Political Hay

Dancing With Corporatists

Riding the tigers of race and immigration.

By 2.11.14

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Immigration reform is being “strangled by Republicans dancing to talk radio.”

Yikes.

This the assessment of our friends at the Wall Street Journal the other day, upset with House Speaker John Boehner’s “punt” on the issue. The paper correctly notes that part of the problem indeed rests with President Obama’s repeated rewriting of Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. If the President is willing to so flagrantly abuse his power with his premiere health care law, goes the not unreasonable theory, what’s to stop him from abusing whatever law is passed on immigration?

Those of us who graduated from Reagan/Kemp university are decidedly not believers in zero-sum economics, as the paper attributes (unfairly, we would suggest) to both Alabama’s Senator Jeff Sessions and the Heritage Foundation. Both of these estimables from what the WSJ calls the “populist wing” of the GOP have been talking up the idea that immigrants will be taking jobs from American citizens.

Eventually, the editorial gets around to insisting the House GOP lives in “fear of a talk-radio backlash,” so much so that “it won’t even pass smaller bills” on immigration reform that “75% of Republicans agree on.” Then comes the swipe about “Republicans dancing to talk radio.”

Well.

A conservative family discussion, which is in reality what this is, might have some reference to the criticism that some family members are, to adapt the chosen phrase, “dancing with corporatists.” And whatever else one can say about the subject, it is very safe to say that “corporatism” has proven itself to be a loser politically for its very practitioners, not to mention damaging to the country.

Corporatism is defined here at Merriam-Webster thusly:

The organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction.

The problem here always comes when those who either are “industrial and professional corporations” use the fact of their “political representation” not to advocate action along the lines of the Constitution, but with an eye to accommodating…nay, partnering…with Big Government. Then repeatedly finding themselves as emblematic of that old wisdom President John F. Kennedy cited in his inaugural address. When discussing the temptation of newly free states to treat with the Communist Soviet Union, JFK cautioned to“…remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

There are two tigers here in the immigration debate. The first is a tiger that many are reluctant to even admit. The second is seen all the time and simply ignored. The folks at the WSJ actually mention the first tiger in passing, although shying away from the consequences of exactly what riding that first tiger in the immigration debate really means.

The first tiger in the immigration debate? Race.

The second tiger: corporatism.

The Journal references to the first tiger, race — there were two in this editorial — went like this. Disdaining the idea of putting off the immigration issue until 2015 out of fear of the divisive effect it would have within the GOP this election year, the WSJ wrote, with bold emphasis supplied:

The result of doing nothing will be a de facto "amnesty" in which 11 million illegal immigrants will continue to work using fake documents. Mr. Obama will look for ways to grant more of them legal status using executive power, and the GOP will look even more unwelcoming to minorities

Some Republicans who do want to vote for immigration reform say they don't want to divide the party over such a contentious issue in an election year. Better to take this up in 2015, they say. But the opponents will raise the same furor whenever it comes up, and Democrats will be less likely to compromise figuring they can use the issue to drive minority voter turnout in 2016.

What the WSJ is saying in their usual polite fashion I will be happy to say more bluntly.

As has been written in this space often enough, the American Left’s central organizing principles are two: race and class warfare.

If in fact there were eleven million white Germans or Australians or Brits who had departed their country of origin and arrived in America dedicated to the proposition of colorblindness and capitalism, one can reasonably expect that progressives in this country would be howling their fierce resistance to “comprehensive immigration reform” if they suspected the end game was amnesty and citizenship. In fact, back there in 2010, then-Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown tried to raise the immigration quota for the Irish by a mere 10,500. The results? No go.

Why?

Because in fact, repeatedly demonstrated on the record across 200 years of American history, the left needs the race card to survive. Not for nothing the old “Solid South” where whites voted overwhelming for Democrats. Or today’s tut-tutting that 90% of the black vote goes to Democrats and the hostile reaction of the NAACP to South Carolina’s GOP Senator Tim Scott — the first black U.S. Senator in the state’s history. Not for nothing, as we keep reminding those amongst us who like to brush history aside, has the left been the staunch defender of slavery, segregation, lynching, the Klan, racial quotas, black liberation theology and more. Not for nothing does the Left cater to Hispanic groups like La Raza (“The Race”) and scorn the very idea of a colorblind society where people are judged, in the Dr. King phrase, “on the content of their character.”

The harsh fact of life here — something very much recognized in talk radio land — is that for the GOP, indeed for anyone who believes in a colorblind America where “all men are created equal” — amnesty in the world of illegal immigration is exactly “riding the back of the tiger.” A Republican Party that abandons its historic role demanding equal opportunity for all — a constant from Lincoln to Reagan and Kemp — will soon find itself going under as the left’s politics of racial spoils plunders the country. “Plunders” as it once plundered the white “Solid South” for political and monetary spoils, has plundered black America since the 1960s for the same reason and has now set its sights on plundering Latino America.

There is, in fact, no difference whatsoever between the way Democrats once approached the white vote of the “Solid South” and the way they now approach the black and Latino vote. Or, as the WSJ delicately phrases it, “minorities” and “minority voter turnout.” The left always, always, always plays the race card, and Republicans and conservatives get clobbered. There is no difference between the way slave-owners and segregationists obtained and maintained their almost 200-year long grip on power and the way leftists today run California or Harlem.

