Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2005 / 21 Shevat, 5765

John H. Fund

Fund
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Rush for the Border: Limbaugh issues a warning to President Bush.


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | ORLANDO, Fla.— In the aftermath of 9/11, conservatives bottled up their frustrations over some of President Bush's policies. Then they muted their criticism during the presidential campaign. But now it is spilling out in all directions— and the White House had better pay attention.

On Friday Rush Limbaugh, a staunch Bush supporter, took two separate opportunities to warn the president that he faced conservative opposition on some key issues that could hurt his chances of passing the rest of his second-term agenda. First was federal spending, which "is surging out of control," according to the Heritage Foundation's new "Mandate for Leadership." The other was immigration, which, Mr. Limbaugh told his listeners, "could break up the Republican-conservative coalition" la Ross Perot. "We cannot maintain our sovereignty without securing and protecting our borders in an era where terrorists around the world seek entry to this country," he said.

Later that day, I spoke with Mr. Limbaugh backstage before he discussed immigration at a private meeting of 400 leading conservatives here. He told me his comments had been prompted in part by a wire story he had read that morning quoting Mexico's Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez as saying his country might turn to international courts to block an Arizona law, passed by voters in November and taking effect this week, that bars illegal aliens from welfare benefits and requires proof of citizenship and a photo ID to vote. Mr. Derbez said the measure could lead to "discrimination based on [an] ethnic profile," and expressed sadness that exit polls found two-fifths of Arizona voters of Mexican descent had backed the measure (which passed with 56% statewide).

Rush has 20 million listeners a week, so if he decides to attack President Bush's plan to regularize immigration flows through a guest-worker program, he could help kill the idea. The president told reporters last week that he plans to make a guest worker plan a "priority," so last Friday he was peppered with questions about it at a private retreat for GOP congressmen at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. "Family values do not end at the Rio Grande River," Mr. Bush told the lawmakers, while assuring them his plan was not a backdoor amnesty program. He promised them more details in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

He will have to engage critics in his own party more fully— especially since many Democrats will likely vote against his plan just to spite him. Many Republicans are steaming about what they see as White House obtuseness on immigration. Last month, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, held up passage of the bill revamping the nation's intelligence services until he got a promise that his colleagues would fast-track a bill that would make it harder for a foreigner to claim political asylum in the United States, impose strict national standards for driver licenses and strengthen border enforcement this year.

Now Mr. Sensenbrenner is furious over a USA Today story that quoted outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge as saying that a part of the intelligence reform bill that did pass doubling the size of the Border Patrol was "fool's gold" that wouldn't be included in the president's budget. "It's nice to say you're going to have 10,000 more Border Patrol agents in five years, but what other part of Homeland Security do you want to take money from?" Mr. Ridge asked.

Soon the five GOP House conferees who negotiated the intelligence bill sent a letter to President Bush demanding that he fully fund the Border Patrol provisions. Speaker Dennis Hastert's office told Human Events that he too favored inclusion of the funds in the president's budget.

One of the five signers of the letter to President Bush was Rep. David Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee. He is undergoing a swift political course correction on immigration. Last year, two radio talk show hosts in Los Angeles named John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou spent weeks urging listeners to defeat Mr. Dreier, who they claimed was only paying "lip service" to efforts to halt illegal immigration.

Mr. Dreier spent the last two weeks of the campaign promising a renewed focus on immigration, even running ads featuring his friend Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calling him "tough as nails" on immigration. Mr. Dreier won, but his 54% showing against a woefully underfinanced Democrat was the lowest of his career. Only weeks after the election, Mr. Dreier announced he would introduce legislation to require creation of a photo-embedded Social Security card, which employers would be required to check with a national database to determine the immigration status of a job applicant.

Mr. Kobylt says talk radio has tasted blood on the immigration issue and he expects other hosts around the country to now pick up on the issue. "Republicans are in bed with businesses who like low labor costs, and Democrats have this socialist bent," he says. "But the taxpayers in this country cannot be responsible for a corrupt, bankrupt country like Mexico. We should start throwing employers in jail, a few fat rich white guys in prison."

