Why Bush Won’t Budge

Mark Krikorian has what I think is the best explanation for the President’s views on immigration:

…I get asked this question all the time and the conclusion I’ve come to is this: The president is morally and emotionally opposed to immigration enforcement, especially on the Mexican border. He sees it as uncompassionate and un-Christian, at best a necessary evil that must be entered into with the greatest reluctance and abandoned as soon as is practical. And this is especially true with regard to Mexico because he sees it as a “cousin” nation, like Britain or Israel, and thus enforcing immigration laws against Mexicans is even worse than doing so against Chinese or Pakistanis.

I don’t say this to hurl epithets — President Bush is a conviction politician and sincerely believes this, which is why he sticks to his anti-enforcement guns despite potentially catastrophic political damage. This is unlike President Clinton, who was actually better on immigration in many ways precisely because he was (is) completely amoral and willing to embrace almost any position.

I think he’s right. One of Bush’s greatest strength is his conviction in the idea of the US’ role in spreading liberty across the globe. Even at great risk – such as Iraq. Toppling Saddam Hussein was an enormous political risk – one that hasn’t played out very well for the President at all. Immigration is the same. The President seems to be acting out of a fundamental conviction that barring immigrants from the United States is an immoral act. At the same time, that conviction is in direct conflict with the economic and social health of the United States. Bush’s non-amnesty amnesty through the guest-worker program is an attempt to take a reasonable middle ground without sacrificing his values – something that may ultimately not be possible unless Bush is willing to compromise on things such as border security.

We always clamor for a politician with strong convictions – and Bush is certainly such a politician. However, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it…

6 thoughts on “Why Bush Won’t Budge

  1. Get real. Bush won’t budge on immigration because the constituency dearest to his heart are the money interests that he’s rubbed elbows with since birth and who were his largest source of campaign contributions throughout his political career. They want a guest worker program to deliberately undermine wages and working conditions in America. The potential for fallout among cultural conservatives always takes a backseat to those who worship at the altar of Mammon.

  2. On that same thread I think someone else said that if that’s the way he thinks then he should resign.

    I subscribe to the “comprehensive” approach:
    1. He’s doing it for personal reasons of false compassion.
    2. He’s doing it because he’s stubborn.
    3. He’s doing it because he wants the Bush family to get their hands on Mexico’s oil.
    4. He’s doing it because the CFR wants to join the U.S., Canada, and Mexico into one country and he wants to help.
    5. He’s doing it to cause demographic change in the U.S. in order to make it easier for “P.” to run for president.
    6. He’s doing it due to strange affiliations ( http://www.elandar.com/bush/amigos.html )

  3. Mark: Except there’s no real consensus on immigration in the business community. The cost of wages is a very small part of the whole picture, and immigration drives up the cost of health care, which is the single biggest problem with the American labor market.

    TLB: 1 and 2 seem plausible. 3 doesn’t seem plausible to me at all – immigration doesn’t effect the price of oil. 4 doesn’t seem likely at all, although it is true that acts such as NAFTA move us closer to a common market (but not political integration). You can bet there’s an element of truth to 5, although I think not even “P” can escape the inevitable Bush fatigue, and 6 strikes me as just another silly little conspiracy theory.

    My guess is that 1 and 2 are probably the strongest factors in this case, with 5 coming shortly behind.

  4. Jay, isn’t Bush’s guest worker program specifically endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Obviously there isn’t universal consensus in the business community regarding immigration. There isn’t universal consensus among any large group regarding any policy matter. But with the business community realizing that employer-financed health care coverage is going the way of the mastadon, the amount of disincentives brought about by a continued influx of illegal immigrants must appear to be shrinking to the point where the business community perceives the benefits as vastly superior to the downfalls.

  5. Regarding #4, here it is right on their website:

    “Building a North American Community”

    If you search for ‘cfr members’ you’ll find dozens of tinfoil hat links disclosing that pretty much every top government official of the past several decades has been a member.

    Of course, it’s not tinfoil talk if they come right out and say what they want.

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