Immigration in the Rear View Mirror

Big Red Car here. Ahh, finally the sun has returned and the rain has stopped. I am stretching in the 62F headed to 78F air temp. All is good.

On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

Now the dust has begun to settle on the President’s pronouncements on immigration. Some of the hysteria has begun to dissipate and folks can begin to ponder the reality of it all.

Like Lubbock, it looks a little different in the rear view mirror.

The wise Republicans

While there is no shortage of Republican condemnation of the President’s unilateral action there is much to be learned by taking a look at the measured and seemingly emotionless response of the Republicans.

Democrats will be tempted to gloat that the Republicans have no coherent strategy to oppose the President — intellectual bankruptcy — but there is another interpretation that may be more accurate.

The Republicans learned in the recent election that they do no have to propose alternatives as the President’s policies are so unpopular they can simply let them bask in the sunlight and run against their stench as they begin to rot. Sure this irritates the White House who were looking for a first class John Belushi food fight.

The Republicans did not really win the last election, the Democrats lost it. They lost the Senate, they lost more in the House, they lost governorships in places they should have dominated (Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida) but most importantly they lost in the Statehouses across the land. The last category is perhaps the least visible but the most important as it is at the grassroots level and it is pervasive.

The Democrats lost because, in no small part, the President inartfully suggested his policies were on the ballot. This will go down in political history as one of the most ill advised utterances. Ever. Talk about snatching defeat from the bicuspids of victory?

The President’s decision to delay his executive order on immigration did not provide sufficient camouflage. His immigration policy was on the ballot as well.

With this in mind, the Republicans have wisely allowed the President’s immigration speech to take the sun as they did his other policies and allow them to fester and rot resulting in the same outcome as when his policies were lounging on the recent ballot.

Perhaps Reince Preibus and the Republicans are that smart and learned something from the last election they can use as actionable intelligence.

The policy itself

With the passage of a few days, wise heads have concluded there is nothing really offensive about the policy itself. That may be tough for folks to believe but The Boss doesn’t have any problem with shining a bit of light into the shadows. Why not? The presence of illegal immigrants has been a reality in Texas for decades. Here is the pay off — the Texas economy is leading the nation so the idea that illegal immigration has to be a disaster may simply not be true.

Don’t extrapolate that to suggest that flooding the market with low skill, low wage labor will be good for the working man or won’t have a terrible impact on the continuing slide of average family incomes. No that stuff isn’t going to change.

Fine point here, y’all — recent immigration is clearly costing the State of Texas a bundle but immigration from ten years ago is likely not. Immigration in the long run will be an economic boon if we make it to the long run. All of us are immigrants or the children of immigrants.

Before you start looking for the smelling salts what The Boss did not say was that the process of the policy is sound or that the failure to filter out the bad immigrants — criminals, murderers, rapists, drug apparatchiks and other sundry evil doers — is going to work. The Obama administration gets very low marks on their progress to date as they have released tons of such criminals into our society already. This is really incomprehensible and one of the most important reasons why folks aren’t enthusiastic about immigration reform in border states where they know the truth of this travesty.

If you live in Texas, it is very difficult not to love the Mexican culture and it has not only contributed to the richness of the thang that is Texas but freakin’ Texas was part of Mexico once upon a time. If you have a problem with that the Big Red Car suggests you go to Matt’s El Rancho and have the fajita plate for two tonight and then think about how blessed Texas is having this cultural spice in our society. The fajita plate and a Bob Armstrong will get your blood chemistry right. If you have to ask what a Bob Armstrong is — well, that’s another problem altogether.

The policy is not really the problem.

The process

The process is the most universally unpopular element in the entire debate. Folks do not like the President taking unilateral action. It is wildly unpopular. The polling data is so overwhelming as to be suspect. These are not Constitutional scholars, these are the folks who recall something about separation of powers from high school.

If the President can negotiate with the Iranians, why can’t he make a deal with the Republicans? On anything? The simple answer may be that he doesn’t want to. The uncharitable answer, and perhaps the right answer, is he doesn’t have the basic leadership skills at his fingertips and simply can’t lead.

