There are two things every American should know about Virginia's governor's race: 1) It's the first sizable political contest to turn, largely, on the issue of illegal immigration. 2) As such, it spotlights the pathetic state of political discourse on the subject.
Just to be clear, there's nothing pathetic about the position of Republican nominee Jerry W. Kilgore. He's the guy I like. I like him simply because he says he wants to enforce the law -- for example, the law prohibiting illegal aliens and other non-citizens from voting. He would even like to see the law tightened to become more easily enforceable. I also like him because he says he doesn't want to break the law -- such as laws prohibiting welfare and other benefits from being distributed to illegal aliens.
But this is precisely where the debate becomes pathetic: In the United States, in the year 2005, just trying to help carry out immigration laws already on the books, and just trying not to break them, marks one as a veritable subversive with a program, as The Washington Post hysterically put it, "tinged with nativism and opportunism."
...Timothy M. Kaine, Kilgore's Democratic opponent, calls this approach "mean-spirited"; Kaine's solution, meanwhile, is both to defer to local officials and rely on federal enforcement -- which is no solution at all. An independent candidate, H. Russell Potts Jr., calls Kilgore's law-and-order position "the worst form of demagoguery." A Kaine spokesman called it "grandstanding." Kilgore had succumbed to "the temptation to fan the flames with a naked appeal for votes," according to The Washington Post, itself succumbing to the temptation to mix metaphors. The newspaper also dubbed the Kilgore plan to follow the law "populist nonsense" and "a wedge issue..."
Immigration2005b · Thu, 10/20/2005 - 10:35 · Importance: 1