Sunday, February 10, 2008

Republican Immigrant Haters Have Forum in Houston

Beating their Anti-Immigrant drums loudly this past Saturday, seven of the ten Republicans who want to replace Nick Lampson in congress this year spoke at the February monthly meeting of the Texans for Immigration Reform. Their website can be found here. It is unmistakable. This is the only website that I have ever seen with an image of the Alamo in the upper right hand corner of every one of its pages. They seem like a real fun group. A group that seems to be unified in their unbending hatred of all things Mexican.

Their website announced that Nick Lampson, Sheila Jackson Lee and “Republican and Democrat candidates who have opposition within their own party”, had been invited to the meeting, and promised that eleven would show (without actually stating who they were going to be). No mention was made in the Chron article about either Lampson or Jackson Lee actually showing up for this.

Well 7 of our CD-22 candidates did show up (Dunbar, Hrbacek and Squier were elsewhere), and it proved to be a real butt-whipping on the part of Bob “Mad Dog” Talton who openly attacked by name DC insider Pete Olson, who he said “has had 10 years to do that [build a border fence] as a chief of staff, and it hasn't happened yet!” Talton was referring to Olson’s years on staff with Senators Phil Gramm and John Cornyn. Olson responded with words to the effect that a staffer can’t make policy, and follows that of his bosses, words that I am sure Talton rubbed his hands in glee over – what better way to paint your opponent as an impotent lackey?

I really do wonder how that was received by the attendees? Wonder, because I cannot place myself in their mindset at all. It must be strange being them, is all I can come up with.

So if Bob Talton wanted to come off as the Anti-Immigrant’s hero yesterday, I think he must have succeeded, because little else was written about the meeting. Come to think of it, when nothing gets said about Shelley Sekula Gibbs when she attends a meeting, it must be because she was lying low.

I mentioned “beating drums” at the beginning of this, and want to emphasize that, because as Americans’ attention is drawn to the presidential primaries, and to their main area of focus these days, the economy, it reinforces my point that these people, these anti-immigrant drum beaters, are clearly clueless.

You don’t have to look very far to figure out that Texas’ economy is heavily dependant on immigrant labor, nor to realize that most of that labor comes from illegal aliens. Mexicans. But rather than even look in that direction, these people that convened this forum would rather slam the door in the faces of 12 million illegal immigrants. Do that and worry about the economic consequences later.

Or not.

I keep forgetting that this immigration issue isn’t about the economy. The economy is where it is today because of the policies of misguided state and national Republican leaders. Worrying 1 hour or 10 hours about illegal immigrant workers instead of the same amount worrying about the economy would be just okey-dokey to these people To these people it’s not really about immigration, it’s about not worrying about anything else other than immigration.

But this immigration issue is all about the economy, especially here in Texas where agribusiness and home building are two primary pedestals of the state’s economy. The more people realize this, the faster we can proceed to fixing both problems.

One sure-fire way to fix this is the proposed “guest worker” program. It’s an idea promoted by Texas builders that handles things on many levels. A guest worker program will “create a legal status by which the current immigrant workforce could work here legally that does not grant citizenship but gives both employee and employer the ability to continue driving the American economy”. It’s not the last best idea, but it offers a humane aspect to this problem, one that Republicans simply don’t want to consider.

No, what we had yesterday at the Anti-Immigrant forum was smoke, mirrors, and waving the flag in directions that most people need not pay attention to, need not concern themselves.

I can think of another time, in another country, when a group of people were vilified by a political party in order to distract the public from real solutions to some of the basic problems that were affecting them at that time. It worked wonders for them.

It worked out pretty badly for about 40 million others, but I guess that is how you get in power, and how you retain it, huh?


Anonymous said...

The other part is that it's not even the party leaders dragging us back into the dark ages - this is a popular position. Perhaps Bush even remembered some good hispanic workers, in addition to the business lobbyists who are worried about the costs.

Hal said...

Yes, the position is a popular one, and not just a popular Texas one either. But I am also reminded of a recent photograph of Jared Woodfill's (Harris County GOP Party Chair) office. In the background, clearly shown, was a sign with outlines of America and Mexico. The first was labled "Ours", the second labeled "Yours". Below both the words "Any Questions?".

So there is some encouragement there by local leadership at least.

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea that it’s not really about immigration, it’s about not worrying about anything else other than immigration.

The first person I heard harping on this topic was Lou Dobbs and, as I recall, he was doing it as part of his "War on the Middle Class" campaign. Only, as Tom Frank showed us (What's the Matter with Kansas) people will vote against their own interests when the issue is framed as something else and Dobbs' "War on the Middle Class" wasn't going anywhere until he started beating the "illegal immigrants stealing jobs" drum.

If there ever was a connection, it's long gone and illegal immigration has taken on a life of its own.

Anonymous said...

Stay tuned for more of the Hal propaganda show. Only demos are good and everyone else is bad, except for some demos he doesn't like. He will pretend to be joe or jane average voter, but WE all know better. Your crummy bunch of no good candidates are no better than the worst of Delay. Go sell it someplace else. I'm convinced your nothing but a party club hack!

Anonymous said...

So this anti-immigration group must be rooting for the Mexican Army at the Alamo, because THEY were anti-immigrant to. While some American immigrants to Tejas came legally, as part of land grants to empresarios like Stephen Austin, many "wetlegs" simply rode accross the river borders without an invitation--some brought illegal Black slaves with them. Even the legal immigrants began to grouse about the trouble the wetlegs were starting. And of course when Santa Anna abrogated the Mexican Constitution of 1824, it hit the fan, resulting in an independent Texas.

So next time you watch a movie about the Alamo be sure and root for the Mexican Army, our brave boys in green, because otherwise you'll be siding with ungrateful illegal aliens!

Hal said...

No Anon, this is my blog. This is where I sell it. If you can't take the pitch it's time for you to take it somewhere else.

I have no idea what a "party club hack" is. It sounds like a sandwich. A "party hack" is someone who has partisan party alliances. And that's me.

Finally, "your" is the possesive case of "you". Your as used in the sentence "your nothing but a club party hack" makes no sense at all. When you want to use the contraction for "you are" you spell it "you're". Anything else shows either ignorance or laziness.

Anonymous said...

anon at 4:12 is likely both ignorant and lazy.

little thought goes into the kind of rants he's brought to this blog. he makes no sense!

I agree, he'd be happier trolling somewhere else.

KP said...

hummmm....I don't see the word "illegal" in front of's not the immigrant that is causing this country so much strife, it is the ILLEGAL immigrant...get it through your heads people!!

Hal said...

No, KP, get it through your head. All of this posturing is nothing more than fluff and nonsense. It is an attempt by neoconservatives like yourself to distract attention from things that really matter.

Like Iraq.

Like permitted torture of prisoners.

Like an economy out of control.

You neoconservatives have a lot ot answer for, and this attempt to distract us, to take our eyes off the ball, won't work anymore.