Rob Bluey, one of the hardest-working and most insightful conservative bloggers around, takes President Bush to task for the way he impugned the motives of conservative critics of the Bush immigration plan. Earlier, Bluey had written an open letter to Bush urging the president to keep his rhetoric in check while saying that “conservatives will never completely abandon you.” Bluey is absolutely right. Bush, and his brother Jeb, and his former speechwriter Michael Gerson, and conservative columnist/activist Linday Chavez, and others on Bush’s side in this debate have consistently not just argued their case but resorted to name-calling or other insults against fellow conservatives who favor a tougher stance against illegal immigrants. The president’s critics from the right, on the other hand, have generally been loud but not insulting. Bush’s positions have been criticized, with detailed specifics citing actual provisions of the bill in question, but nobody respectable on the right (that I know of) has questioned his sincerity on this issue. A little mutual courtesy from President Bush would be in order.
Just to be clear, I repeat earlier notices that I am something less than a total hard-liner on this issue. I supported the Pence Plan that would indeed set up a guest worker program, but only after denying amnesty. And I might even be talked into something that is fairly close to what is now on the table. I would not vote for the bill as currently constituted, but it is at least within the (very) outer edges of the right ballpark in most respects. The point of this post is not whether Bush is right or wrong on the issue, but instead that it is a major problem when people can’t take positions in good faith without being called “bigots” or “nativists,” or being accused of using unfair fear tactics, or being accused of deliberately taking provisions out of context, or being accused of having failed to even read the bill or the relevant parts thereof, i.e, of criticizing it in bad faith.
What arrogance! What cynicism! What mean-spiritedness! This is not good for the conservative movement.
Bluey is right.