because the number of visas is deliberately kept lower than what the market demands. This is a clear case of government intervention in the marketplace that really serves no ones purpose except making xenophobic white people feel good about themselves.Report

        • Koz in reply to Liberty60 says:

          “It is next to impossible to completely secure the 3000 mile border, unless we really do want some sort of moat filled with alligators with laser beams.”

          This is a crock. You may not stop everybody who wants to cross, but you can stop the vast majority and that’s more than enough.Report

        • wardsmith in reply to Liberty60 says:

          Sorry I made a post and then had to run off, but I like where the conversation has gone (mostly). Liberty and others are spot on here.

          In business there is a term called “barriers to entry”. When investing in a company you evaluate those BTE’s (or lack thereof) to determine how long they have until the competition erodes their profit margin, market size or both. Countries have BTE’s that aren’t what you think (ie moats and lasers). Some countries you just wouldn’t consider sneaking into (Japan for instance) for the obvious reason that you can’t assimilate and they are tremendously xenophobic (and racist if the truth be known). Germany too, although they need the labor and Turkey has been accommodative so far. For all the shouts of “racism” from the left, the US is largely free of these barriers. We are accustomed to “foreigners” roaming around and are welcoming of same, when they’ve come here legitimately. Even in the so-called flyover country, I’ve seen churches sponsor multiple African families and everyone in a pasty white community bend over backwards to welcome and support the newcomers.

          In the past we had a funnel with the wide end facing outward. Now due to BS quotas we have an inverse funnel with the small end facing our borders. The bucket we’re pouring into the US is still as large, so the “illegals” are the ones outside that narrow entrance. We need to flip this around, and better manage our “guest workers” and accommodate our future productive citizens who are replacing the children we can’t seem to be bothered to have.Report

          • BSK in reply to wardsmith says:

            Why do we even have border restrictions in the first place?  Seriously?Report

            • Will Truman in reply to BSK says:

              There are limits to how many people a culture can accommodate before it ceases being the culture it was and becomes the culture of the people it had previously been accommodating. I’m not nearly as worried as some that we are at that point or have approached that point, but that would be a major concern with a truly open border and another 150 million people wanting to move here.Report

              • Liberty60 in reply to Will Truman says:

                “but that would be a major concern with a truly open border ”


                We are in fact a different culture than we were before the Irish moved here. We are a different nation as a result of your ancestors moving here.

                Where I live, Orange County, CA., (AKA Reagan Country) is increasingly Vietnamese/ Hispanic to where whites will be a minority within a generation.

                Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so.

                The strength of America is that we never built a virtual moat around our “culture”; we allowed it to become the open source Intel system to Europe’s closed ended Mac system, whereby nations like France had official departments that kept their culture free of foreign encroachment.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Liberty60 says:

                There is a degree of push and pull to such things. We change them, they change us. This is healthy.

                However, there is a tipping point involved, when it becomes all push and no pull. When the degree of assimilation that we have achieved over generations stops occurring. When they stop learning reliably learning English by the third generation. When the values of the old country are not cross-planted with the values of the new, but replace them entirely.

                As I said, I don’t think we’re anywhere near there at present. I don’t even know where “there” is. But come-one-come-all is a great way to find out. But only once we are well past that point.Report

            • Kris Kringle in reply to BSK says:

              I bent my wookie 🙁Report

            • Kris Kringle in reply to BSK says:

              My cat’s breath smells like cat food.Report

            • Kimsie in reply to BSK says:

              … because if we didn’t, America would soon have a billion people living in it. And no matter how many we can absorb, having 4x your current population as new immigrants would be bad.Report

  5. wonkie says:

    Won’t Newt’s multiple affairs and wives count against him? I don’t think it is possible that he is “devout” about anything but the worship of money.

    As for him making a monkey of moderators–he does have that rightwing barefaced lying thing down. It does seem that “the base” is impressed by politicians who sound very selfconfident and sneer a lot. Sadly most moderators let rightwing politicians get away with sneering and lying instead of answering. Moderators don’t ask follow up questions or hold them accountable for actually answering the origial question. Palin did the same trick Newt deployed: refused to answer the question and gave a sneering oneliners instead. It did work for her with people who were going to vote R no matter what. It didn’t work as well with other people.