The American body politic doesn’t give the President very high marks for sincerity when they ponder his control over the Congress during his first two years in office.

They see a faux passion coming from a progressively faux President. The folks don’t trust this President. A bit of lying will do that to folks.

The recent elections certainly are a data point to be pondered. If the President’s policies were, in fact, on the ballot then they were stinkers. The fallout from the lies underpinning the passage of Obamacare and the disastrous rollout do not inspire confidence in this President.

With a bit of hindsight, nobody really thinks the administration can pull this off in the next two years. The administration had years to stand up the Obamacare website and they flubbed that launch. Why does anyone think they’re going to be able to launch this effort before the President is packing his bags to move to California after welcoming a new Republican President? {Come on, Mitt, please run. Sorry.]

The Obama administration is not very skilled in execution. Again, witness their signature legislation and its pathetic launch. They had unlimited funding and years to get their act in order and they flubbed it miserably.

They will never be able to execute this immigration program before the next President is sworn in. If you think this President has already begun to show some signs of lameness, wow, it’s going to get a lot worse quickly when the Republicans have the Senate and the House.

Again, let’s give the Republicans a nod for shrewdness. First rule of politics — when your opponent is hurting himself, don’t intervene.

The pawns

In chess, the pawns serve as the foils for the castles, the horses, the bishops, the Queen to do their bloody work. The pawns are simply used and sacrificed. Pawns are just pawns. Their bleeding and suffering is just part of the game.

The illegal immigrants in this debate are pawns, political pawns.

Let’s examine their fate. First, this is not “comprehensive” immigration reform. It is targeted only on folks who have been here five years. This filter immediately subdivides the illegal immigrant population into “good” and “bad” illegal immigrants while erecting enormous temptations for fraud. [I know you knew that.]

This culling of the herd insults and damages those who have recently arrived. It is capricious, arbitrary and destructive to community interests — illegal immigrant community interests. It destroys the glue that binds this community together. It invites wholesale fraud.

The pawns realize this is temporary and will have enormous misgivings about coming forward to be identified knowing the next President could wipe their safe harbor out in the stroke of a pen. The safe harbor exists for less than two years and if you’ve been hiding in plain sight for more than five years, you will have a very difficult time risking your safety for a pocketful of promises with an expiration date.

Some pawns may do well but many other pawns will be sacrificed at the feet of the Emperor and will not only not make the cut, they will be targeted for retribution. This will not be a good thing and will subdivide the community, the liberal intelligentsia and the Democrat base.

Are the Republicans so shrewd that seeing this they have elected to let the President continue to pee on his own leg? Perhaps.

Politics

Politics is the art of the possible fueled by responsible and reasonable compromise. When politics is seen through that lens, great things can get done — Civil Rights Act kind of things, winning World War II kind of things, going to the moon type of things.

When there is no compromise between the warring parties one side has no skin in the game and it is easy to fight forever.

The politics of this situation suggests that President has done this for short term political advantage and turned a tone deaf ear to the voice of the electorate in the recent election which shouted to him: “Your policies suck, Mr. President. Count the votes and listen carefully. Your policies suck.”

The pawns will tell him this again when he beckons them forth and they say: “Perhaps we will wait for another two years and see how the next election works out. After all, we’ve been here for a long time. Why should we risk that for you? We could get screwed by the next President, so we’ll just wait it all out. We’re good at that, aren’t we?”

So, dear friends, the policy is not the problem. It is the process. The Republicans having won big on policy aren’t in a hurry to engage with the President.

They will not give him the food fight he’s looking for. They will let his policies meet the sun and see how they feel in the weeks ahead until the next Congress is seated. Letting the President and his policies take a few days at the beach, has turned out to be a pretty damn good formula. Why wreck something that seems to be working?

Let the President over promise and under perform — as he has done with so much of his presidency. His grandiose words will not work and echo so in the months ahead when the process to implement them has to be fashioned and operated. L’affaire Obamacare anyone?

