November 17, 2007

Blood's a Rover

Hatched by Dafydd

Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.

A.E. Housman, a Shropshire Lad, poem IV

Over on his own blog, frequent commenter Rovin asks what I think the impact of immigration, illegal aliens, the failed immigration bill last year, and the drivers' licences for illegals position of the Democrats will be on the 2008 elections.

In general, I think it cuts slightly against the GOP right now, mostly because if they had passed the bill, they could have beaten the Dems about the head and shoulders for not building the wall. But immigration will not determine this election.

As it stands, if the GOP attacks the Dems for not building the wall, the Democrats can respond that when the Republicans controlled congress, they couldn't even pass an immigration bill with Democratic help. That reminds us of other GOP failures -- such as the failure to rein in spending -- that hurt the Republican argument that we're the adults.

The drivers' license question will not hurt any Democrat with Democratic voters; a few independents might be annoyed, but they won't base their vote on the question. GOP voters might be somewhat more motivated to head to the polls, increasing turnout. On this particular aspect (drivers' licenses for illegal aliens), slight benefit to the GOP.

Look for the Dems to propose a bill similar to what the GOP rejected in 2006, but with real amnesty (not the fake kind that conservatives pretended to find in the previous bill) and with little to no border security provisions. When the Senate GOP filibusters it, the Dems will try to ride that into electoral gain: "The Republicans won't even meet us halfway on immigration... it's 'my way or the highway' to Mitch McConnell!" This will help drive Dems to the polls; slight advantage to the Democrats on this particular aspect.

Added together, they mostly balance out with, as I said, a slight edge to the Democrats.

But I believe this election is going to be dominated by the Great Game being played out right now, where our military is winning a tremendous victory in Iraq -- while the Democrats are desperately trying to force defeat upon us by starving the Army. If the eventual Republican candidate can frame this issue properly, it can inflict a catastrophic blow not only on the Democratic presidential candidate (presumably Hillary) but upon Democratic swing seats in Congress.

The theme should be "they're trying to force another Vietnam-style, manufactured defeat on us, just like they did in 1974."

The biggest danger to the GOP is not that we'll sound alarmist; threats to national security are so serious in people's minds that they won't hold mere alarmism against us, so long as we don't sound hysterical. The biggest danger is that the GOP might be bullied by Democrats and their press gang into muting itself on this issue, so as not to sound "extreme."

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice -- a marvelous saying I just made up. (I'm thinking of making up another one that goes, "Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue," but I haven't decided yet.) Let's grab the bull by the tail and look the facts in the face: I don't mean this personally or with any disrespect, but the Democrats surrendered to the Communists in 1974, and now they're trying to surrender to the militant Islamist terrorists in 2008.

In fact, I would love to see the following scenario play out during a debate between the Republican and Democratic nominees: They start arguing about national security. In a desperate ploy to save the Democrat, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asks a stupid question about global warming or some such asinine subject.

And the Republican, instead of answering, says... "If you don't mind, Wolf, we're having a serious discussion about national security. Sen. Clinton can decide which question interests her, but I'm going to stick with the important issue." Then he goes back on the attack against the defeatist Democrats, completely ignoring the global warming stupidity.

Heck, he could go ahead and make nearly the entire debate about national security... why not? Nobody ever won a war by "wishin' and hopin'." You win wars with brains, guts, and steel: the intelligence to come up with a winning strategy; the will to implement it and ride it all the way; and enough men and materiel to achieve victory.

Where are the Democrats on any one of these three utterly necessary resources? They have no plan for winning, no stomach for the fight, and they want to starve the Army to buy health insurance for the entire middle class.

Bang on the theme; force the Democrats to defend their wretched record. Be loud enough that they cannot just walk away. Force them to make the argument that imperialist America is causing all the problems in the world... it will only reinforce what we're saying about Democratic America-hatred.

If the Dems want to argue about who really lost Vietnam, great! That's a fight we can win. And far from being ancient history, we can bring it into the present by pointing out that they're doing the exact, same thing today.

Vietnam was an inevitable defeat? You mean, just like you think the Moslem terrorists will inevitably win this war? Vietnam was an imperialist war of aggression -- so what would you call the Islamist militants' attempt to seize Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan -- which has nuclear missiles -- and even France, Germany, and Australia? What do you call their demand for a world-wide Caliphate... with them in charge?