    • MFarmer in reply to wonkie says:

      Sneering and lying are rightwing characteristics? I didn’t know that.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer says:

        You can tell they’re doing it because they twist their mustaches.Report

      • wonkie in reply to MFarmer says:

        I wrote “Rightwing politician”. And yes, sneering and lying are very much staples for the discourse of rightwing politicians. To the extent that there is very little other content. Is there really a question about this? Examples are legion, but here’s one: the federal budget deficit. What rightwing politician has discussed this issue by blaming the Repubican contolled Congress for creating the problem by cutting taxes during two wars? None. They lie and sneer.

        And, of course, Newt’s response was a perfect example of both lying and sneering as well as avoiding the question.

        Republican politicians have to lie because if they told the truth about their policies even many Republican voters wouldn’t vote for them. Who wants to elect politicians who deliberately created a deficit so the deficit could be used to justify ideologically motivated attacks on Medicare and Medicaid? Who wants to elect politicians who know very well that extending the tax cuts for the weatlhy will not create jobs?

        And it takes huge amouts of denial to avoid noticing the non-stop middle school name calling that comes from the rightwing politicians. Princess Pelosi ! Little pockets of real America! Etc. The sneering is a necessity because it’s the “positive” side ot the rightwing message. The message is “vote for me because I am a real true American, not like those gay/welfare/lazy/elite/Others”.Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    Weirdly enough Gingrich’s attempt to have his tres leches immigration cake and eat it to gives him a path to winning the whole enchilada that Mitt otherwise lacks.  A Republican hard-line on immigration will shore up Obama’s weakened support among educated whites and will likely maintain Latino turnout and possibly increase the 80% pro-Obama #’s from last time.

    Besides the personal issues (which the Right was able to put aside for Reagan) the real problem with the Gingrich insurgency is that his post political career (even the late part of his political career) represents everything the Tea Party is supposed to be against.  Possibly they’ll suck it up for the big cheese, but I could see it hurting down ticket races if the Republican brand lacks ‘synergy’.Report

    • Koz in reply to Kolohe says:

      Actually, I think Mitt is the best candidate and will very likely defeat Obama. There’s an article in the NYT today very pessimistic about Obama’s chances but even there overstates the case.

      White working class voters are a lost cause. Blacks will be strong for the Prez. Latino support won’t be nearly as strong as Demos want, and white upper-middle class will be really weak. It’s nice to think abortion or environment will help the libs but how many upper-middle whites will vote Demo when their ability to eat three square meals a day hinges on them voting Republican?Report

      • Michelle in reply to Koz says:

        It’s nice to think abortion or environment will help the libs but how many upper-middle whites will vote Demo when their ability to eat three square meals a day hinges on them voting Republican?

        Why? Because the Bush era worked out so well for them? If they’re voting Republican for economic reasons, they’re deluding themselves. The Republican economic policy seems to be more of the disastrous cut taxes and thoughtless deregulation that got us into the current mess.Report

  7. Will Truman says:


    I don’t think we agree on this, actually. I think the anti-immigration fervor was actually much more of a bottom-up enterprise. I would actually say that the biggest instigator of it was not someone rallying up the troops, but in response to Bush’s amnesty proposal. This got started during the Bush Administration, and was counterproductive to the leadership of both major political parties at the time (one that is supportive of immigration and another with the party’s leader trying to pass legislation through). The earlier anointed leaders of the movement weren’t the GOP congressional leaders or the president or the RNC, but rather a previously obscure congressman from Colorado and another one from California.

    I think that amnesty was one of the major things that got the ball rolling on this. Previously obscure people for whom this was a pet issue suddenly had the limelight. I think it was actually bound to happen at some point. Incremental change over time does often get noticed collectively, though. I really don’t think that there was a plot behind it. I think that it’s mostly people following a wave.Report

    • Koz in reply to Will Truman says:

      This is absolutely right, and in fact the thing about the immigration issue that bothers me the most. The political class wants to think that they are the compassionate ones, and the citizens are goons. I find no evidence for that at all.

