Obama Winning H-1b Soundbite Points? Not So Fast!
June 05, 2008, 07:46 PM
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PC Magazine writes:
Clinton: Supports an increase in the cap on H-1B visas, but pushed for "using the funds raised from the price of these visas to train Americans." McCain: Supports an increase in the number of H-1B visas. Obama: Wants to overhaul entire immigration system, produce more American-born technology workers, and create a system that makes workers less dependent on their employers.
Sure sounds better, doesn't it? Well, keep in mind, Obama's record on the H-1b front is still an F.

Most of the public won't look at the record—or any other serious analysis. That means that politicians with the help of corporate infomercials with pretenses to journalism can effectively delude the public quite a while.

However, Obama is at least bothering to have rhetoric that has some hope. John Edwards did something similar (he actually mentioned H-1b negatively in a few speeches after sponsoring H-1b expansion as a senator)—but he never put the resources into his team to do real analysis. Anyhow, Edwards may have had a slightly better record on H-1b—D+ vs. Obama's F, but this issue is volatile enough, something real is going to have to be put on the table if Obama wants to be effective.

About the best play Obama has it is disposal if he wants to put some weight behind his words, is to pick Jim Webb as his running mate. Webb owes his senate position in large part to anti-H-1b activists in Northern Virginia—whose support he got by virtue of not being Harris Miller. Webb's overall immigration record is a mediocre C-, but on H-1b issues, Webb has a B grade-which is better than any other serious presidential or VP hopeful. (A possible exception: Pawlenty of Minnesota who has been focused more on illegal immigration.)

Webb also has specific contact and knowledge of some prominent anti-H-1b activists—in part because even the idiots in DC are reluctant to put non-citizens with inadequate background checks in charge of government databases—so the effects of H-1b may have been softened a bit in DC compared to the NYC or Silicon Valley(which means the US technical community there still has some resources to fight back).

Anyhow, I personally have trouble imagining stomaching Obama without Webb on the ticket. I supported Nader in the last two presidential elections—and Perot the last two before that. I'm not sure if Webb will take the VP slot if offered—and that says quite a bit.

I think Obama will likely beat McCain in any event-and the current betting odds at Intrade agree with me. What I think folks at VDARE.com need to think about, is apart from the electoral outcome (which if recent history is any indication may be fabricated anyhow), what kind of results are beneficial for their issues?

Given the abysmal performance of both major parties on the immigration issue, would it be better for the next president to be elected by a clear minority of the popular vote? Did the fact that clearly happened in Bush's first term maybe restrain the damage that he did during his presidency just a little bit? If McCain is going to loose anyhow—and he fails to take the basic steps to address issues like H-1b and immigration, wouldn't it be best for VDARE.com readers to try to make that defeat as dramatic as possible?

Anyhow, I think Obama is playing a risky game with this H-1b gambit. It may be that some risks are necessarily for Obama to make what is from his perspective the optimal VP choice. Now, the question is just how can these presidential candidates be pushed as effectively as possible?