The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy - with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation...
Over the course of this year, the tea party movement will probably be transformed. Right now, it is an amateurish movement with mediocre leadership. But several bright and polished politicians, like Marco Rubio of Florida and Gary Johnson of New Mexico, are unofficially competing to become its de facto leader. If they succeed, their movement is likely to outgrow its crude beginnings and become a major force in American politics. After all, it represents arguments that are deeply rooted in American history.
Please compare that with our tea parties summary. While the "partiers" might be popular in polls, that's only because most people aren't familiar with what they're really about and because they're an alternative to the two major parties. In a poll someone might support the tea parties, but tell them what would happen to them if libertarianism is imposed on them and they'll realize just how much the "partiers" are not on their side.
What we need is a smarter, more American, more mainstream group that would come up with pro-American solutions to the problems we face. The solutions offered by the "partiers" only serve the interests of the partiers themselves and those who are pulling their strings. They have little or no concern for the majority of Americans. That same group could oppose the corrupt elites, but would do so in smart and effective ways.
UPDATE: I'm aware that not all the "partiers" are libertarians. However, all or almost all of their leaders either lean in that direction, are outright big or small-"l" libertarians, are former Ron Paul supporters or activists, or - even worse - are Randroids. And, the entire tea party movement is steeped in libertarianism and strong fiscal conservatism to the exclusion of other topics. And, some of the string-pullers - such as Grover Norquist or Freedomworks support amnesty, illegal immigration, or just plain massive immigration. I'll support the tea parties when they expel the libertarians and the corrupt DC hacks and when they realize that there are people besides themselves in the U.S. and when they realize that not everyone who disagrees with them is a traitor and a Communist and when they realize that their flamboyant techniques aren't effective. And, yes, that means I'll never support them.
Michael Steele is the new chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). On tonight's PBS NewsHour, David Brooks said he'll probably avoid "anti-immigrant" talk, and we know what that means: Brooks thinks Steele will support illegal activity. While Steele's exact positions remain to be seen, consider the June 14, 2007 article "Secure the border first" (link). "Securing the border" is generally a dodge, see the link. And, although he was opposed to 2007's comprehensive immigration reform bill, the "first" leaves an opening for some form of amnesty after the border is supposedly secured. Note that the five points listed at the Townhall link were almost all more or less included in the CIR bill and that Steele's position seems to be similar to that of John McCain.
That's driven home by this December 16, 2008 interview:
...The same [problem with a hole in a boat] is true with immigration. The core problem is that you've got a hole in the fence. Plug the hole. Use technology, use manpower, use all the strategies that you need to secure the national borders of this country. And then we can talk about the 12 million people who are here illegally, what we’re going to do. I think America will be much more receptive to that conversation knowing that no more are coming in and that the hole has been closed. And then we can deal effectively with the water in the boat.
Highly possible translation: after the borders are secure, Americans can be convinced to accept an amnesty. Asked about what he'd do about the 12 million (or so), he said:
Well, that’s something for the national debate. There are any number of ways that you have to deal with that. Do you want to create a pathway to citizenship? Are you talking amnesty? Ronald Reagan did amnesty. He did the first amnesty bill. A lot of people tend to forget that. In 1986, what was the problem? There was no effective strategy to deal with what? The hole in the fence. They kept coming. And 20 years later, what are we looking at? 12 million additional people, the hole has gotten bigger, and the problem hasn’t gone away. America’s response to amnesty was, ‘Not again, if you don’t fix the hole. If you don’t close down that border and make sure that no one else is getting over the fence, or under the fence, or through the fence.’ That’s what everyone sees as the problem. It’s not the individuals who are here, necessarily. It’s the ones who are still coming in, because our border is porous. Every other country protects its sovereignty, and no one cracks a peep. The United States rises up and says, ‘We too shall protect the sovereignty of this nation by protecting our borders,’ and everyone looks at us like we’re enemies of the state. Well, we’ll keep looking that way because we’re going to deal with this issue, and we’re going to effectively do what we need to do as Americans to make sure the integrity of this country, its internal integrity, is secure. And then we can talk about everything else. Everything else -- jobs, programs, employers -- all that stuff you can deal with much more effectively, because now you’re dealing with a smaller pool of folks because there are no more coming in.
Nothing in there would foreclose eventually giving an amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Notably, Steele isn't supporting attrition in order to reduce the numbers of illegal aliens in the U.S. over time. He simply wants to stop the future flow, as did Fred Thompson before getting a clue.
I guess I should have taken a look at his record before he was elected, but it's never too late to encourage him to support attrition.
2/1/09 UPDATE: Chris Wallace interviewed him on Fox News Sunday and didn't ask the right questions about this issue, playing into the confusion over the positions of John McCain and George W Bush vs. the positions of those who want to "build the fence" (link). As discussed above, the latter position is a dodge used by McCain and Bush, when the ultimate goal is "reform". Steele didn't say anything to contradict that:
I think the GOP's position on immigration is very much the position of many, many Hispanics who are in this country... The GOP's position is secure our borders first. Let us know and let us make sure the American people know that we've taken care of the important business of dealing with illegal immigration into this country... You cannot begin to address the concerns of the people who are already here unless and until you have made certain that no more are coming in behind them... No change in the position on the party on that... [Leaders in the Hispanic community] understand the importance of making sure the United States' borders are secure.
Earlier tonight, Barack Obama went to George Will's house in Chevy Chase, Maryland for a no doubt jovial evening with a few (or more) conservative pundits. Will may or may not have been there, but three known attendees were
Fred Barnes (see the update), William Kristol, David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer (link). FWIW, the Huffington Post assures us that Rush Limbaugh was not there.