      The American people are not in general xenophobic or anti-immigrant. But, they have been forced into the position they are in because of the unwillingness of the political class to do what needs to be done. We could have started a fence in 1995 and completed it by 2000, and have a liberalized immigration policy now. But we didn’t do that, and the fact that we didn’t is not the restrictionists’ fault.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Koz says:

        Of course the American people are xenophobic. They’re human. Whether they’re anti-immigration depends on what we’re talking about. I think the problem with your timeline is that, to say the least, there are some trust issues with the whole “after we secure the border, we will liberalize immigration” tit-for-tat. There is a striking convergence between people that are critical of illegal immigration and people that are critical of H1B visas. Now, it may be the case that there are enough that those critical of both will lose the future work visa debate, but I’m hardly surprised that the pro-immigration folks are willing to bet on that by giving the border hawks what they want without under some vague belief that their day will come in the future. Even if they do get what they want, it will be over the objections and opposition a goodly portion of the people they are debating with now.

        (The same is true in the opposite direction. That’s why the whole “We will couple amnesty with enforcement, but the amnesty part will roll out first” doesn’t fly.)Report

        • Koz in reply to Will Truman says:

          There was a lot there in that relatively short comment and I hope we get the chance to unpack it all, not just as it applies to the immigration issue but also because it’s such a meaningful proxy for the dysfunction of the political process as a whole.

          In any case, the main point is that the American people want border security. It’s a perfectly comprehensible humane policy. They’re entitled to get it without having to make any promises about future amnesties. This is of course the contingent state of mind of the American citizens, and the immigration liberals want to change that they are certainly welcome to make their case.

          The truly destructive part of the issue is the idea that the political class gives itself license to ignore the well-expressed opinion of the American people. I’ve raked Jason over these coals a couple of times (“corner solutions”, etc.) because I think it’s such a disreputable policy stance.

          We could resolves these issues a lot more amicably if we could acknowledge the sovereignty of the American citizens.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Koz says:

            The truly destructive part of the issue is the idea that the political class gives itself license to ignore the well-expressed opinion of the American people. I’ve raked Jason over these coals a couple of times (“corner solutions”, etc.) because I think it’s such a disreputable policy stance.

            Having read the Corner Solution thread, I am more with Jason than with you on the matter (not just on the issue of a fence, but governance more generally). I am, at times, uncomfortable with the dissonance between the people and the elite, but I don’t consider “build it because the people have expressed support for it” to be a QED argument. I consider bigger-picture, complicated questions that don’t fit easily on a poll, to be worthy of consideration.

            With regard to the fence more specifically, I truthfully think that this is a bone to throw to the general population to get them to accept a broader plan. I don’t share your optimism on the likelihood of a fence being successful. Even as a part of the greater plan, it wouldn’t even be the primary stick of the stick-and-carrot. And I find the eminent domain and costs to build and costs to maintain as eye-rolling in light of the likelihood of failure. No broader plan, though, no fence. I may think that the whole amnesty proposal was radically mishandled*, but I don’t fault the politicians for not offering up the fence by itself.

            * – Actually, I am not even sold on the concept of amnesty itself, under any circumstances. That might be the bitter pill to give the other side as part of a broader plan.Report

            • Koz in reply to Will Truman says:

              Just to reiterate, the issues you’ve hit on are for me the most important considerations in governance and go way beyond the immediate policy consequences though those are important too. In particular, the sovereignty angle is crucial but it also requires some nuance that is often glided over (especially if I let it slide because I’d probably be the only one to mention it).

              The main point is that the sovereignty of the American citizens must be respected when the citizens insist on invoking it, which for the most part is pretty rare.

              To be precise, there’s two white-hot issues where the plainly spoken will of the American people must be respected: 1. PPACA, and 2. border security. There’s also two other issues that aren’t quite as urgent from this angle though they have strong undertones as well. 1. Abortion, 2. Gay marriage. I’d venture these aren’t quite as explosive because, in the case of abortion, there is a lot of public support for a more restrictionist regime relative to where we are now but not enough to explode out of the box the judiciary has put it in. In the case of gay marriage, it’s not clear at the moment that opposition to gay marriage is a popular slam dunk. TARP is an odd case. I’d put it in with border security and PPACA except that for TARP the political class has at least a reasonably legitimate excuse that they did what they had to do in a situation where time constraints prevented a full democratic airing of the issue.

              The point being, the popular energy behind these issues goes way beyond polling. It’s one thing for an issue to poll 60-40, 70-30 or even more lopsided. It’s another thing entirely when a significant portion of the otherwise apolitical majority takes time and energy out of their private lives to insist on compliance to a particular policy path from the political class and they don’t get it. That is a big big big deal and not a good thing.

