July 30, 2007

Why the Axis of Amnesty coalition failed

My new VDARE.com column examines why what was wrong with the seemingly mile-wide coalition of special interests behind the Kennedy-Bush-McCain: It was only an inch deep. "What the Axis didn't have was any Americans below the elites who actually cared enough about the amnesty bill to write their Senators." For example, white liberals below the elite ranks did almost nothing to help the amnesty bill pass:

As Randall Burns has documented on VDARE.com, white liberals who are ordinary citizens showed negligible zeal for amnesty. The "progressive netroots" who hang out on Daily Kos and the like have turned themselves into a formidable political force, but they were yet another dog that didn't bark for amnesty. On the rare occasions when the Senate legislation came up on liberal blogs, the comments sections tended toward hostility.

Just about the only pro-amnesty talking point that white liberals could rally around was that passing the bill would make white conservatives—who are, by definition, evil racists, morally far inferior to white liberals—mad.

That kind of status-striving certainly motivated a lot of the biased pro-amnesty press coverage in the MSM. But it didn't seem to drive much positive political activism among the netroots.

The truth is that white liberals are bored by Mexican illegal immigrants, who lack the glamour of the 1960s black civil rights protestors. At the 2006 march for illegal aliens that I witnessed, I didn't see a single white American. Everyone marching down Van Nuys Blvd. appeared to be mestizo or full-blooded Indian. (Indeed, judging from how short the marchers were on average, there weren't many American-born Latinos in attendance either.) ...

In summary, the Axis of Amnesty coalition turned out to be a lot of chiefs and very few Indians. [More]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Mark said...

"Failed?" Amnesty "failed?"

No, it didn't fail - it exploded like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man into a giant, steaming pile of ectoplasmic goo, due to the concerted effort of people no more respected by the elite than Professors Venkman and Spengler, while every average American looked on and cheered.

The whole political movement for amnesty witnessed a self-destruction the likes of which you seldom see - and it was the whole amnesty movement, not one or two people, that self-destructed. It involved large portions of snideness, condescension, hate, outright greed, stupidity, and complete disdain for the middle class.

There was John McCain telling Senator Cornyn (and, indirectly, us) to "F^$% off."

There was the whole of the Senate promising us they'd build us a fence in exchange for amnesty - the same fence they'd promised to build us a year ago, but this time only half as long!

There was that idiot savant from Cohen & Grigsby, advising his clients (on YouTube!) how to avoid hiring an American - in America.

There was Senator Graham saying that amnesty opponents were "bigots" who wanted to "run people down."

There was the passport backlog at the same department that would be expected to handle the amnesty. If the bill had passed, who do you think would have to wait: amnesty applicants or passport applicants? You know who.

And then there were the constant, neverending revelations about the bill on the table: mandatory amnesty within 24 hours, amnesty for tax absconders, amnesty for convicted felons, a refusal to place a numerical cap on Z-visas, ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...

you wrote:
"The good news for the Axis of Amnesty was that the MainStream Media consistently demonize patriotic immigration reformers. But that was about all the good news they enjoyed. Just about the only steadfast partisans were obviously self-interested or delusional fringe interests like the immigration lawyers, La Raza, and economists."

Ah, no. As you mentioned above, there is a huge pro-immigration coalition that includes business, etc. In fact, that coalition includes almost all mangerial americans, at least those at a high level. It includes a lot of ordinary people who have bought into the pro-immigration propaganda.

Let's face it--the amnesty failed because of the internet, and because the internet is giving the traditional media, especially talk radio, a run for their money in terms of stealing the audiences away from talk radio and the rest of the mass media. Over the past couple of years, many major newspapers have been losing readership, and this spring, television viewership dropped for the first time in decades.

Competition from the internet for audience has forced these traditional media to cover immigration in a different way, to use the immigration issue to attract audience, and in order to do that, they had to give voice to the massive grassroots anti-immigration sentiment.

And in particular, talk radio killed the amnesty. Limbaugh and Savage HAD TO give voice to the overwhelming anti-immigration majority of their audiences. What forced them to do that? The Internet. If the truth is out there on the Net, the traditional media is gonna have to cave sooner or later.

you wrote:
"Just about the only pro-amnesty talking point that white liberals could rally around was that passing the bill would make white conservatives—who are, by definition, evil racists, morally far inferior to white liberals—mad. "

NOW you are getting real. American electoral political is mostly about tribal hatreds--the democratic warriors vs the republican warriors. Most of these cultists care little about the actual policies; they really only wanna beat up on the other side.

David said...

Good one, Steve.

But, don't you mean "a lot of chiefs and a lot of Indians - but no normal Americans"? :)

Karen said...

