Self-preservation is colliding with a suicidal ideology within the American Right. The outcome of this battle will determine its future—and the future of the historic American nation.
Prior to last week, immigration patriots had growing reasons for optimism. Despite the best efforts of Grover Norquist and other corporate shills within Conservatism Inc., the American Right was slowly lining up against the Obama/ Schumer/ Rubio push for an Amnesty/ Immigration Surge. Even National Review featured a cover story written by CIS’s Mark Krikorian, which actually blamed Mitt Romney's defeat on the decline in white turnout. Drudge, after a period of silence, was prominently featuring anti-immigration stories. After Ann Coulter's declaration of war at CPAC 2013, other leading pundits, most critically Rush Limbaugh, joined the battle. Opposition to amnesty was becoming the default conservative position, with even the Weekly Standard joining the fight.
Maybe it’s simple partisanship. Unlike in 2006-2007, President Barack Hussein Obama is now leading the charge. After budget battles, gun control, Benghazi, the Boston terrorist attacks and the liberal MSM’s lust for white male villains and the IRS’ admitting it targeted Tea Party groups, Republicans were getting fed up.
But more importantly, a talking point that has made a real impact on the conservatives is the objective reality that “undocumented Americans” will never vote for Republicans—and that Amnesty ensures a blue Texas and a permanent Democratic majority.
Signs of discontent were coming from within the Congressional GOP. Pat Buchanan lookalike Ted Cruz proposed banning all illegals from ever obtaining American citizenship. Treason Lobby dallier Senator Rand Paul, as predicted, was showing signs of abandoning “reform” in order to protect his own Presidential ambitions. Even Marco Rubio, watching his lobbyist-promised path to the White House evaporating before his eyes, was looking for cover, either lying about the facts of the bill or going off Chuck Schumer's script by saying the bill needed “improvements.” (Of course, none will be forthcoming.)
But, incredibly, former Senator Jim DeMint of the Heritage Foundation has managed to botch the palpable sense of patriotic momentum and to undercut his own study by firing a staffer, Jason Richwine, for authoring a Harvard Ph.D. dissertation (which must have been his qualification for being hired by Heritage in the first place) on IQ and immigration.
Patriots are in a familiar position: their putative champions cringe in apology, afraid even to make arguments against the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill, while the parasites of Conservatism Inc. cackle—and Cultural Marxist commissars openly call for capitulation.
But my message to immigration patriots: IT DOESN'T MATTER. As could have been predicted, and as Rush Limbaugh actually did predict months ago, opposition to the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge has been decisively associated with the conservative Right—regardless of parasites like Norquist. Even if Amnesty/ Immigration Surge passes overwhelmingly, the Republicans will receive no credit. As they themselves really know, Hispanics simply will not vote for the Republican Party.
Open Borders Conservatism Inc. types needed Amnesty to be passed quickly—without vocal Republican opposition, and with Republican frontmen who could receive Main Stream Media ululations.
But that didn’t happen. In the wake of the Boston Bombing, national security concerns became a prominent topic of public debate. Senators like Charles Grassley and Jeff Sessions are mucking up the works by asking embarrassing questions during the hearings. Conservatism Inc. proponents like Rubio are on the defensive—because the bill doesn't contain even the elementary border security measures that the “reform” Republicans promised. Despite the best efforts of the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson to simply buy conservatism, too much debate has already taken place.
Even more importantly, Democrats are playing Republicans for fools. Perhaps the greatest evidence: the “poison pill” that Pat Leahy introduced to give an automatic green card to the foreign-born partners of American homosexuals, although Marco Rubio has stated explicitly that this means he will be unable to support the bill, and the self-professed Christians shilling for amnesty will suddenly lose the great press they've been enjoying this entire debate. [The GOP may kill immigration reform over gay rights. The Supreme Court could stop them., By Dylan Matthews, Washington Post, May 3, 2013]
But why are conservatives so bad at this?
As the insider Mr. X said in JFK, “That's the real question isn't it. Why? The how and the who is just scenery for the public.”
Tactically, the objective reality is that allowing Richwine to “resign” was a catastrophic unforced error by the Heritage Foundation, discrediting its own study. As a result, the wolves from La Raza are circling, demanding more concessions.
Strategically: the answer is a failure of Conservatism Inc.’s imagination. The termination of Richwine shows that Heritage believes the real mistake was hiring him.