Our "Sister Souljah" moment will come when the GOP nominee has the guts to talk directly to American Moslems and call on them to join the fight against terrorism and extremism in the name of their religion:

Where are you? Where are the Moslem organizations? Are you going to let the Hamas front-group CAIR speak for you?

This is the American Moslem moment: Stand up, denounce all terrorists -- including the animals who kill Jewish babies in Jerusalem -- and join the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, or the Marines. Sign up with the CIA. Take back your mosques from the radicals and shake some sense into your children. More than any other group in America, this fight needs modern Moslems who love life, and who love liberty and freedom, more than they hate supposed "infidels" and "apostates."

And demand that the Democrats join in this call for national wartime unity. Make them squirm.

If they ignore the issue, then the GOP nominee should accuse them of starving our troops and not even caring how many get killed because of their fecklessness. "Pelosi, Reid, and Hillary Clinton won't even debate the issue... it's not important enough to them. They only want to talk about defeat -- and how much they can raise your taxes to buy more pork."

The lay-off notices that the DoD is going to have to start sending out to civilian employees of the military and to defense contractors, if the Dems keep up this tactic, will deal the Democrats yet another body blow: "The Democrats are forcing the military to shut down, all because they hate George Bush more than they love America."

I'm actually getting a bit more confident about the Congressional elections; I've always been confident about the presidential election. I assumed that the Dems would have learned their lesson and started listening to folks like Rahm Emanuel and John Podesta; instead, they're still listening to Nancy Pelosi and

  1. The more we win in Iraq, the more desperate they become to force a loss;
  2. The more desperate they become to force a loss, the more obvious they are;
  3. The more obvious they are, the easier it will be to portray them as cowardly and unAmerican in 2008.

I don't understand why they're doing this; but for as long as they continue, we need to pound on them for betraying American soldiers in the field. It's a powerful theme and one they'll be hard-pressed to refute (original definition).

At some point, if they stop, then we can sound the theme that "we forced the Democrats to come to their senses at long last; now let's hope the damage they did to our military can be reversed, before it's too late."

Follow-up with a series of GOP proposals to support the war and help the troops, and let's see how far we can push them -- incidentally pissing off their anti-American base and depressing their turnout.

I know this isn't the analysis that Rovin was looking for; but honestly, because of the stunning success of the Petraeus counterinsurgency, immigration isn't going to have much of an impact on the presidential or Senate races. It may have a larger affect on congressional and gubernatorial races; but those will be driven by unique, local situations impossible to analyze unless you're living in the middle of them.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 17, 2007, at the time of 4:31 PM

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The following hissed in response by: xennady

Dafydd: Ironically I stumbled upon your post just after reading a Dean Barnett piece in the Weekly Standard on immigration.He noted that 61% percent of respondents to a Quinnipiac poll taken in Ohio opposed educating the children of illegal aliens. I repeat- they don't even want them in public school. Pardon me, but in light of results like this I think your belief that illegal immigration isn't much of a concern to voters is utterly mistaken.

The above hissed in response by: xennady [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 17, 2007 9:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Pardon me, but in light of results like this I think your belief that illegal immigration isn't much of a concern to voters is utterly mistaken.

Apples and apes, Xennady. The question isn't what people will say when you ask them point blank "Do you want X?" The question is what will motivate them to vote for a Republican over a Democrat or a Democrat over a Republican.

I'll bet a lot more than 61% of respondents would say they don't want to eat chicken feet or lark's tongues in aspic. But even if the candidates lined up pro- and con- such delicacies, nobody would base his vote on the candidate's gourmet palate.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 17, 2007 10:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

As I said below in this vein -
push a resolution praising the soldiers for their hard work in the surge. push a clean bill with money for the war.
I am not sure you are on track over the illegal immigration crisis. The recent news from New York implies it is far broader than you might realize.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 5:33 AM

The following hissed in response by: Rovin


I could have been a little more explicit, in that the issue of immigration reform may have an impact, and there are so many others that will separate or collect the masses at the voting booth.

And I completely agree that national security and the turning events in Iraq will be by far the strongest issue in the general election. This needs to be hammered home in every form of media.

