Every once in a while, an article or opinion piece comes along that just cannot be retold or summarized. This one you have to read for yourself, in its entirety. It will all look all too familiar.
From the New York Times:

The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.
Last week at the National Press Club in Washington, a group seeking to speak for the future of the Republican Party declared that its November defeats in Congressional races stemmed not from having been too hard on foreigners, but too soft.

The group, the American Cause, released a report arguing that anti-immigration absolutism was still the solution for the party’s deep electoral woes, actual voting results notwithstanding. Rather than “pander to pro-amnesty Hispanics and swing voters,” as President Bush and Karl Rove once tried to do, the report’s author, Marcus Epstein, urged Republicans to double down on their efforts to run on schemes to seal the border and drive immigrants out.

This is nonsense, of course. For years Americans have rejected the cruelty of enforcement-only regimes and Latino-bashing, in opinion surveys and at the polls. In House and Senate races in 2008 and 2006, “anti- amnesty” hard-liners consistently lost to candidates who proposed comprehensive reform solutions. The wedge did not work for single-issue xenophobes like Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazleton, Pa., or the former Arizona Congressman J. D. Hayworth. Nor did it help any of the Republican presidential candidates trying to defeat the party’s best-known voice of immigration moderation, John McCain, for the nomination.

Americans want immigration solved, and they realize that mass deportations will not do that. When you add the unprecedented engagement of growing numbers of Latino voters in 2008, it becomes clear that the nativist path is the path to permanent political irrelevance. Unless you can find a way to get rid of all the Latinos.

What was perhaps more notable than the report itself was the team that delivered it. It included Bay Buchanan, former adviser to Representative Tom Tancredo and sister of Pat, who founded the American Cause and wrote “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.” She was joined by James Pinkerton, an essayist and Fox News contributor who, as an aide to the first President Bush, took credit for the racist Willie Horton ads run against Michael Dukakis.

So far, so foul. But even more telling was the presence of Peter Brimelow, a former Forbes editor and founder of Vdare.com, an extremist anti-immigration Web site. It is named for Virginia Dare, the first white baby born in the English colonies, which tells you most of what you need to know. The site is worth a visit. There you can read Mr. Brimelow’s and Mr. Buchanan’s musings about racial dilution and the perils facing white people, and gems like this from Mr. Epstein:

“Diversity can be good in moderation — if what is being brought in is desirable. Most Americans don’t mind a little ethnic food, some Asian math whizzes, or a few Mariachi dancers — as long as these trends do not overwhelm the dominant culture.”

It is easy to mock white-supremacist views as pathetic and to assume that nativism in the age of Obama is on the way out. The country has, of course, made considerable progress since the days of Know-Nothings and the Klan. But racism has a nasty habit of never going away, no matter how much we may want it to, and thus the perpetual need for vigilance.

It is all around us. Much was made of the Republican mailing of the parody song “Barack the Magic Negro,” but the same notorious CD included “The Star Spanglish Banner,” a puerile bit of Latino-baiting. It is easily found on YouTube. Google the words “Bill O’Reilly” and “white, Christian male power structure” for another YouTube taste of the Fox News host assailing the immigration views of “the far left” (including The Times) as racially traitorous.

And it takes only a cursory look at a worsening economic climate and grim national mood to realize that history is always threatening to repeat itself. Last week on Long Island, the authorities in Suffolk County unsealed new indictments against a group of teenage boys accused in a murderous attack against an Ecuadorean immigrant, Marcelo Lucero. Since that crime last year, many more victims have come forward with stories of assaults in or near the same town, Patchogue. The police in that suburb seem to have made a habit of ignoring a long and escalating trail of attacks against immigrant men, until the hatred rose up and spilled over one night, fatally.

And now for extremely bad taste:

Interesting discussion on the evolution of the ‘Barack Song.’

24 Thoughts to “EDITORIAL: The Nativists Are Restless”

  1. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    All this author left out was what color unicorns he or she likes best. The opinion-piece equivalent of a large rubbermaid container of loose stool. And from the New York Slimes….yep, that’s about right! Why can’t they give newspapers away these days?

