Monday, July 15, 2013

When I read Ross Douthat's...

...column and his blog posts in the New York Times, I often come away thinking that he doesn't seem to really buy the argument he's just made. He reminds me of a debate team member who's given a position to defend that he doesn't hold himself.

On immigration reform, however, Douthat has come across as sincere and has actually made me question some aspects of the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate recently.

But in his column yesterday, I detected just a little disingenuousness creeping back in. Douthat lists the various groups within the Republican Party who object to the bill and why:

Instead, as the Democrats have come to march in lock step on the issue — dropping the old union-populist skepticism of low-wage immigration in favor of liberal cosmopolitanism and Hispanic interest-group pandering — many of the country’s varying, conflicting opinions have ended up crowded inside the Republican Party’s tent.

So there are Republicans who would happily vote for the Senate bill as is, no questions asked, and Republicans who might never vote for a bill that contains the words “comprehensive” and “reform,” let alone “immigration.”

There are law-and-order Republicans who care only about border security and E-Verify, pro-business Republicans seeking new guest-worker programs and religious-conservative Republicans for whom amnesty is a humanitarian cause.

There are libertarian Republicans who believe “the more, the better” is the only answer on immigration policy and communitarian Republicans who worry about the impact on wages, assimilation and cultural cohesion.

There are calculating, self-interested Republicans who think immigration reform will save their party from extinction, and calculating, self-interested Republicans who worry that it will create millions of new Democratic voters.

I don't doubt that those are all legitimate positions on the bill. But isn't Douthat leaving out the largest group of all in the Republican Party? What about the white, rural, "Christian," nativist base of the party that just doesn't like Mexicans? What about them?

Let's be honest here. Isn't that what opposition to this bill among House Republicans is really all about?

Like me, you probably have friends or family members who vote Republican. And you know how some of them talk when no one else is around. The truth is that most Republicans just don't like brown people or black people or anybody for that matter who isn't of European descent.

Isn't this really about racism?

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