              This doesn’t apply to most issues. Ie, for Dodd-Frank, or tax cuts, or endangered species, or ag policy, the issues are such a morass that the political class is reasonably justified in resolving them however they fight it out amongst themselves.

              The upshot of all this is lack of trust from the citizens to the government who is supposed to represent them. This has had adverse results which might seem odd at first glance but viewed through this lens are entirely predictable.

              The debt ceiling crisis was above all else the insistence of the Tea Party base, representing a large majority of Americans, that they would not be ignored, no matter what the consequences. I don’t necessarily think that was the smartest move from the Tea Parties but I don’t know if anything less would have worked.

              More generally we’re seeing strong popular opinion for hard money policies in an economic climate where loose money policies are probably better economically. During the Bryan era, the populist movement was against hard money, but now it’s in favor of hard money. I’ve seen very little cognizance of this fact but it strikes me as worth a great deal of attention.

              For Ron Paul, Glenn Beck and the less radical versions of the same, there doesn’t seem to be very much in the way of straight-up macro analysis. It’s all tied into lack of confidence in government. Government is bad, runaway spending is bad, inflation is bad therefore I support the gold standard or some other version of hard money to remove the temptation of the government to abuse its fiat authority.

              I think this is a very myopic pov in the current economy but that said it’s not a ridiculous one. Basically, the political authorities and the central banks have to be trusted to implement a competent loose money policy. And the political class has proven, through PPACA and the lack of a border fence, that it can’t be trusted.

              As it relates to the narrow issue of the fence, I disagree that a fence would be ineffective. We don’t have to keep all the illegals out, just most of them and it seems very likely to me that a well-built fence would do that.

              More than that, I don’t care if a fence would be effective or not. If a fence is destined to fail, it should fail in spite of the good faith effort of the political class to build it instead of the passive-aggressive resistance they have shown so far.

              Culture and economy move at the speed of trust. Without trust, we have to wait till the consequences of our actions become clear before making another move. The political class needs to rebuild its trust among the American people. PPACA must go down, and the fence must go up.Report

        • Koz in reply to Will Truman says:

          H1B’s are more complicated. Substantively, the problem with H1B isn’t the number, it’s the terms of the visa. If it were up to me, I’d set a quota per firm (eg, Microsoft, Motorola) per annum of H1B’s, but no maximum in toto. But, the immigrant could not be tied to a particular employer by the terms of the visa and in fact cannot be committed to work for a particular employer for more than six months.

          Ie, you can bring over someone from India or Ukraine if you want, but if you stiff him on wages too much he’ll quit and work for the competition just like an American would.

          But again, that’s just me. Before we get the immigration policy that I want, we have to get the policy that the American people want first. And to that end, the political class has to demonstrate that the wishes of the American people are more than just suggestions.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Koz says:

            There are good reasons to be critical of H1B Visas. I am, in some respects*. It sets off warning bells, though, when someone talks about the problem with illegal immigrants being the “illegal” part. And whether they would be willing to bring more in legally down the line or whether they will view low-wage workers with the same suspicion as high-wage ones. Especially when a large number of the complaints against illegal immigrants applies to virtually anyone coming in from abroad. But I also try to take care not to be outright dismissive of their concerns. It’s a balancing act.

            * – I recently read a disturbing article about a rather high percentage on them being used for entry-level jobs. That, combined with my own experiences, makes me wonder about many of the supposed benefits that the best and brightest from abroad are supposed to be bringing here. And making me wonder if we’re shutting out people by eliminating the already-too-few entry level jobs. A subject for a future post, perhaps.Report

            • Koz in reply to Will Truman says:

              That’s a perfectly reasonable point of view, and I don’t have any particular beef with it. But in the context of this discussion, how do you expect to be able to advocate for it without the (lower case r) republican legitimacy of overwhelming popular support when the political class (and perhaps you as well) feel free to thumb its nose at the Mexican border fence with it?Report

  8. Will Truman says:

    On the general topic, I wanted to add:

    Being unwilling to do what would be required to stem the flow of illegal immigrants is not the same thing as being unable to do so.