Approaches like that, or Pat Buchanan's idea of a reverse Berlin Wall, are neither desirable nor politically possible to implement (barring another major terrorist attack that is the work of illegal aliens). But the pressure to "do something" on immigration is mounting. While no incumbent is likely to lose his seat on the issue, three pro-guest-worker incumbents from Arizona and Utah faced primary challenges last year. As a result, many congressmen don't even want to hear about Mr. Bush's plan. A clear-eyed analysis would tell them the political clout of anti-immigration activists is limited. The best showing by any of the anti-immigrant primary challengers was by state Rep. Randy Graf in Arizona, who won 43% against Rep. Jim Kolbe, a gay Republican who has always had difficulties with social conservatives. And more than 44% of Arizonans voted against Proposition 200, the initiative denying public services to illegal aliens, even though the state's border with Mexico has become the crossing point of choice for smugglers.

Donate to JWR


The illegal alien problem is a serious one in Arizona, one that my brother in Tucson observed during a 30-year career in law enforcement. Erin Anderson, whose family settled in Cochise County on the Arizona-Mexico border in the 1880s, says the tide of illegal immigration has led to increased crime and made the property of many ranchers effectively worthless. Over 230,000 illegals were arrested last year in Cochise County alone (population 122,000), a fifth of the whole country's total. Even so, Proposition 200, a relatively mild anti-immigration measure, won only 58% in Cochise County, a showing that was two points below President Bush's.

Even though the political impact of anti-immigration sentiment can be exaggerated, Mr. Bush would be wise to take steps to ensure that immigration doesn't become what crime and abortion became for the Democrats: wedge issues that drove many voters to the other party. He will not come close to passing a guest-worker program until he proves his bona fides in areas of legitimate concern on immigration.

He should start with recognizing that border security is now inextricably tied up in the public's mind with homeland security. Mr. Bush signed off on increases in the Border Patrol's budget. He owes it to Congress to keep his end of the bargain, override Mr. Ridge, and make clear in his State of the Union address the money will be appropriated.

Mr. Bush could then propose limits on election fraud, which was an indisputably popular part of Proposition 200 in Arizona. Federal immigration officials have falsely told election officials in Maryland and other states who want to weed illegal aliens from their voter rolls that it is against privacy laws for them to share such information. Mr. Bush could stop such stonewalling.

The 1993 federal motor-voter law imposed onerous restrictions on the ability of states to purge voters who are ineligible or noncitizens. It should be amended to make purge procedures easier. Federal funds for election reform could also be made contingent on states requiring that voters show proper identification if they vote in person or sending copies of such identification when submitting an absentee ballot.

Mr. Bush also needs to crack down on scofflaw officials who are thumbing their nose at federal immigration policy, including some in his own party. In September 2003, for example, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York signed an executive order forbidding New York policemen to share information on immigration offenses with the Immigration Service, except if the illegal immigrant breaks some other law or is suspected of terrorist activity.

Immigration is certainly more complex than many border-control advocates would have you believe. But supporters of rational reform that would regularize the flow of immigrant labor should recognize that it must be accompanied by measures to address the legitimate concerns of Americans who worry the federal government has completely lost control of the borders. Many voters don't trust any plan coming out of Washington, whether it's by Mr. Bush or anyone else. It's that concern that is driving Rush Limbaugh and other supporters of the president to send up political warning flares.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Comment on this column by clicking here.

