GOP Can't Win Great Hispandering Competition
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[VDARE.COM note: We were using the term "Hispano-pander", but have decided Mickey Kaus' term "Hispander" is better.]

Never let it be said that the Democrats will allow the Republicans to out-pander them for the Hispanic vote.

Ever since he entered office, President Bush has muttered about an amnesty for illegal aliens, but he's had to put that on the political shelf because of the "war on terrorism" and other projects. Now, one of the chief Democrats has come up with a proposal that threatens to make the very term "illegal alien" obsolete.

Speaking at the national conference of a Hispanic racist organization that calls itself the National Council of La Raza ("The Race"), House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (contact him) vowed to introduce legislation that, as the Washington Post described it,

"would provide earned legal residency to illegal immigrants who work in the United States for two years and obey the law."

["Hispanic Group Assails INS Enforcement Plan" By Darryl Fears, July 23, 2002]

Leave aside for the nonce that by being in the country illegally at all, the immigrants are not obeying the law.

What Mr. Gephardt's bill would do, if it became law, would be effectively to repeal existing laws against illegal immigration.

If an alien who crosses the border illegally can avoid arrest for two years and get himself a job from the Open Borders lobby, then he would be able to apply for legal residency. Once he gains legal residency, he would be on the road to full citizenship.

The bill would vastly enhance the incentives for more illegal immigration and virtually abolish any incentive among illegals to return home. It would also make better enforcement of current immigration law largely pointless. Why bust illegals if the government has just passed a law making them eligible for legal status?

As even the Post remarks, Mr. Gephardt's speech was "an undisguised Democratic appeal to Hispanics," whom Republicans have also been courting—without much result—for the last several years. President Bush, you will recall, was the man who supposedly had won a majority of the Hispanic vote in his re-election as governor of Texas in 1998 (not true; he won less than 40 percent) and could win the emerging Hispanic majority for the GOP (not true again: he won a mere 35 percent in 2000; Al Gore walked off with a landslide 65 percent majority despite Republican pandering).

But now, Mr. Gephardt's speech to the racists (excuse me, the Razistas) shows that the Democrats are not about to let the Republicans corner the pander market. It also shows why the Democrats, once they put their minds to it, will always walk off with the title in the World Pandermeister Contest.

You can beat the Democrats at pandering about as easily as you can beat Italians at making spaghetti sauce. The Democrats  invented pandering—the New Deal, the Square Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society, and every other panderfest now known collectively as the welfare state, each and all sprang full blown from the Democratic noggin.

When President Bush last year suggested an amnesty for Mexican illegals, in his feeble and pathetic attempt to compete with his rivals' pandering, they trumped him at once with a proposal for an amnesty for all illegals.

Now, with the Gephardt pander bid, the Republicans are out-pandered once more.

The Democrats can't be beaten at pandering simply because they have for decades deliberately constructed their party and its political strategy around it. Their constituencies—the poor, ethnic minorities and the apparently immortal gaggle of academic deadbeats and eggheads who call themselves "liberals"—demand pandering.

The Republicans, on the contrary, have nothing like that. Their party is based on constituencies like white, middle and upper-income businessmen, farmers, and (in the last 30 years or so) cultural conservatives, all of whom look upon pandering with contempt and regard it as yet another effort to undermine the middle-class values and virtues by which they and the American Republic live.

Not only are Republicans not very good at pandering and always beaten by the Democrats but also, pandering doesn't impress and may even lose the base Republican constituency.

If Mr. Gephardt introduces his bill and should actually get it passed into law, it will not only mean an open invitation to every amigo south of the border from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego to invite himself and his family to our country permanently but will also mean that the Republican pander contest for the Hispanic vote will be completed by the Democrats.

The amigos will know very well which party sponsored the legislation that let them in (the Razistas to whom Mr. Gephardt was spouting will make sure of that) and which party is in the best position to pander to them even more.

The Republicans can boast about their own pitiful attempts at pandering all they want. But when the prizes for pandering are handed out, it will be the Democrats who go home with them.


July 25, 2002

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