Whatever Obama's political reasons for meeting with them, he's for the most part only getting one set of conservative or liberal opinions, the establishment Beltway set that supports illegal activity just as strongly as Obama does. Obama would sooner dine at Arby's than meet with, say, a moderate like Lou Dobbs or a paleoconservative like Pat Buchanan.
Note also that Sam Stein of the HuffPost is trying to telegraph that the correct response from the leftwing is sheer, utter obsequiousness rather than outrage:
Obama has pledged to be a uniter once in office. He's also said he is willing to take policy suggestions from any source, regardless of ideological affiliation, as long as they work. So far, he's living up to his word.
UPDATE: I'd swear that I read that Fred Barnes was one of the attendees, but now I can't find that; he might have been there but they don't consider him important enough, or that might have been just a preliminary report, or I might have read "Weekly Standard" and gotten confused over which WS hack is which. Pending confirmation that he was there, I took his name out of the title, and put Kristol in the text.
UPDATE 2: OK, Barnes wasn't there. However, per this, Will was indeed there, as were Larry Kudlow, Rich Lowry, Peggy Noonan, Michael Barone, and Paul Gigot. None of those are border hawks, with Kudlow being a clueless supporter, Barone being a Brooks-style complete hack, and Gigot working for the Wall Street Journal, a paper that wishes there was no border at all.
David Brooks offers "The Real Rudy" (link), most of which consists of a series of now-infamous Rudy Giuliani pro-illegal immigration quotes. I half-expected him to try to explain them away, but I wasn't too surprised that he explicitly supports that side of Rudy, calling someone who supported illegal activity "moderate".
Speaking on the Chris Matthews show, the NYT's David Brooks said the following:
Whoever the Democratic candidate, that is the weakness of the Democratic party, theyaSpeaking on the Chris Matthews show, the NYT's David Brooks said the following:
Whoever the Democratic candidate, that is the weakness of the Democratic party, they’ve got the blogs and the netroots who are semi-nuts and they insist on a Stalinist line of discipline.
Obviously, that's completely false. Liberal bloggers are completely nuts.
...Bush hasn't abandoned conservatism; he's modernized and saved it... Almost single-handedly, Bush reconnected with the positive and idealistic instincts of middle-class Americans. He did it by recasting conservatism more significantly than anyone had since Ronald Reagan. He rejected the prejudice that the private sector is good and the public sector is bad, and he tried to use government to encourage responsible citizenship and community service.A clear case could be made that Bush is an un-American fraud, intent on using the "positive and idealistic instincts of middle-class Americans" as well as a cowboy hat prop and a varying drawl to sell them - and almost everyone else in the U.S. - down the river.
This is not to say that Bush's approach to government is fully coherent. The tragedy of the Bush administration is that it never matched its unorthodox governing philosophy with an unorthodox political strategy... With his policies, Bush could have built a broad coalition across the right and center of American life. Unfortunately, his political strategy was a base strategy, which led him to reinforce the orthodox divisions between the parties.
Despite all the mistakes that have been made, it is nonetheless true that Bush has ennobled and saved American conservatism...
The latest example is his attempt to show that the public sector is OK: promising to spend billions of dollars as a way of buying off lost popularity due to Katrina. The initial chunk of that money has gone to connected firms, some of which appear to have employed illegal aliens through subcontractors. Needless to say, Bush has not even a minor scheme to get the former residents of New Orleans working on the rebuilding. He's going to let his perverted idea of a "market" do the magic there. Great if you believe in corporate socialism, not so great if you're pro-American.
Previously coverage of this BushBot: "David Brooks or Tokyo Rose?"
I invite my readers to read the column "Two Steps Toward a Sensible Immigration Policy" from the NYT's David Brooks in a Tokyo Rose accent:
What do you say to the working-class guy from the south side of San Antonio? He feels his wages are stagnating because he has to compete against illegal immigrants. He watches thousands of people streaming across the border, bankrupting his schools and health care system, while he plays by the rules...
What's he doing in San Antone? That's what I want to know.
The system is out of control.
That's a stock talking point. I've been keeping track of its use, and my coverage starts here.
...Tough enforcement laws make us feel good, but they don't do the job. Since 1986, we've tripled the number of Border Patrol agents and increased the enforcement budget 10 times over, but we haven't made a dent in the number of illegals who make it here...
Yes, as my readers know the Bush administration is all about tough enforcement of our immigration laws. In the last year, three companies got enforcement warning letters. That's tough enforcement, I tell you what.
We've got agents chasing busboys while who knows what kind of terrorists are trying to sneak into this country...
Now, let's compare this bit from cheap labor cheerleader Tamar Jacoby:
[BP Agent Lee Morgan] criticizes the apprehensions as a waste of time and resources. "They're just poor people trying to feed their families," he shrugs... "What if the bastards come across here in Arizona and I don't catch them because I'm so busy chasing a busboy or a gardener that I don't have time to do my job--my real job--catching terrorists?..."
Speaking of the devil:
We need these workers, but we force them underground with our self-delusional immigration policies. As Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute says, "It's very hard to enforce unrealistic rules." ...So it doesn't matter how many beer-swilling good old boys appoint themselves citizen border guards, we're not going to get this situation under control until we understand this paradox: The more we simply crack down, the more disorder we get...
I think I'm going to stop right about here, ayup. Obviously, Brooks is more than just an NYC elitist. He's also a Bush-supporting hack, much like a more famous version of Hugh Hewitt.
He goes on to support both the Kennedy-McCain and Kyl-Cornyn massive amnesty schemes, parroting Jacoby's support for them. And, he ends with his support for "serious immigration reform".
This column appears under various names:
I suggest that henceforth we put Brooks in the same category as Jacoby, Hewitt, and the rest.