    Being unable to completely stop the flow of immigrants but being able to stem the flow are not mutually exclusive.

    The previous two things having been said, the easiest illegal immigrants to stop are those least likely to actually cause trouble and most likely to be economic assets. Whatever can be done to stem the tide of immigrant workers, I’m not sure what we can do about the cartels other than cutting them off from their profits.

    [Edited by Trumwill to add the word “most”, which changes the entire meaning of that part of the sentence.]

    • I’m half-Irish: both my mother’s parents set out for Amerikay around 1910, met here, then they had Mom and thence me.  But the last thing they had in mind was to turn America into Ireland.  Fuck that—that’s what they ran away from.

      Like the Founding Fathers and their founding fathers.  What Brother Newt is trying to say is, you either come to America to become an American, or you come for some other reason.

      If only we could tell the difference.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        I’ve always thought what made us great was our ability to embrace and absorb parts of other cultures; our ability to fold them in and make them our own.  I’m not sure I buy the “America is one immutable and homogenous culture” meme.Report

      • Murali in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        But the last thing they had in mind was to turn America into Ireland

        I’m not sure. Certainly they did bring a little bit of ireland with them. Same as the Greeks adn italians and Polish immigrants brought a little bit of wherever they came from with them. But, let us suppose that the Polish, German, Ittalisan and Spanish immigrants very quickly got themselves anglicised names and sur-names. The same cannot be said for more recent Indian immigrants.

        Indian immigrants still keep their Indian sounding names. They still predominantly eat indian food. Their women still dress in sarees and selvar kamis. Some of them still have their thick accents (thought heir children who are born in america less so). And there are s many indian enclaves in silicon valley.

        Now, of course this may not be the kind of things that are problematic. What is problematic are the gangs and the crime etc.

        But the italians brought their mafia over. there were certainly Irish gangs in the 19th century (there maybe still are) Certainly there was some significant support for the IRA among the local irish population (even if only in some places and always informal). The greeks, russians and chinese in america certainly have their owwn equivalent connections. Immigrant connection to organised crime from the fatherland is not a new phenomenon or particularly limited to mexicans. In fact, it seems that hispanic gang inolvement is an inner-city thing. The parents really want little to do with the shit that went on in mexico, but it  is their american born children who end up in crime.Report

      • Kimsie in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        so you’d NINA the Italians for wanting to go home after they made their money?

        see… it actually is kidna easy to tell who wants to become an american, and who don’t. the ones that don’t send money home, and go home themselves at the end ofthe day.

        problem solved! glad to enlighten you.Report

  9. Anderson says:

    I always find it fascinating the way politics is understood by those who study it fastidiously– we see every word and action through the lenses of intent, veiled meanings, and targeted strategy. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to just step back and consider the amount of people who take political rhetoric–be that Gingrich or anyone else– at absolute face value. What’s that statistic about “people on average hear only a few minutes of the candidate they decide to vote for”? I realize this thought is unrelated to what’s going on in this thread, but I can’t help thinking about the nature of political rhetoric anytime I read a piece that analyzes how “the people” perceive a certain candidate. As if we are looking down upon “the people,” telling them what they should be thinking anytime a politician uses a charged phrase (“I’m not perfect..only Jesus was perfect” for example.)Report

  10. wardsmith says:

    Rtod, I’m answering your post #17 above here because I’m claustrophobic. 😉

    Employers are screwed coming and going. Read this to see what I mean. The laws suck and the bunglecrats could care less. They don’t have to operate a business, they’re un-fireable!

    From the link:

    Many employers are confused about whom they can hire and are afraid of being fined by the government for knowingly hiring undocumented workers. Some employers will not hire workers who are not U.S. citizens, which is illegal in most cases.

    Yup there you have it in an official gov’t document. I’ll have to use another post to document (with links) shortcomings in E-Verify.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to wardsmith says:

      I think my point is if illegal immigration is such a huge problem and the potential solutions are change the way the bureaucracy governs hiring so you can focus on this profiting on illegal aliens, or build a $3  billion wall who’s long-term effect seems dubious, why is the wall so attractive?Report

      • North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        A wall is attractive because it’ll impress the voters (especially the ones in the geographic region that the pols advocating it most want to impress); it’ll funnel Federal money to this region both for construction and upkeep (see point #1) and most especially because it won’t actually accomplish a damn thing (which means the corporate and business wings of the party won’t mind it).Report

      • wardsmith in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        How about a fence just on this guy’s property? Let’s see, he and his wife caught over 12 THOUSAND illegal immigrants, they regularly held them and had to wait around (and worry about the prisoners attacking them) until border patrol could be bothered to come and do their damn job. The pictures at the bottom of the link with BP agents proudly standing in front of bales of drugs they had no part whatsoever in capturing brings a tear to the eye.