In a recent Wapo article, a writer said:
"In more than a dozen interviews, U.S. military officials expressed growing concern over the Iraqi government's failure to capitalize on sharp declines in attacks against U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians." (Don’t you just love the way our MSM “buddies” use the term “U.S. military officials” as if this is the collective consensus?)

To which I wrote:

"Wouldn't it be nice if our government took some similar advice and provided some legislation that actually meant something to this nation collectively?

Note to Democratic Congress: our military forces are winning this war with out your "help" or interference. Troops are already coming home and 3-5 brigades may be coming home early next year.”

We need to have signs and bumper stickers that read: "U.S. CONGRESS OUT OF IRAQ!"

The Anchoress posted a fine story about the "media embargo" here. Excellent read.

And for the record, I have never advocated deporting 12 million illegal’s, but I also don't think it is right to issue drivers license's that encourage others to enter this country illegally. My reasons are (in order of importance), #1) national security, #2) voter fraud, and #3) allowing a group of people to go to the front of a line (of retaining citizenship) while others, who have obeyed
and respected our immigration laws, will be thrown under the bus. At what point do we say "ignore this law and respect this one" without sliding down the slope of how anyone decides to abide by any law? And most important, I think a good majority of Americans feel the same way I do, which is why I asked the original question----“will this be an issue next year”. And the generic excuse the democratic candidate’s use---- “we need comprehensive immigration reform” is just that, a lame excuse to not provide specifics.

p.s. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” (I like this one too)

The above hissed in response by: Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 7:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Check out this article from the J-Post: it adds an intersting historical dimension to your argument, Dafydd.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 8:23 AM

The following hissed in response by: xennady

Dafydd: Uh what? We ain't talking about which obscure delicacy someone likes likes least but about the future of the country and the rule of law. Bluntly, if illegal aliens don't have to obey US law why the hell should I? There are many idiotic government regulations that negatively affect my job and my employer- OSHA regs, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. If my employer would use illegals many of these regs and their associated costs would effectively go away. I'm sure you've seen many stories about illegals and the US laws they ignore. Up to now we've had the Democrats who want illegal alien votes via fraud or via naturalization but no matter what they want those votes and the hell with the law and everything else. Opposing this was- wait for it- George W. Bush! LOL! Remember that when Harry Reid was trying every trick in the book to get the recent failed comprehensive amnesty bill through the senate he was describing it all the while as Bush's plan. Certainly Reid doesn't agree with you that this is an issue of no salience. Given that Bush is on the way out and the next GOP nominee won't share his pro-amnesty position likely this time there will be more than a choice between amnesty and amnesty which is what we've had till now.And you write about Iraq "if the eventual Republican candidate can frame this properly"? You think the GOP will have the stones to attack the Democrats as traitors by accusing them of starving the army now and throwing away victory in Vietnam in the 70s but won't be able to gain traction on the immigration issue? Color me unconvinced. Stopping illegal immigration is overwhelmingly popular, the Iraq war less so.

The above hissed in response by: xennady [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 12:43 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I could have been a little more explicit, in that the issue of immigration reform may have an impact, and there are so many others that will separate or collect the masses at the voting booth.

Locally, in congressional and state races, yes... as I noted in the original post above.

But it won't make a difference in the presidential race or in Senate races because in 2008, there will not be a dime's worth of difference between the parties' positions.

Immigration could make a diff if there were a clear and unambiguous distinction between Democrat and Republican positions, as there is anent the war. But both parties are splintered on the issue:

  • There are pure-pro-amnesty Democrats, joined by some Republicans (Specter, et al);
  • There are squishy pro-border-security Democrats, joined by a lot of Republicans;
  • There are pure-anti-illegal -- in fact, anti-immigration Republicans (like Tancreco), joined by a few Dems;
  • But most senators and both the presidential candidates will be enunciating the same position:
  • No amnesty of any kind;
  • Some form of legalization that you an other immigration absolutists will characterize as amnesty;
  • Full border security;
  • A weak plan that you and other immigration absolutists will characterize as no security whatsoever;
  • No drivers' licenses for illegals, but support for whatever states decide -- including drivers' licenses for illegals;
  • And punting on all the other issues.