Last word — politics is a funny thing. Not supposed to be but sometimes it is. At the end of the 2012 election, the Republicans were in the woodshed getting licks and then headed to the desert to wander for a generation or five. They were done for and filled to overflowing with forks looking like porcupines. Now, they are on the verge of control of the Congress, governorships, statehouses across the land. How quickly things change.

Why?

Because bad policies and weaker execution do not engender long term support.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be nice to yourself, you have immigrant DNA in your blood.

 

 

 

 

  • Hi BRC.

    I don’t live in the States so I’m not qualified to comment on what goes on there.

    But I will say one thing. The Boss is a wartime consigliere. Now, Tom Hagen was a very good consigliere, but not in war. Tom built bridges, he sought consensus; he didn’t do anything rash. But when it came to war? Sorry Tom, you’re out — as the quote goes.

    If I were in a trench — which thank God I have never been, and hope I never will — I would like someone like the Boss at my side. Someone with not only a very clear idea of who is right and who is wrong, but, much more importantly, someone who can get me to the end of the battle with my heart still pumping.

    In other words, the Boss is good in a fight.

    But this leads me to ask: why wasn’t the wartime consigliere the permanent consigliere? Why switch consigliere personality types based on the likelihood of your ass getting popped? Why not stick with the guy with the biggest and brassest of balls regardless of the situation?

    I don’t know the answer to that question.

    All I can say is: if we’re at war, I want the Boss; if we’re not, then I don’t know.

    BRC, please ask the Boss: are we at war?

    • JLM

      .
      In a global sense, there is very bad timing at work here. The US is in a riot over this Ferguson, which as a matter of the law is totally insignificant but which as a matter of starting a riot is a tinder box.

      The Obama administration has lost control of almost everything. The domestic situation, the foreign affairs, the Iran situation, the quality of the sunsets at night.

      He was never up to the job which is now encouraging our foreign enemies to become more bellicose and he has injected race into everything domestically.

      War is always just the last step in diplomacy. When the guys in the pinstriped suits fail, they send it over to the devils in baggy pants to sort things out. Unfortunately, the Commander in Chief is the President and therein lies the problem.

      It was hilarious hearing President Obama invoke the “rule of law” in regard to Ferguson and the racial tension therein while having just taken an executive order to overturn American laws pertaining to immigration.

      Live by the sword, die by the sword.

      When the race baiters show up, the riots begin. The race baiters have shown up in Ferguson and Ferguson is on fire. The great stupidity is that the rioters are burning down their own infrastructure.

      In January, there is likely to be a bit more adult supervision when the Republicans take over the Congress but until then it is going to be dicey. Thank goodness this is happening in the winter when it is freezing outside.

      Until then, be kind to all Big Red Cars cause you may need a ride to safety.

      BRC
      .

      • So, in a word, yes — the USA is in war mode.

        Not in military terms, but in rhetoric. Internal strife only weakens the external facade. The language is of “us” and “them” (fill in as appropriate based on racial or political views). Not much bridge building and mucking in going on.

        A divided country is not a strong country.

        True, it’s the democratic process in action, but — as you have pointed out — other countries have noticed.

        • JLM

          .
          Make no mistake about it, we have regressed racially in certain places. No doubt about it though I would caution one to take careful note of from whence the violence and anger is coming.

          This will ultimately inure to the advantage of cool and calm heads. Whenever tumult reigns, the winners are those who are calmest.

          BRC
          .

  • Mac

    BRC, thanks for writing this….and the way you spun it. It helps. A leader can double-clutch
    just so many times.

    Mac

    • JLM

      .
      We should expect consistency from our leaders and not have to constantly check where their heads are at any given moment. Consistency is a mark of effective leadership.

      The Pres dumped Hagel — who I thought was a very weak Sec of Def — because he wouldn’t toe the “no troops” line.

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

      BRC
      .

  • JLM

    .

    Is it the process or the policy? Or is it both?

    http://themusingsofthebigredcar.com/immigration-in-the-rear-view-mirror/

    That rear view mirror makes Lubbock and immigration look a bit different.

    BRC
    .