Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Scylla and Charybdis

Rove understands the situation the GOP is in perfectly well. If the Republicans become strongly associated with anti-Latino racism in the minds of Latino voters, they will probably not win another national election for a generation or more . As Josh Marshall described the tensions in a joke while analyzing the 2004 election from the Republican point of view:
"Well, we've locked up the white racist vote. Now, if we could just get the blacks too, then we'd be cooking with gas!"
However, like a drunk driver heading straight towards a highway pylon, Rove doesn't know which way to turn. He must not annoy the Latin vote. He must not annoy big business. He must not annoy the racist element of his party, particularly those whipped up by hysterical jingoists like Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin. It's an impossible conundrum.

Karl Rove is indefatigable and he will not concede this, not even in the week before he is indicted. He wants to parse the issue very, very finely, touching on sympathetic points in yesterday's speech at the AEI:
[L]ook ... we're a country of immigrants. I'm from Texas. I have a lease in Kenedy County, Texas.

It's half the size of Rhode Island and has 973 people who live there. And I don't care if you're hunting deer in February or mowing the roads in the middle of the pasture in August, you'll find somebody carrying a plastic jug and a plastic bag in the middle of the cold winter or the very hot summer, trying desperately to get north in order to earn money to put food on the table for their families.

We've got to deal with that reality.

On the other hand, we've also got to deal with the reality that people die. I've seen a couple of corpses out there. I don't want to see them again.
then swinging back to tough guy on the borders.
Most people don't understand that we're doing a heck of a lot better job of getting control of the border. This year, the average day this year, we have apprehended and returned over 4,200 people each and every day this year. There have been 6 million people who have been apprehended and removed from the country since 2001.
Unfortunately, he cannot land the triple axel. Bush's speech was rejected minutes after he gave it, with folks like Schwarzenegger leading the chorus of harrumphs. Last week, the racist elements of the right-wing were so upset about Bush's push for amnesty for illegal aliens that they began calling for his impeachment. (Wildly, they also believe that Bush is primarily motivated by the urge to appease Vicente Fox. So, when they're not working on immigration issues, I guess they're investigating UFOs or the JFK assassination.)

Josh Marshall and Ruy Teixeira have been writing for years about the trouble that the GOP will have charting their way past these demographic and political dangers. It is pleasant and soothing to see their predictions start to come true: hardly anything Bush can say now will help to ease the pressures in the party. The dog-whistle racist element of the Republican platforms since Nixon has worked all too well: it has brought in a rabid, racist, entirely unappeasable element as their most loyal voters. Now these tensions will tear the party apart.


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