Because all sides will be muddled and confused, neither side will have much of an edge in the "national" races (by which I exclude House races, which typically turn on district-specific issues... which may well include immigration in come districts, pro and con). I give the Dems a slight edge because a lot of people like you are still angry at Bush, and therefore some percent of them will angrily sit out the election.

Likewise, the "stopping the war" issue cuts against the Democrats, because some percent of the MoveOn crowd will decide that it's just a race between Republicrats and Democans and will sit out the race (or vote for Ralph Nader, which is the same thing).

The "fighting the war" issue -- which is distinct from the one above -- will cut very strongly against the Democrats and in the Republicans' favor. Economic issues will probably cut fairly strongly against the Republicans, sadly enough, as a third of the country is convinced that we are in a recession right now, despite the fact that the economy is better now than it has been since 1999. (They've been convinced of this absurdity by the lying elite media.)


I just skimmed the J-Post opinion piece you linked; it seems to say roughly the same thing about the effect of the war on the election as I said in this post. I would add this perspective, as an American:

I do not believe Americans have ever rejected the necessity of any war that we clearly won.

That's a strong statement, and I stand by it; once we win a war, many people who thought it wasn't worth the effort while it looked as though we were not doing well change their minds and decide it was a great idea all along -- after we win it. This was true about the WWII and Korea, about WWI, and about the Civil War: Each of these was very unpopular in many quarters when things weren't going well... but when the war turned around, all of a sudden, many people who used to hate it loved it -- and had always loved it.

We even recognize this phenomenon in an aphorism: Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.

Thus, we have already seen significant improvement in the metric, "Was the Iraq war worth fighting?" It had sunk to about 25% support, but now it's risen to the high 30s.

By a year from now, it will be far clearer that we have won this war... and I suspect the percent who say it was worth it will be close to -- or even above -- the magic 50% figure.

I believe also that Bush's job approval is more tied to the Iraq war than to virtually any other issue; as support rises for the war, it will buoy his approval rating, too. He may well end his term with 48%-51%.

More than almost any other metric, the approval rating of the sitting president affects support for the nominee of his party to succeed him.

So keep fingers crossed that my guess is correct as to what will happen on that measure; other issues could intervene to hold it down... for example, if the fallacious and easily disproven idea that we're in a "recession" takes greater hold than it has now, that would do it. Nothing like personal financial insecurity to make people feel down on the president.

(FDR is the only example where that never did affect his popularity, despite his manifest incompetence at solving that problem... since he was trying to solve it with more of what caused the depression in the first place!)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 1:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Chris Dodd is not exactly a hardliner and he did not support drivers licenses for illegals. As far as that is concerned neither did my Congressman, Brad Ellsworth, blue dog Democrat who just happened to beat the hardliner Hostettler in the midterms here in Indiana.

In recent elections in Va. immigration was something of a wash for Republicans.

I think that a lot of people on the right are suffering from group think when it comes to immigration. They do not realize how complicated this issue can get. I know I would agree with them on 95% of the issues, but because of that 5% I have received nasty emails...I have been called a traitor....I have been called an open border fanatic...that kind of lock step does not bode well for strong support from a lot of people. You are supposed to court people, not bully them.

BTW, isn't there some court decision that states kids have to be in school, illegal parents or not?

In fact I think that the attitudes of some hardliners have hurt their president and their party. They have accused Bush of selling out to Mexico and made a point of attacking him in spite of the fact that he is a war time president dealing with the likes of Pelosi and Reid. And this is in spite of the fact that Bush did sign the Fence Security Act and has put more resources into securing the border than any president ever. This backstabbing has hurt the Republicans.

And as far as polls are concerned you could do a poll and find that Democrats have an advantage in generic polls and that people think Republicans are responsible for the high price of gas. You could also find a majority supporting a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for at least some illegals. That is the way polls work, we like the ones that reinforce our attitudes and ignore the rest.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 3:17 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bookworm

My current take on the Democrats' position vis a vis immigration is to tell people to look to England. Under Labour, England has had virtually unfettered immigration over the past decade, with the assurance to all new immigrants that they will instantly receive full government benefits. In other words, England doesn't even have people sneaking in -- it's inviting this.

The result is that over a half million new immigrants streamed into England last year alone (and, just FYI, the UK'ss total population is 60.7 million). Social services are strained and wondering how they can respond to the challenge, especially in large urban areas.