Dave Weigel's remarkable May 10 Slate piece The IQ Test, the top featured article at Slate for days, explicitly made the case that Richwine should have “listened to his friends’— by not associating with dangerous ideas (or even people). And because Richwine made the forbidden link between race and IQ, he has allegedly endangered the very idea of immigration restriction.
Weigel is not making moralistic claims or being unfair—he's simply laying out the rules as accepted by the political class, of which he is a Candidate Member.
Weigel does make one mistake—when he argues that Washington DC conservatives are occasionally rewarded for confronting racial issues. In reality, they accept the boundaries of discussion as the Left assigns them. Castrated young conservatives understand this even better.
In my opinion, it simply never occurred to Senator DeMint, or anyone else at Heritage, to fight the intellectual battle over race and IQ. Even those conservatives defending Richwine—like Greg Pollowitz in NR—are making sure to distance themselves from what he actually said. [ L'Affaire Richwine , By May 10, 2013] These braver conservatives are willing to defend free speech in the abstract—but not to use it for anything important.
From the Conservatism Inc. point of view, Heritage acted correctly. As Weigel's article took for granted, any public policy is instantly discredited once it is connected to any kind of belief in inherent racial characteristics. Being “politically incorrect” is indulged—but only if that forbidden connection is never made.
The lesson Heritage and Conservatism Inc. generally is drawing: conservatives need to double down on ensuring these connections are never made again. Conservatism Inc. as an ideology has to believe that race doesn't exist, that a black conservative revolution is just around the corner, that American Hispanics will throng to the GOP if it can just find the right “message.”
Even if everyone else sees conservatism as a reservoir of implicit whiteness, conservatives have to believe that they can sever the relationship between their preferred policies and their constituencies, lest they fall into “identity politics” and “collectivism.”
Therefore culling Richwine, from their point of view, wasn't an act of weakness, but of strength. In Heritage's eyes, it strengthens the Rector Report by having the data stand alone, removed from any connection to tainted messengers or ideas about the inherent characteristics of populations. As minicon Matt Lewis put it:
[I]t would be a mistake to assume that by dispatching Richwine (or accepting his resignation) Heritage is signaling they will surrender on immigration. Quite the opposite, the fact that they are so willing to rid themselves of this troublesome man likely means they are committed to the cause.
Maybe. I once spoke to a former Republican Congressional chief of staff about the future of American politics. The discussion had started over racial issues. The Chief of Staff grinned and said these things can’t be discussed—but that my demographic pessimism may prove correct. He said: “I'm a short term optimist and a long term pessimist.”
This is the strategic outlook of a dying movement, where tactical cleverness and intellectual sophistry are used to conceal long term decline. It's a movement of people who watch House of Cards without irony, but are scared to mention “self-deportation.”
This decline is inevitable when movement figures are quite literally not allowed to examine the real causes. The result is that movement grows smaller, stupider, and fanatically focused on tangential and transient issues.
Thus, George Will, Jennifer Rubin, and various professional token conservatives are reduced to openly arguing that we must have more immigration—because to do otherwise is to be “pessimistic.” To use factual analysis about the catastrophic impact of mass immigration and the replacement of the historic American Nation by the Third World is to confess oneself as anti-American. America is in fact so “Exceptional” that family values don't stop at the Rio Grande—although facts apparently do.
But Conservatism Inc.'s dogma simply does not work, and perhaps more importantly, can't win, elections. In response, some real conservatives respond with realistic despair—“We Are Doomed.”
However, there is a third alternative. Conservatism Inc. is intellectually bankrupt—but immigration patriotism is the wedge of a much larger movement. Despite Beltway incompetence, the Democratic Senate, the liberal MSM, and pro-amnesty forces within Conservatism Inc. are on the defensive. As David Weigel showed, breaking the “rules” may cost conservatives a career—but it's not Conservatism Inc. that's winning any victories anyway.
The opposition to Obama's second term agenda is coming from outside the approved channels. And in this, there is hope.
Hope for a political agenda that will finally allow the historic American nation to pursue its own destiny.
Conservatism Inc. has confessed its failure, its cowardice, and most of all, its irrelevance. But immigration patriots may be on the brink of a stunning victory, despite it all.
The real question is whether they can remake the American Right—and where they go from here.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] travels around the United States looking for a waiter who can speak English.