This is the same mistake that the Democrats make about abortion and gay rights. Now people aren't bored by those issues - they think they're sexy - but by their very nature they can't produce the kind of boring, plodding, unified coalitions that get legislation passed in a democratic (and therefore generally accepted as legitimate) manner. If Hilary is elected, expect to see an even more farcical repeat of elites vs. people on the subject of education. The Democrats will try to fill the trough for their teacher union allies even further by attempting to regulate private education and homeschooling, subjects about which they will never be able to find very many people on their side who care. But the other side cares and is already organized.

Anonymous said...

This is similar to the attitude of people to the EU in Britain. The great and the good are all for it the population largely not.

If it ever came to a vote, the 'no' vote would turn 'out. The 'yes' vote wouldnt really bother.

Thats if we are allowed a vote, party discipline here helps MPs to ignore their irate constituents and concentrate on what the party leadership wants.

Chief Seattle said...

Very good point from Anonymous @ 3:36 AM. I wondered why Rush Limbaugh et. al. weren't spouting the big business party line on immigration. Competition from the 'net explains it nicely.

So not only does the Internet help inform the relatively small minority who get their news there - it forces marginal main stream outlets to pick up ideas generated on the internet

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder what would happen if the Main Stream Media would simply report illegal immigration in proportion to the effect is is having on the community. Living in Nor Cal I have gone through the various emotional phases while having to live with the effects immigration has had on my life. First there is the "if only they knew". Then there is the "OK, the reporters must just be afraid". Then there is the "well I guess the newspaper is just afraid of the Latino community and the business backlash in advertising". Now I just believe that only liberal bigots of color get to write for newspapers. In other words, "they get to write what they like because they like what they write".

The biggest crime in all of this is that it is very hard to talk openly, especially in the work environment. By only dealing in sob stories and anicdotal evidence it is hard to have an intelligent conversation. What are the effects on the environment? The environmental organizations which are as thick as flies out here sure the hell won't say. And is there investigative journalism on this? No.

The same can be said for the schools, employment, traffic, crime, water, urban sprawl, etc.
Each one of these topics is covered it is just that immigration, including illegal, is the preverbial "pink elephant". We have a disfuntional community similar to no one wanting to talk about dad's drinking. Everyone just pretends not to notice.

This is why, in my opinion, it won't take much to turn this small victory into a rout. Once the mass is mobilized and informed the pro-illegal side does not have a chance.

John Savage said...

Steve, I tend to wonder if the leftist "netroots" are just not as involved these days because they're feeling more smug than they might have when Bush was more popular. They feel like they've won a few victories, and they fully expect to get a Democrat elected in '08. If the GOP will tear itself apart now, they probably think that's all the better.

It's an interesting question to ask, why the netroots were silent. More of my speculation is here. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Karen: The Democrats will try to fill the trough for their teacher union allies even further by attempting to regulate private education and homeschooling, subjects about which they will never be able to find very many people on their side who care.

Yeah, that's one to keep an eye on.

Short of Roe-v-Wade, I know of few things that The Left would like more than to drive a stake through the heart of the homeschooling movement.

Karen said...

Let them try.

Going up against a bunch of well-networked people who are all ready and able to pester their elected representatives is such a recipe for success, don't you think? That's why trying to go against AARP always leads to political victory! /sarcasm

Anonymous said...

From the Wikipedia article: According to United States Department of Education report NCES 2003-42, "Homeschooling in the United States: 2003",[25] there was an increase in homeschooled students in the U.S. from 850,000 students in 1999 (1.7 percent of the total student population) to 1.1 million students in 2003 (2.2 percent of the total student population). According to an unsourced National Home Education Research Institute statement, an estimated 1.9 to 2.4 million children were home educated during 2005-2006.

Even if you go with a high figure, like 2.4M children, and if you assume a 2-2 ratio of children to parents, so that you're dealing with, say, 4.8M total, then that's only about 1.6% of the entire population. [And the Wikipedia article says that it might be more like 3-2, so that 2.4M children would only get you 1.6M parents.]

I.e. the numbers are still small enough that a Hillary Clinton administration, backed by solid majorities in both houses of Congress, and maybe a lucky pickup on the Supreme Court [say, perhaps, John Roberts suffers a Grand Mal seizure, or Clarence Thomas keels over from a massive heart attack] - anyway, a President Hillary Clinton, with that kind of power behind her [no pun intended], would be very tempted to squash the homeschooling movement the way you or I would squash a gnat.

By comparison, how many cigar smokers are there in the United States? I honestly don't know [1M? 5M? 10M? 20M?], but however many there are, it hasn't stopped the DEM's from trying to up the cigar tax, from 5 cents per, to 10 dollars per.