Up

01/24/05 If Bush wants to reform Social Security, he'll have to soften his approach to Congress
01/17/05 TiVo la France? Jacques Chirac wants to enter the news biz. The world won't be watching
01/10/05 A stolen election in Washington state? Not if bloggers can help it
01/03/05 The Unsung Maverick
12/27/04 All the Votes Fit to Count: Ukraine gets to revote. Why can't Washington state?
11/22/04 It's time to bring some intellectual diversity to America's colleges and universities
10/26/04 Turnout Titans: Meet the gurus of getting out the vote.
10/18/04: We May HAVA Problem: Will ‘provisional ballots’ be the new chads?
10/12/04: Getting Physical: Union thugs target Republicans
10/04/04: The Producer: Meet Mary Mapes, the crusading journalist behind CBS's current troubles
09/23/04: Ballots or Briefs? In election 2004, the man with the most lawyers may win
09/13/04: I'd Rather Be Blogging: CBS stonewalls as "guys in pajamas" uncover a fraud
08/30/04: Tryout Time: The 2008 presidential campaign gets under way in New York.
08/23/04: Why we're refighting Vietnam: Blame McCain-Feingold
08/18/04: Silence of the Lamb: C-SPAN cancels 'Booknotes'
08/16/04: Louisiana North: Why New Jersey is a pit of corruption
08/02/04: Patriotic liberalism
07/28/04: Caught in the Web: How Democrats mobilized online and other campaign tales
06/28/04: Bad ACTors: If Dems want honest elections, why did a Soros-backed group hire criminals to get out the vote?
06/21/04: This Time, Get It Right: Instead of "lawyering up," both parties should be working to prevent another Florida
06/14/04: Don't Pardon Their French: "Good government" Californians embrace the system that produced David Duke
06/07/04: Freedom's Team: How Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II won the Cold War
05/25/04: Don't Touch That Dial? Radio hosts worry about the FCC's indecency regulations. What about political speech?
05/18/04: Anger Management: Dems start to realize that a campaign of hate won't beat President Bush
05/11/04: Will Sen. Kennedy turn out to be a political liability for John Kerry?
05/04/04: Buyer's Remorse: Dems start to worry that Kerry can't win
04/27/04: Arlen Specter's personality helps make him vulnerable in today's primary
04/20/04: Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks making laws should be a part-time job. He's right
03/23/04: Bragging of foreign support doesn't win many votes in America
03/16/04: The Vanishing Center: In both political parties, the defense of moderation is no virtue
03/09/04: A JFK-NBC Ticket? If Kerry wants to make things interesting, he'll consider Tom Brokaw for veep
03/02/04: As Virginia mulls a tax hike, all Americans should guard their wallets
02/24/04: Marriage of Inconvenience: Why same-sex nuptials make Democrats nervous
02/10/04: Republican Rot: Is Congress's GOP majority becoming as corrupt as the Democrats were?
02/03/04: Moore Trouble: Alabama's former chief justice may challenge Bush for the Religious Right vote
01/13/04: Rage of a Relic: Paul O'Neill is angry that the world has passed him by
01/06/04: Unintended Consequence: How Terry McAuliffe and James Carville created Howard Dean
09/03/03: The Anti-Dean: Why Hillary opposes the Democratic front-runner
06/27/03: The California jurist who may replace Justice O'Connor
06/02/03: Clinton the Hoover: Bill, Hillary and the Dems' political vacuum
05/27/03: Nerd Nirvana: Students are to the right of the faculty even at the U of Chicago
05/16/03: GOPers gain in the land of Humphrey and Mondale
04/28/03: With the war won, it's time for Bush to master the Senate
04/04/03: Is "diversity" on campus even a goal worth pursuing?
03/05/03: Sunday morning with the BBC
02/28/03: Shut Up, They Explained: If you can censor this, thank a teacher
02/21/03: Unmitigated Gaul: Saddam isn't the only dictator with whom Jacques Chirac is cozy
02/18/03: Growing number of black officials breaking ranks by calling for a more honest approach to race relations
01/31/03: Half and Half: Republicans have achieved parity among American voters
11/11/02: Sobering Thoughts: The GOP's cup runneth over? No, it's half empty
10/31/02: Blue Gray: California's governor answers a Nobel Prize winner with obscenities
10/14/02: Bad Hair Day: Did Montana Dems exploit antigay prejudice?
10/11/02: The kill-everything senate
09/30/02: Schroeder did what it took to win--but at what cost to Germany?
08/22/02: Buh-Bye Bob, So Long Cynthia : No amount of shouting could've saved Barr or McKinney