Interestingly, 400,000 people left England last year. It's not clear, of course, whether the two numbers are connected.

Government numbers indicate that, by 2030, these immigrants will account for 83% of Britain's population growth. Wow!

I'm not judging whether this is a good or a bad thing (at least not here), but it is instructional in terms of examining Dem policies that would grant amnesty to current illegals, which is an incentive for more illegals; increase immigrant numbers; and shower new immigrants, whether illegal or legal, with ever greater government benefits. If you're wondering how this experiment ends up, look across the Atlantic, to see it play out on a smaller scale with a smaller population.

The above hissed in response by: Bookworm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2007 3:58 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


There is not a real Democrat position on immigration, any more than there is a Republican position. Democrats like Boren of Oklahoma and Ellsworth of Indiana are certainly not looking to England.

This is wishful thinking on the part of Republicans.In 2006 they ran on this issue and lost. In recent elections their performance was mixed at best and yet they just keep beating that poor dead horse.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2007 3:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: xennady

Terrye: Bush not only signed the Fence Security act, he signed the McCain-Feingold and Sarbanes-Oxley bills. As a Bush supporter would you blame him for the negative effects of those bills or just say that he was pushed into signing both of them despite his objections? I'd say Bush was plainly forced to sign the fence bill and just as plainly didn't want to. I recall just before the 2006 election a rumor went around that Bush wouldn't sign it. He did but that rumor showed just how little trust border security advocates had in him. And with him as president the general GOP position- secure the border, enforce the law, then maybe amnesty later- won't come clear in the view of the public. Terrye, even if you don't agree with this, it is the "real" GOP position on illegal immigration, held by the overwhelming majority of rank-and-file Republicans. You may not have heard but recently Eliot Spitzer of NY came up with a plan to issue driver licenses to illegals and it was so unpopular that some Democratic (!) county clerks said that they would refuse to comply with it. If this was a dead issue why did that happen? I'll agree on one thing-this has been a mixed issue for Republicans. I don't think that will change until the amnesty-advocate-in-chief in the White House is gone- and that's happening soon.

The above hissed in response by: xennady [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2007 7:28 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


Bush does not sign bills he does not want to sign.And I am tired of listening to hardliners stand shoulder to shoulder with Democrats to undermine Bush just because he did not say how high when they said jump. If this was such an earth shatteringly important issue to people like Newt Gingrich they should have dealt with it years ago. But they did not and that is not Bush's fault. There are people like Tancredo out there accusing him of being part of a conspiracy to sell out the country and that crap they buy, but cut Bush some slack? No sir, they would rather complain. I am just tired of hearing it.

And of course I heard about the bill that Spitzer supported. I was the one who mentioned that Chris Dodd the Democrat did not support this bill and neither do a lot of other Democrats including my Congressman. Schwazeneggar vetoed such a bill in California but he still took hell from absolutists for not being rigid enough.

My point is that the right has run off a lot of people with this issue, by being too rigid and ignoring the fact that they are not the entire Republican party much less the whole country.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2007 4:52 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

And btw xennady, the idea that stopping illegal immigration is popular is beside the point. The point is that people have different ideas about the best way to deal with it. The mistake the hardliners make is that they assume they are the only ones who care.

For instance I don't think that drivers licenses for illegals is a good idea and so far as I know George Bush and Senator Kyl never suggested any such thing, but that did not keep certain people from treating them like the enemy.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2007 5:50 PM

The following hissed in response by: xennady

Terrye: If Bush signed the McCain-Feingold and Sarbanes-Oxley bills without the major reservations that he supposedly had, then he is even a worse president than I thought he was. And the people in the US that don't want illegal immigration have been more than willing to compromise, going back to the Simpson-Mazzoli bill in the 80s. Our reward has been an ever worsening problem that has now progressed to the point that huge numbers of Mexican citizens have marched through American streets waving Mexican flags and making demands and threats. Enough. I'm tired of cutting politicians including George Bush slack for their failure to solve problems including this one. The Federal government has done essentially nothing to stop or even slow down the flood across the border. If this isn't a problem for you say so. If not, stop attacking people that do want to take action.

The above hissed in response by: xennady [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2007 3:46 PM

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