What Words are Missing from the Parenthetical?
November 07, 2010, 05:32 PM
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The administration’s “true goals were not just economic stimulus,” [Harvard economist Jeffrey] Miron argues. “Instead, the Administration wanted to reward its constituencies (unions, environmentalists, public education) [Emphasis added] and increase the size and scope of government.

[A Cautionary Election Note: Impressive as Tuesday’s Republican victory was, the president’s fiscal policies and divisive rhetoric may yet prevail by Michael Knox Beran, City Journal, November 3, 2010.]

The rest of Beran’s column is likewise more notable for what he doesn’t say, than for what he does say.
To undo the Obama administration’s policies, Republicans will almost certainly need to win the White House in 2012. Yet achieving that goal won’t be easy. In spite of yesterday’s Republican wave, Democratic senatorial candidates Harry Reid of Nevada, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Barbara Boxer of California, Chris Coons of Delaware, and Kristen Gillibrand of New York were all able to win; in Pennsylvania and Illinois, the GOP Senate candidates won by small margins. Liberal demographers like Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress believe that the changing complexion of the electorate will make the political environment in 2012 considerably tougher for Republicans. Teixeira argues that as the number of non-Hispanic white voters falls, relative to the overall population, growing nonwhite minorities will continue to favor the Democrats. Liberal demographers might not be right when they argue that minority voters—particularly Latinos—are likely to prove decisive in the next presidential contest, but Republicans would be foolish to underestimate the challenges that confront them.

President Obama, for his part, is gambling that the liberal demographers are right. As early as July, the White House began to turn away from the rhetoric of postracial unity that Obama used in the 2008 campaign and to experiment with a rhetoric of racial and ethnic revanchism. The “Republicans, if you do the math,” a Democratic insider told the Washington Post’s Michael D. Shear, “cannot be successful as a national party if they continue to alienate Latinos.” In June, when a group of Latino activists visited the president in the White House, top aide Valerie Jarrett “made one thing clear to them: The White House plans to use the immigration debate to punish the GOP and aggressively seek the Latino vote in 2012.” The president was clearly following the new electoral counsel of discipline and punish in his now notorious interview on Unavision, in which he called on Latinos “to punish our enemies” and “reward our friends.” Appealing to racial and ethnic sentiment to preserve a revolution that undermines the American free-market system is, to say the least, a cynical strategy: if it succeeds, it will enfeeble the very culture of opportunity that distinguishes the United States from the economically stagnant countries from which so many American Latinos have fled.

Beran cites no demographers (e.g., Steve Sailer) contradicting Texeira, and is likewise silent regarding both the counter-productive history of Republican Hispandering, and the successes that previously floundering Republican politicians (e.g., Pete Wilson in California, Jan Brewer in Arizona) had, once they stood tall, even just on illegal immigration. He simply leaves the field to the Texeiras, which will mislead many readers into concluding that the GOP’s options are “Hispander or bust!”

In response to Beran’s title, if Republicans feel themselves too aristocratic to take off the gloves on race and immigration, of course Obama’s fiscal policies and divisive rhetoric will prevail!

A tip ‘o the hat to American Renaissance.