Carol Platt Liebau: A Timely Warning

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Timely Warning

John Podhoretz posts a timely and necessary warning about the dangers of Republicans allowing their differences on illegal immigration to mushroom. He's right -- that would be a dreadful and unnecessary mistake.

Don't get me wrong: As a Californian, I understand the frustration and the sense of being marginalized and ignored by the Eastern "powers that be" when it comes to illegal immigration. It's disheartening to suspect that some who support less stringent border control measures are, perhaps, equating support for tight borders with an attenuated form of racism, or imputing to it the stigmata of rube-hood. It's irritating to watch the views of conservative stalwarts ignored, while people like Kennedy and Durbin express satisfaction with legislation moving forward under Republican steam!

But at last, enough is enough. Some of the criticism of his President and the plan has stopped sounding like friendly if frank advice from allies, and has started to become as shrill and denunciatory as the shrieking that emanates from the left. We are better than that. And if the tenor of the criticism on the right continues to escalate, the credibility of those engaging in it (and to some degree, those associated with them) will be diminished. In my time working in politics, I've seen erstwhile allies who consistently step over the line lose their ability to affect the debate, simply because of their seeming inability or apparent unwillingness to allow their concerns to be assauged or their anger abated in any way. Here, that would be a shame, because the critics have content of value to add, and a perspective that should be heard.

I've been fortunate to have readers contact me to insist that they're not intending to sit out this election -- and I'm grateful to hear from them. Likewise, even as I disagree with much of what's going forward in Washington, I remain a proud Republican: Just as this blog says, I believe in American political and religious liberty, free enterprise, limited government, military strength and traditional values.

And I remain a supporter of President Bush. Yes, it's become tiresome to have to defend him all the time -- but don't you see, that fatigue is what the loony left is counting on? That's the point of the endless litany of specious charges: To drive even his supporters to the point where it's easier to join the chorus of the President's detractors than attempt to withstand them.

President Bush is an imperfect man (as are we all). He spends too much, and his notions of border security may not be as strict as mine. But whatever your frustrations with the President, he's not the one who will appoint adherents of a "living Constitution" to the Court, dismantle the war on terror, and raise your taxes. He's not one who has backed down from protecting this country, even when it seems that a majority of its residents have little appreciation for his efforts.

He doesn't deserve our unquestioned loyalty, but he does deserve reasoned and respectful dissent when we must disagree. And almost all of us within the conservative/Republican movement know what it's like to be sneered at, denigrated and dismissed by our political adversaries on the left. We don't need to do it to each other -- and we shouldn't. America deserves better from all of us.


Blogger amber said...

I saw a poll on the news tonight. I do not place a lot in polls, especially when they are anti-conservative, but this one was interesting. It said: Minnesotans who claim to be Republican=29% (unchanged from a year ago) Minnesotans who claim to be Demacrat = 25% (down a whopping 31% from a year ago). This is the first time in decades that Republicans have the edge.

8:59 PM  
Blogger dodger said...

Well said, needed and helpful. We need to be reminded that President Bush is the President of the United States, not the president of the Republican Party.

He has done what few other presidents have, taken on issues other presidents have kicked down the road, issues that should have been confronted early on.

I wonder, however, why border security didn't become issue number two after 9/11, namely strike while the iron is hot. I think I know the answer. Mexico is not a country that harbors or supports terrorists in their midst. If Mexico works towards rooting out terrorists before they cross our border, for the better/best.

Keep poking a stick in their (Mexico) eye and that might not continue.

7:10 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Perhaps someone should remind President Bush that he is president of the US and not of the Republican Party.

10:36 AM  
Blogger CAB said...

I concur that sitting out the elections nearly guarantees disaster on many levels. But the choice isn't between sitting out and standing by the President. I believe the answer to dissatisfaction and hurt from perceived gratuitous insults/ snubbing by the President and his spokesmen is to pour that energy into supporting good incumbent Republicans and Republican primary challengers and 9/11 Democrats.

I agree that this president has done an outstanding job on the essentials, and I believe that every president is limited in his ability to affect the full spectrum of policies we hold him accountable for.

I also recall that President Reagan was hated by the same lot that hates President Bush, and just as passionately. But President Reagan consistantly, effectively used the bully pulpit with a positive message reinforcing his core convictions. And he did not violate the 11th Commandment. President Bush has been too long absent from the bully pulpit and then climbed into it repeatedly to gratuitously insult Republicans. Harriet Miers, Dubai Ports, repeatedly calling well-behaved Americans who volunteer to patrol the border "vigilantes" and then playing the "hush and keep a civil tongue" card. Bad enough to be "sneered at, denigrated and dismissed by our political adversaries on the left." Far worse to have our political leadership turn to the same tactics and then call on us to play nice.

That said, the answer is not sitting out the election. The answer is finding and supporting good candidates, not perfect, good: good on securing the border, good on winning the war, good on limiting taxes to keep our economy strong. Stomping our feet and holding our breath until we're blue in the face will only Paint the Map Blue [apologies to Hugh Hewitt].

1:13 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

I agree with most of what you say but I will add that I think it is not completely true that President Bush has not raised our taxes.

Yes, he is passing tax cuts but spending (on entitlement programs which will only balloon as time passes) has greatly increased. At some point, somebody is going to have to pay for that increase in spending. While, President Bush may not have raised your taxes, he most likely passed the buck on (and raised the taxes of) your children.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Righty64 said...

Do you think that President Bush would have to go down the middle so much on this vital legislation if there were MORE Republicans in the House and Senate? Probably not! That is why I am MORE committed to getiing more people registered as Republicans and to help the party move forward. Remember, in two years, Mr. Bush will be out of office, but there will still be a Republican party and that party needs MORE seats in the House and Senate. Imagine if Mr. Bush had a 25 seat majority in the House and the magic 60 seats in the Senate? Well I say we need to do that now and that in 2008 we get 65 seats in the Senate and 250 seats in the House, if not more. That would be the death knell of the modern Democratic party and that would be a good thing if they will not be serious about two of the key issues in thday's America-Stemming Illegal immigration and winning the war on terror

9:44 PM  

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