        I can hear the librul arguments already. Barnett’s RICH, he shouldn’t own a big ranch, how dare he terrorize “undocumented” immigrants illegally on his land, let the gov’t do its job (they’ve done such a splendid job so far after all), who cares if he gets killed by armed coyotes working for drug cartels – he deserves it. Too bad Mikie, you have no points to make now.

        Patrick is right up above about static defenses, but with modern surveillance technology, there’s no reason whatsoever that a system can’t be dynamic as well. I’ve seen better defense systems designed to keep geese off runways than what this gov’t is (NOT) doing to protect the border. Do I believe this gov’t has wasted billions on a fence that isn’t a fence? Absolument.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

          But with modern surveillance technology, there’s no reason whatsoever that a system can’t be dynamic as well.

          Money, money, money.  The fancier you make the fence, the more cheddar it costs.

          Absolutely the border could be reasonably secured.  But it would cost quite a bit.

          We’re not looking to keep out terrorists or trying to keep dissidents from leaving, presumably.  So it wouldn’t cost as much as either the Israeli-Palestine wall or the Berlin one.  But both of those were pretty goddamn expensive, and much less than that probably won’t cut the mustard.  And of course, once we build the fence, the desire to add “keep out terrorists” or “keep drugs out” becomes well nigh irresistible and pretty soon you’re spending $50 billion a year on border security.

          The TSA is already up to $12.Report

          • wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Really two different issues. Could our incompetent, corrupt, bunglecrat gov’t pull this off or could say you and I do it with sufficient resources? Answer, we could successfully do it for 1/10th the price they would spend to fail miserably. This is why I’m libertarian. Governments do things that encourage the continuation of gov’t (really the party in power) getting all the cheese. They forget the purpose of the cheese is to catch the mice.Report

            • Kimsie in reply to wardsmith says:

              merkle. there are at least three gov’t programs that come in under budget. Can you name ’em?Report

            • Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

              Answer, we could successfully do it for 1/10th the price they would spend to fail miserably.

              Not so sure we could, on this problem.

              On the other hand, I’ll readily grant that in this particular case the politics interfere grandly with gettin’ ‘er done.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to wardsmith says:

              So, explain to me why Medicare is growing slower than private insurance and has lower administrative costs despite being a government program that takes care of old sick people?Report

        • North in reply to wardsmith says:

          If the dude doesn’t want people on his ranch why doesn’t he fence it himself? Surely there isn’t a zoning regulation preventing it? Why would a libertarian like you Ward want him to be turning to the gummint to fence his property?Report

          • wardsmith in reply to North says:

            North, he put up an 8′ chainlink and barbed wire fence. The coyotes cut it down constantly. He can’t afford to keep repairing it, not when he’s spending money defending himself against lawsuits funded by the Mexican gov’t and the southern poverty law center.

            I’m not going to say the guy’s an American hero. In fact he well might be a dick. On the other hand if this were YOUR land, would you be so sanguine? It’s very easy to armchair quarterback this from the safety of your environs, but if you’re there on the front lines, perhaps you’d have a different perspective? The reason these people are streaming across our porous borders is because the front door is nailed shut to them. THAT is the real crime here!

            There are folks on this site who believe I am against immigration because I’ve spoken out on this subject and I’m ostensibly from the “far right”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can show (and have) that studies demonstrate substantial economic well-being in cities which embrace immigration and ethnic diversity. My wife is an immigrant, so are her brothers all Phd’s and highly productive American citizens who have greatly enhanced the wealth of this country by their presence, hard work and inventiveness. We NEED immigrants, it is a sophistic trick from the Alinsky school to paint immigration reformists as anti-immigrationists. Illegal immigration is a serious problem and I’ve spoken out clearly on what I believe to be a serious solution to that problem. The worst problem of all is pretending there isn’t one.Report

            • Murali in reply to wardsmith says:

              The reason these people are streaming across our porous borders is because the front door is nailed shut to them. THAT is the real crime here!