Is it wrong? Is it immoral?

Yes… but sadly immaterial.

This is what the American Left does — and has always done. As a just-for-instance, here’s MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, newly off her rant over Mitt Romney’s black grandchild, pushing Speaker Boehner on the issue. Hey, no ulterior motives there.

What exactly have those dastardly talk radio stars been saying? Rush Limbaugh calls immigration reform “the mother of all scams.” Sean Hannity has repeatedly called for border security first. The other night Mark Levin hosted Victor Davis Hanson on his show to discuss Hansen’s book Mexifornia: A State of Becoming in which Californian Hansen discusses, as per Booklist, that “he hates to see the ordered culture in which he grew up drowned by an alien inundation whose undeserving beneficiaries are Mexico's kleptocratic rulers, for whom an open border is a safety valve expelling the potential for democratic change.”

Sunday morning conservatives Laura Ingraham and George Will got into this tussle on Fox News Sunday, with Laura saying that in fact it was GOP and Democrat elites pushing immigration reform, facing off not simply with talk radio but the GOP’s grass roots and most GOP members of the House and Senate.

In effect, what talk radio stars are doing is trying as hard as they can to keep America and the GOP from being gulled into riding the tiger of race. Why?

Because based on experience with the American left and race?

Both America and the GOP will wind up inside the tiger.

But what of the corporatist tiger? Corporatism being what is accused of the WSJ and others, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, let us remind, has made the news over the Christmas holidays for devoting millions to defeating Tea Party candidates opposed to Big Government.

What is it that makes so many in places like the Tea Party and talk radio believe corporatists are yet again about to, as it were, ride another tiger?

An example? Let’s take the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Way back there in 1969, a mere four months after taking office, President Richard Nixon appeared before the Chamber to give an address, noting at the time that he had spoken to the Chamber over the course of his career as congressman, senator, vice president, and now as president. It’s safe to say the Chamber had been very supportive of Richard Nixon.

And what was among Richard Nixon’s accomplishments as president? When President Obama said to Bill O’Reilly that Nixon was more liberal than he, Mr. Obama, one suspects that Obama was thinking of Richard Nixon’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency — the EPA. So Mr. Nixon, championed by the wheeling-and-dealing corporatists of the U.S. Chamber, launches the EPA. And today? Today, if one goes to the U.S. Chamber website, you will find this bitter complaint:

An avalanche of environmental regulations has made it increasingly difficult to build and develop in the United States. Rules that severely limit activities and development in critical habitat areas; increasingly stringent air quality mandates; restrictions on energy production, mining, grazing, and forestry on federal lands; and an expansion of permitting requirements and restrictions on virtually all U.S. lands and watersheds have conspired to deter development, growth, job creation, and prosperity.

The problem rests not only with the regulations themselves, but also the process by which they are formulated. Thirty-five percent of all major regulations are issued without a public comment period, and in many instances, activists and agencies use court-ordered consent decrees to force the development of regulations, often on extremely tight deadlines, that they could otherwise not achieve through the regular rulemaking process. 

The Chamber is working to make the regulatory process more transparent, agencies more accountable, and regulations more cost effective. Atop its regulation reform agenda is the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would ensure cost-benefit analyses of proposed rules and allow for judicial review of those analyses and increase scrutiny for the most costly regulations.

Hmmmm.

The U.S. Chamber championed Mr. Nixon and his fellow Republicans of the day who went out of their way to set up the EPA. To, as moderate Republicans like to say, “get something done” for the environment by working with liberals in Congress. Now the corporatists at the Chamber complain that the agency is out of control, a governmental behemoth rampaging through the countryside setting off an “avalanche of environmental regulations” that “have conspired to deter development, growth, job creation, and prosperity.”

Gee.

This kind of thinking is typical of corporatists. They sign on to some leftist premise, all in the name of “getting something done” — get it done — then spend volumes of money to cope with the disaster they in fact are at least partially (and sometimes entirely) responsible for creating. It doesn’t take a wizard to see how this will play out with “comprehensive immigration reform.”

The real definition of corporatists is not the one found in the dictionary. The real definition of corporatists is JFK’s. These are people who keep riding tigers and get eaten alive politically and governmentally. Yet they resolutely see another tiger coming down the road and they yet again jump on the tiger’s back — only to find themselves again inside.

The reason for the popularity of talk radio — of Rush and Sean and Mark and Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham and the rest — is that these people have the wisdom not to ride the tiger.

It should be said that it was the WSJ that was not all that long ago urging Senator Cruz to stand down from President Obama’s threat to shut the government over funding for Obamacare — and focus on Obamacare’s problems. The shutdown is now in the rearview mirror, ObamaCare is in deep trouble — yet suddenly the GOP is being advised to switch their attention from Obamacare’s failures to immigration reform? Worse, to do this so, as even the WSJ vaguely acknowledges, so the Democrats can play the race card forever?

During that debate between George Will and Laura Ingraham, host Chris Wallace mentioned immigration reform as evidence of a split in conservative ranks. He’s right. But there doesn’t have to be a split.

What would be helpful here is a frank discussion of the left’s intention to change the founding principles of America from freedom and liberty to race and class warfare.

By using immigration reform as an invite to ride the tiger.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.