07/29/02: GOP: Get Over Panic --- Dems are vulnerable on corporate scandals, too
07/17/02: Not Just an Average Joe: A black GOPer may give Rep. Eliot Engel a run for his money
07/15/02: The McCain Mutiny-II
07/01/02: Opening the Schoolhouse Door: The politicians can't stop school choice now
06/20/02: The Body' Bows Out --- American politics will be duller without Jesse Ventura
06/06/02: It's time for President Bush to stand up to California's senators
05/16/02: A Court Intrigue: Procedural funny business in a racial-preference case
05/14/02: Thin moral ice: New revelations from a skater's Stasi files recall an oppressive era
05/09/02: Newark, Zimbabwe!?
05/02/02: Will Terror Leave Us No Choice? Teachers unions try to use Sept. 11 as an excuse for bad schools
04/23/02: The New Nixon? Al Gore plots his comeback
04/16/02: 'I, Uh, I Have No Comment': A union plays dirty in opposing an antitax initiative
03/31/02: Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!: Filibusters can help the Senate GOP get things done
03/14/02: Red-Light District: It's time to draw the line on gerrymandering
02/21/02: Slippery Slope: Can Dick Riordan beat California's Democratic governor?
02/14/02: Reform School: The Shays-Meehan incumbency protection act
02/07/02: Arizona Highway Robbery: Politicians make a grab for campaign cash
01/31/02: Disfranchise Lassie: Even dogs can register to vote. We need election reform with teeth
01/17/02: Dr. King's Greedy Relations: Cashing in on a national hero's legacy
01/10/02: Oil of Vitriol
01/04/02: The little engine that couldn't--and the senators who don't want it to
12/24/01: E-mail and low-cost computers could be conduits for a learning revolution
12/13/01: How Gore could have really won
12/07/01: Let our students keep their cell phones
12/04/01: Why the White House gave the RNC chairman the boot
11/12/01: A Winsome Politician: She won an election in a majority-black district--and she's a Republican
11/01/01: Bush Avoids Politics at His Peril
10/30/01: Cocked Pit: Armed pilots would mean polite skies
10/24/01: Chicken Pox: Hardly anyone has anthrax, but almost everyone has anthrax anxiety
10/11/01: Will Rush Hear Again? New technology may make it possible
10/04/01: Three Kinds of pols
08/24/01: Lauch Out: Who'll replace Jesse Helms?
08/08/01: Tome Alone: Clinton's book will probably end up on the remainder table
08/03/01: Of grubbing and grabbing: Corporation$ and local government$ perfect "public use"
07/31/01: Affairs of State: The Condit case isn't just about adultery. It's about public trust and national security
07/14/01: The First Amendment survives, and everyone has someone to blame for the failure of campaign reform
07/12/01: He's Still Bread: Despite what you've heard, Gary Condit isn't toast --- yet
07/12/01: Passing Lane: Left-wing attacks help boost John Stossel's and Brit Hume's audiences
06/25/01: Man vs. Machine: New Jersey's GOP establishment is doing everything it can to stop Bret Schundler
06/15/01: A Schundler Surprise? Don't count out "the Jack Kemp of New Jersey"
06/06/01: Memo to conservatives: Ignore McCain and maybe he'll go away
05/29/01: Integrity in Politics? Hardly. Jim Jeffords is no Wayne Morse
05/22/01: Davis' answer to California's energy crisis? Hire a couple of Clinton-Gore hatchet men
05/07/01: Prematurely declaring a winner wasn't the networks' worst sin in Florida
04/23/01: How to fix the electoral process --- REALLY!
04/11/01: A conservative hero may mount a California comeback
03/30/01: Can the GOP capture the nation's most closely balanced district?
03/09/01: Terminated
03/06/01: Leave well enough alone
02/22/01: Forgetting our heroes
02/15/01: In 1978 Clinton got a close look at the dangers of selling forgiveness
02/12/01: Clinton owes the country an explanation --- and an appology
02/06/01: How Ronald Reagan changed America
01/16/01: Why block Ashcroft? To demoralize the GOP's most loyal voters
01/15/01: Remembering John Schmitz, a cheerful extremist
12/29/00: Why are all Dems libs pickin' on me?
Dubya's 48% mandate is different than Ford's
12/13/00: Gore would have lost any recount that passed constitutional muster
11/13/00: The People Have Spoken: Will Gore listen?
10/25/00: She's really a Dodger
09/28/00: Locking up domestic oil?
09/25/00: Hillary gives new meaning to a "woman with a past"
09/21/00: Ignore the Polls. The Campaign Isn't Over Yet

©2001, John H. Fund