Of the several Immigration discussions on the weekend talk shows, the most violent (and hence the most realistic) was at Meet the Press, where Pat Buchanan faced Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill). The Politico website says
Food Fight!: The usually-staid "Meet the Press" on NBC turned into a smackdown Sunday...And it wasn't pretty. There were interruptions, sighs and tense body language...none of the [other] exchanges got as heated as the one between Buchanan and Gutierrez.
Gutierrez (whose handsome F- ranking from Americans for Better Immigration is definitive) spent the program emitting a high pitched ethnocentric screech of rage. Of course these aging and decrepit Anglos should move over and give his strong and virile people everything they want! Any other idea was impermissible!
the tone and the texture of the debate that Pat has brought here to MEET THE PRESS is really what is wrong with this debate.
Pat Buchanan, of course, is eminently capable of defending himself - and actually knows the issue. (Old Atlantic Lighthouse, which headlined Pat Buchanan KOs Luis Gutierrez provides a useful statistical brief supporting the points Pat made.)
But the Guttierrez performance was illuminating. Clearly emboldened when his tantrum was not answered by Buchanan with another, he began to threaten:
Republicans are going to become a party of the past and irrelevant in national elections... and in the Congress of the United States...if we don't change the texture and the tone of this debate and stop blaming immigrants... ...and specifically Latinos for every ill that exists in this society.
And not satisfied with bullying the GOP, he went on to try intimidating American workers
We have the largest...the largest guest worker program in the history of the United States. It's called 12 million undocumented workers. I want them to stop reducing wages of American workers...You know what they do because of their undocumented status? They actually do compete in the work space unfairly, damaging American workers. So if we're not going to deport them...then we need to legalize them
(Of course, since Guttierrez opposes effective border controls, this simply makes room for more illegals.)
There was a time when immigration enthusiasts were more discreet. As Old Atlantic Lighthouse sourly notes:
Buchanan had the facts on what immigration is doing to Americans. Gutierrez made it clear, it was intentional. Immigration has killed wage progress.
Americans need to consider Guttierrez. This is the ethnic particularist in full flight, viscerally incapable of considering any point of view but that of his clientele. Thanks, Ted Kennedy.
Tim Russert's performance as Moderator was contemptible. In this section, he helped Gutierrez mount his attack. In the second, he allowed the assembled correspondents to skip off the issue and quickly get into Belt Way trivia. In an impressive example of Inside-the Beltway insularity, one, Roger Simon, actually denied there was an immigration crisis at all. (Email Roger Simon.) Even the National Review has abandoned that strategem!