Obama, Texas and the Presidency
February 22, 2008, 01:21 AM
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Nedra Pickler and Beth Fouhy write at Associated Press:
Hillary Rodham Clinton has been waiting to get to Texas to begin her comeback against a surging Barack Obama. She might be more careful about what she wishes for.

Clinton has been banking on the state`s large Hispanic population — typically about a quarter of the turnout in Democratic primaries — to give her a victory on March 4. But the Democratic Party in President Bush`s home state has a complicated, hybrid primary-caucus that might just be better suited for Obama.[Texas` complicated rules may favor Obama, By NEDRA PICKLER and BETH FOUHY, Associated Press,February 20, 2008]

I tend to think Obama is a shoo-in in Texas because of the organizational ability his campaign has shown. Now, what this means is that if Obama wins in Texas and Ohio, is that Obama may lock in the Democratic nomination with less than overwhelming support from Hispanic Democrats. I can`t help but wonder what the implications of that would be to Obama`s immigration policy if he becomes president.

My sense is that Obama will probably want to expand immigration from countries like Kenya (and other countries that aren`t terribly well represented—perhaps in the name of making US immigration more "fair" and "diverse." However, in an election against McCain, all he really needs to do is offer a package to various constituencies that appears better to them than McCain. I don`t think that necessarily has to mean catering to Hispanic and corporate interests like McCain would. I can easily imagine Obama expanding some social programs(like access to medical care)-and restricting illegal immigration in ways that are more gentle than most VDARE.com.com readers would advocate. I don`t expect Obama would be a restrictionist. I just suspect that corporations that want his support are going to have to support him and his administration is a strong and tangible way. I can also easily imagine Obama expanding H-1b visas in areas where those programs haven`t been traditionally used—and in ways that would specifically affect Republican voting blocks. This would be consistent with what Obama mentioned in his Senate speech:

And before any guestworker is hired, the job must be made available to Americans at a decent wage with benefits. Employers then need to show that there are no Americans to take these jobs. I am not willing to take it on faith that there are jobs that Americans will not take. There has to be a showing. If this guestworker program is to succeed, it must be properly calibrated to make certain that these are jobs that cannot be filled by Americans, or that the guest workers provide particular skills we can`t find in this country.
The simple fact is that virtually all employment in the US is a matter of supply and demand. At the height of the dotcom craze, I heard a lot of corporate managers whining about not being able to find IT people-and was personally able to recruit easily by simply going to the places that IT folks were likely to congregate rather than rely and old-fashioned HR tactics(and I helped staff the better part of a 150+ person start-up that way).

Similarly, the skills that Americans tend to invest in, are related to perceptions of long term demand. Expanding guest worker programs in any area will drive Americans out of that area over time. However, Obama`s approach would tend to restrict guest worker programs from being used for a lot of extremely low-wage and unskilled jobs-but would effectively mean that any skill specialty that started earning more than a "decent" wage would be subject to competition with guest workers. The simple fact is that often, if US workers wont` take a job, there is a very good reason. Low cost guest worker programs inherently appeal to the baser instincts of corporate managers. The only somewhat workable examples of guest worker programs are those like Singapore`s in which companies much pay a substantial fee to the government to use foreign labor in Singapore(and the fees are substantial enough there is no clear cost advantage to guest work labor).

Traditionally, Obama has allied himself with "technocratic" Republicans-and right now, the best immigration the GOP excuse for "mainstream" can come up with is Romney`s idea of restricting illegal immigration and attaching a green card onto the diploma of anyone that can get a Ph.D. at a US university(Ron Paul I consider to be a GOP outsider and Huckabee`s immigration plan has some serious holes in it). Perhaps under an Obama administration that will include foreign recipients MBA`s and JD`s—and that just might work politically if Obama can figure out how to accomplish that while affecting the livelihoods mainly of Republican voters most unlikely to ever support Obama(and replacing them with immigrants more likely to vote Democrat).

Now on the positive side Obama has endorsed increase employer sanctions. However he has claimed that the price of reducing illegal immigration must be increases in legal immigration-and hopes to still "unite" Americans even while doing so.

If Obama is really as left sympathizing as some folks here have suggested, at some point he`ll have to address some of the traditional left economic issues-like jobs. These are issues that real leftist leaders like A. Philip Randolph realistically came to grips with a long time ago.

A lot of this depends on just how badly Obama wants to be president. Once he gets the nomination, the key factor is which constituencies that would tend to otherwise vote Republican he can appeal to. From that angle, Peter Brimelow`s suggestion that Obama choose a running mate like James Webb is probably a good one. Obama has a lot of advantages over McCain-and one of them is that he hasn`t been so vocal on a lot of issues that he can`t take the stand that would actually propel him into the presidency.