Several reasons Frank Rich is wrong (Arizona immigration law edition #1)
I haven't discussed a Frank Rich column here before, so let's start by showing several ways he's wrong in yesterday's "If Only Arizona Were the Real Problem" (nytimes.com/2010/05/02/opinion/02rich.html). It's centered around that state's new immigration law, but it's a wide-ranging rant. Here are just some of the ways he's wrong):
1. He links to the Arizona Senate Engrossed version of the immigration bill (azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf), which is three versions out of date: the House Engrossed, the law, and the amended law all came after that version. This is the same mistake that Linda Greenhouse made, although unlike her the only quote he provides is in all four versions.
2. He says 'John McCain propagandized in favor of [the AZ bill] with his widely ridiculed televised canard that illegal immigrants were “intentionally causing accidents on the freeway."' Why that wasn't a canard but a description of events that actually happen has already been discussed.
4. He says that Hayworth 'frames the immigration debate as an opportunity to "stand up for our culture," presumably against all immigrants, legal and illegal alike,' linking to the longer quote here. I'm going to guess that Hayworth supports immigration in general terms, he's just worried about American culture (yes, we have one, and it's worth preserving) being swamped by massive immigration. Does Rich support assimilation and the melting pot, or something more like the Canadian system?
5. He says that "Mitt Romney... was mocked during the 2008 campaign for having employed undocumented Guatemalan immigrants as landscapers on his Massachusetts estate". That issue has already been discussed here and here; Romney didn't "employ" anyone: he had a contract with a company that hired those workers. The Boston Globe went as far as staking out Romney's house (first link), something they'd never do with those who knowingly hire illegal aliens on a much larger scale.
6. He discusses various Bush family proxies coming out against the bill without even wondering whether they might have ulterior motives, financial or otherwise.
7. He says, 'Thus Sarah Palin explained that it’s Obama and the “lamestream media” that are responsible for “perpetuating this myth that racial profiling is a part” of Arizona’s law. So how does that profiling work without race or ethnicity, exactly? Brian Bilbray, a Republican Congressman from California and another supporter of the law, rode to the rescue by suggesting “they will look at the kind of dress you wear.”' She said that referring to an earlier version of the law or bill, but all versions have made clear that race cannot "solely" be the reason for any "reasonable suspicion" and have also said that any action under the bill/law had to be performed in accordance with civil rights laws. The amended version of the law says that race cannot be a factor. And, of course, anyone who has any experience knows that the clothes someone wears can help indicate where that person is from and so on.