  2. Leila

    Slowpoke! You always come through. Not a single critique of a single point made in the article, not a single rebuttal of any fact stated, just a descent to the vulgar, the vividly scatological, and the shades-of the-dark-side penchant for altering and adulterating proper names.

    Let’s take one point, shall we? of the editorial–The claim about how the illegal immigration issue fared in the GOP race. Tom Tancredo made illegal (and other) immigration his central issue in his campaign. He couldn’t even get out of single digits in support. The editorial above points out that the winning GOP candidate was the one farthest from the nativist stance. Is this incorrect? Where’s the unicorn? Are you capable of actually writing a critique of this editorial, or is a similar Rubbermaid (TM) container your only offering? Jeez Louise.

  3. “The nativist path is the path to permanent political irrelevance.”

    This is precisely what the Republican party needs to hear, over and over again. I have confidence the new RNC Chair will help us avoid this fate.

  4. IVAN

    Just for everyone’s information, The American Cause is an organization headed up by Bay Buchanan. Need I say more.

  5. Slowpoke Rodriguez


    You see facts in this opinion piece?

  6. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    In fact, even the “facts” you see, the author can’t make without injecting opinion into them. But then again, it’s an “opinion” piece, isn’t it? And you know what they say about opinions, right? This person’s just stinks worse than most.

  7. Chris

    **off topic**
    Looks like there’s yet another “liberty wall” being built. I can’t wait to see what the wall will read this time. Each sign has gotten progressively more offensive. Here we go again.

    This is a fact not an opinion above. I have the photographic evidence to prove my post. 😉

  8. Leila

    Slowpoke, I just stated one. The point that illegal immigration as a wedge issue did not help the Presidential GOP candidates that championed it. The editorial also states: “In House and Senate races in 2008 and 2006, “anti- amnesty” hard-liners consistently lost to candidates who proposed comprehensive reform solutions.” Both of the above are stated as facts. Personally I think Tancredo’s incredibly tiny percentages of support in a totally wide open field of GOP candidates is telling. Maybe you don’t. But nobody can dispute who won the nomination and what his position on this question was.

    But I wasn’t only asking you to dispute facts. I asked explicitly for you to critique points made. Your post was a one-size fits all bit of scatology. Post something from the NY Times, anything at all, and you could offer the same response because it didn’t reference anything in the editorial. Not a single word. You didn’t challenge the opinions expressed.

    This was an editorial, not a news story, so it was opinion. But there were arguments stated and facts included. If you think it is all full of myths, you should perhaps identify some of them.

  9. Slow, Leila is right. Tancredo tanked. Romney was rejected. An it’s abundantly clear that immigration hate-mongering hurt the Republican party in the general election by brainwashing immigration extremists into hating immigration moderates … a process that proved impossible to fully reverse once the mainstream of the party had selected John McCain.

    If instead the extremists had gotten Tancredo, or that flip-flopper Romney to make the election about preserving the white majority, the moderates in the party would have bolted for Obama, and a decisive defeat would have turned into a landslide.

    I mean c’mon Slow, get a grip on reality. The anti-immigrant election strategy didn’t even work in Virginia in 2007 at the height of its power. Republicans lost the House of Delegates and lost several seats in the State Senate.

    Any insistence on continuing this shameful and desperate strategy will only serve to delay the party’s eventual resurgence.

  10. Leila

    Slowpoke, you appear to be being deliberately obtuse, and you still don’t actually point out what opinions are wrong and why. But I will give you points for being consistent. After the one Rubbermaid (TM) bit of scatology, you introduce a second similar image. Your rhetorical toolbox seems a bit limited, but that’s your choice.

    What I am asking for is actual critique, which doesn’t require references to excrement or orifices, or adulterating the name of a newspaper, but addresses the substance of the editorial.

  11. Poor Richard

    Today’s Virginia Pilot – Headline “Immigration Debate Fades as Issue in this GA Session”

    In part:

    “As a wedge issue in Virginia politics, illegal immigration is is 2008.
    To some political activists, the diminished attention is a sign of the issue
    being worked over like a battered pinata emptied of its rewards.
    About 130 immigration bills were introduced last year, about 30 were proposed
    this year said Claire Guthrie Gastanga, a long time lobbyist for Latino issues.
    That isn’t a universal sentiment, however.”

