December 24, 2004

What is Rove really up to?

A reader passes on an interesting interpretation of why Bush and Rove want to flood the country with an unlimited number of foreign guest workers at the minimum wage. They know it won't generate votes for Republicans, but that's not the intention. The goal is to destroy the unions, which are major sources of funds and organizers for the Democratic Party, by providing a nearly-infinite supply of strikebreakers.

A historical analogy: Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers union was able to significantly raise the wages of stoop laborers in the 1960s and 1970s because the Eisenhower Administration deported about a million illegal immigrants back to Mexico. Growers fought back against the UFW by sending buses to Mexico and sneaking strikebreakers over the border, so infuriating Chavez that he volunteered his union staffers to the Border Patrol as auxiliary vigilantes. However, the 1982 economic collapse in Mexico sent millions of illegal immigrants northward, crushing wages. Now, the UFW is a dried husk and Chavez, bizarrely, is celebrated as the patron saint of the reconquista, even though he used to turn in illegal immigrants to the INS.

Yet, the number of workers who are in private sector unions has shrunk down so low that this obsession of Rove's seems outdated. Certainly, private sector unionism hardly saps the strength of the economy to the same extent as it did in, say, Harry Truman's day, when a big part of the President's job was trying to head off or settle massive strikes. Increasingly, unionized workers are government employees, who typically are protected from illegal immigrants by laws requiring government jobholders to be citizens.

The AFL-CIO favors a less radical version of the Karl Rove Amnesty Plan, suggesting that they view the political impact of KRAP very differently than Rove does. The unions see two benefits. First, amnesty increases the number of potential union members by bringing illegals out of the shadows. Second, by threatening to destroy American wage levels, KRAP will increase desperation among workers and make them turn to the unions for protection from guest workers, just as the unions first became hugely powerful during the Depression when the supply of labor was far greater than the demand.

I can't say whether Rove or the AFL-CIO is right about the political impact of KRAP, but that there's disagreement between the two most interested parties shows how much Bush and Rove just like to roll the dice more than they like to figure the odds, as shown by invading Iraq and by how they made it easier for Arab Muslim terrorists to hijack airplanes in the first 8 months of 2001 as part of their pursuit of the (almost nonexistent) Arab Muslim vote.

So far, Rove's claim to be a genius is that Bush got elected by a -0.5% margin and got re-elected by less than 2.5% of the vote -- pretty thin evidence that Rove's the infallible seer of politics. A better interpretation is that Rove is an inveterate gambler who has slipped through by the skin of his teeth so far.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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