Lou Dobbs to convert Democrats to Immigration Reform?
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In an article posted today on the website of The New Republic (Going Native October 30, 2006. Access requires password) editor-at -large Peter Beinart offers what is ostensibly an amusing ( but respectful) assessment of the Lou Dobbs phenomenon:

Who is the most left-wing commentator on mainstream television? …a man who says both parties are "bought and paid for by corporate America," and calls lobbyists "arms dealers in the war on the middle class." This latter-day William Jennings Bryan denounces the "corporate supremacists" in Congress who write "consumer-crippling" bankruptcy laws…I refer, of course, to Lou Dobbs.

taking note of his success:

…it's working so well—Dobbs's ratings are up 33 percent in 2006…Dobbs increasingly ranges across the entire network, venturing beyond his 6 p.m. slot as a talking head on other shows.

Beinart is amusing because of his frankness about the dilemma Dobbs poses for the left:

So why aren't liberals cheering? Because, for Dobbs, taking on corporate America means taking on corporate America's thirst for illegal-immigrant labor. Dobbs is downright obsessive about the issue, and he isn't above nativist scare-mongering…

In fact, though, Beinart’s article is a direct appeal to the Democrats to seize hold of the Immigration Reform banner, claiming encouragingly that many already have:

on the ground, Democratic politicians are increasingly embracing Dobbsism in full. From the industrial Midwest to the upper South, Democratic candidates are successfully wooing the white, working-class…And they're doing so by taking Dobbsian stances on both trade and immigration…many Democratic challengers are staking out immigration positions to President Bush's right. And Democratic incumbents are doing the same thing.

Beinart argues that this should not just be election-year opportunism:

Many liberals would like to pick and choose their anti-globalization politics… resisting punitive measures to regulate the flow of international labor. Morally, that's perfectly defensible. But, politically, it is likely to fail. …While low-skilled immigration may benefit the United States as a whole, it rarely benefits low-skilled Americans. And, for many blue-collar Americans today, Mexican immigration—whether legal or not—is not just linked to broader anxieties about globalization; it has become the prime symbol of those anxieties. In the coming years, unless Democrats take a hard line on immigration, their hard line on trade is unlikely to do them much electoral good.

Following several quite lonely years after the founding of VDARE.com, the arrival of Lou Dobbs on the Immigration Reform Front was probably the most heartening MSM development to occur. We have reason to believe his staff reads VDARE.com carefully. Lack of acknowledgement does not particularly bother us. If Lou Dobbs has succeeded in getting the brighter Democrats thinking about the issue, he has done his country a great service.

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