    Greg L. is quoted as saying the issue will come back when construction improves.

    Stay tuned (but it may be awhile).

  12. Slowpoke Rodriguez


    Are you hearing yourself? “Point out why the opinions are wrong” Can you spot the problem with that?

  13. Moon-howler

    New nick name, slow? Scat?

  14. Slowpoke Rodriguez


    You expect me to believe that there ever was such a thing as an “anti-immigrant election strategy”? And you think I need to get a grip on reality. BTW, you forgot the ILLEGAL before the word immigrant (you law-breaker apologists do that quite a bit).

  15. Leila

    “Battered pinata”? Interesting choice of image! Well if the economy continues its total free fall, maybe nativism will become a more useful electoral strategy for the GOP.

    But I doubt it will be limited to illegal immigrants. Nativists have a long record of not being picky on that score in the past, whether it was responses to the Famine Irish or the Ellis Island masses or the privileged Cuban or Vietnamese newcomers in Florida and Texas. I think identifiable legal immigrants will likely be targets again if things totally crash.

  16. Leila

    Slowpoke, you are playing word games, that’s obvious. But fine, I will rephrase. Why did your post not state why you disagreed with the editorial? Why did it not address any of the claims? Why did it not refer to anything actually in the editorial at all? What about your response was not totally generic? What about it actually referenced the piece at hand?

    And you still haven’t said whether you believe the editorial was incorrect when it stated that this alleged “wedge issue” of illegal immigration did not help “any of the Republican presidential candidates trying to defeat the party’s best-known voice of immigration moderation, John McCain, for the nomination.”

    Tancredo would probably be more forthright on this than you are being!

  17. Your link in your blog post is malfunctioning. You need to remove the second http forward-slash, forward-slash.

  18. Leila

    I noticed the same problem with the link, but since Moon-Howler posted the entire text, it is less of an issue. I wonder who isn’t watching the football.

  19. Moon-howler

    Why Mackie, how is it that you can see my error?

    Everything should be fixed. Sorry about that. Good help is hard to find.

  20. Leila

    M-H, you need a minion!

  21. Moon-howler

    Indeed I do! Any volunteers?

  22. ShellyB

    I’m only casually watching the game. Slowpoke, you can call it whatever you want. But your voter base was anti-immigrant, and anti-whatever-they-were-told as evidenced by their reaction to Sarah Palin and the socialist and terrorist campaign. The problem is these idiots only amount to 20 percent of the populace and their numbers are shrinking. But why am I explaining this to you? I hope you win! Yes, I hope the haters take control of the party platform for the next 10 elections. The Republican party will fall to pieces and it would be better for our country. But sadly I doubt they are dumb enough or as blinded by hate as you are.

  23. In the long run, it’s a good thing when CDs like this and other blatantly racist actions are taken by GOP linked persons. It makes the word bigot synonymous with the word republican. Eventually, it means the end of the GOP.

    There’s no reason why the GOP could not have picked up a much greater share of the latino vote in this last election. The latino community was feeling very vulnerable and I think if the leadership of the GOP had boldly denounced and banished the Tancredos, this would have had a big impact. They also needed to reach out to the immigrants to say that they respect their sacrifice for their families and their work ethic. These are the things that people really care about. Not some obscure, cryptic, distant thing called immigration law. The latino community was beginning to find it’s voice in this election. It was ideal time to offer a hand of friendship.

    If the GOP had done that, they might not have won this election, but they would have sown the seeds for future victories.

    But the bridges are burned now. Michael Steele is too little too late.

  24. Let’s wait and see what Mr. Steele does before we doom him to failure. He will put the kabash on the kinds of tactics that have offended the moderates in the party. The other ingredient will be to reestablish a reputation for fiscal prudence and effective but not oversized government. We may lose the slowpokes and other hate-crazed loons, but we will gain back the centrists who must form the new base of the party if it is to survive.

Comments are closed.