              You said it Ward!Report

            • North in reply to wardsmith says:

              My objection, Ward, is merely against the massive lunacy that is bound up in any fence like proposal. The ranch owner is welcome to waste his own private dollars putting up fences that the coyotes will merely evade, penetrate or subvert on his own dime. I have no interest in lending even a crumb of support to our governments doing the same ineffective, wasteful and pointless strategy on a grander and colossally more costly scale.

              If we don’t want illegal immigration then the only way to stop it is to either:

              A) Accept higher prices on a vast slew of products and lower economic growth and target employers of illegal immigrants directly.


              B) Making illegal immigration legal by establishing some form of more open legal means for these workers to come here.


              Everything else is just political posturing, hair splitting and snuffling after voters or pork.


  11. Jesse Ewiak says:

    If you truly want to stop illegal immigration and I mean truly stop it, it’s fairly easy. You don’t need harsh laws against immigrants or anything else. You simply need a simple rule – each illegal immigrant, one year in jail and a million dollar fine for the CEO/majority shareholder/etcetera.

    But of course, even if most people might be for that, even if your most hardened anti-immigrant warrior will never propose that.Report

    • North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Well yes, if you target employers then the illegal immigration issue would vanish utterly. They won’t come here if they can’t get jobs. Problem is employers don’t like being targetted, they like employing illegals on the cheap without compliance with labor regs and they have the ability (unlike illegals) to make life difficult for politicians that mess with them.

      Easier to target the immigrants themselves. It pleases the voters who’re upset about illegal immigration and doesn’t actually effect the companies at all. Political win win for any immigration hawk pol.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

        It’s almost as if most of the immigrant hawks really don’t give a damn what their crazy constituents think, but also don’t give a damn about the welfare of illegal immigrants either. Which is almost worse than your hardcore ‘no immigrants at all’ types who are at least consistent.

        Unfortunately, I think the ‘job creators’ meme has taken such a hold in some conservative circles that if you came with them with two options (numbers totally made up)…

        Option A – Use the Republican immigration plan. Fences, making life hell for illegal, etc. Drop in 20% of illegal population.

        Option B – Unleash hell on employers. Random checks of jobs with high numbers of possibles illegals working there, big fines, etc. Drop in 50% of the illegal population.

        …a large portion of the anti-immigrant base would choose option A because it ‘feels better.’Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Hey, it’s not the employers fault he illegally employs hard working people who enter the country illegally! He’s just being a rational economic actor taking the best deal he can get. The real problem is the moral depravity of Messcins who would, you know, engage in illegal behavior because it’s economically rational.

          Oh, wait. Damn! That’s not the right argument. Uhhh. It has something to do with skin color, right? Or language?Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      CEO?  Majority Shareholder?  Sorry, if you think this sort of law will be sending the rich and powerful to jail, you’d be dead wrong.  Illegal immigrants are working for small businesses, not major corporations.

      Even when major corporations benefit from the labor of illegal immigrants, there’s usually a 3rd party subcontractor that’s doing the actual employing.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Fine. Send the subcontractor to jail. The guy who takes over for that subcontractor will look for some legal employees then, won’t he?

        In reality, I’m not for this, But, this should be the conservative position if they truly want to decrease illegal immigration. Not by targeting illegal immigrants.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      You simply need a simple rule – each illegal immigrant, one year in jail and a million dollar fine for the CEO/majority shareholder/etcetera.

      This is not simple.  In fact, it’s downright crazily hard.

      Authentication, identification, and authorization are non-trivial problems.Report

  12. There is no Newt Gingrinch. There is only Benny Hill portraying a leading American conservative for comic effect. Look at your own picture of NG if you doubt me. Tell me that isn’t Benny Hill!Report

  13. rayward says:

    The Newt is no more Southern than I’m a Martian; he is from Pennsylvania, not a southern state.Report

  14. mikey says:

    How can a thrice married man who is not a widower be considered devout?Report

  15. Koz says:

    IMO, Jay Cost and Nate Silver are the two best horserace-type political analysts we have in broad circulation today. It is possible that President Obama has a non-negligible chance of reelection but everyone who thinks so should read this.