Mike "Baghdad is like a summertime market in Indiana" Pence provides a sneak preview of the right's talking points on Federal immigration reform while yapping with David Gregory on Sunday:

GREGORY: But this is an interesting point because, Congressman Pence, the president came out and said, you know, there was some debate about whether immigration would be an agenda item that he would push before energy legislation. He said this week there simply aren't the votes for it, particularly from Republicans.

PENCE: Well, well, let, let's be clear for a second. This is no laughing matter for the people of Arizona who are–have been profoundly affected by the fact that there's nearly a half a million illegal immigrants and, and a rampant drug trade and, and, and human trafficking trade that's been besetting. Phoenix, Arizona, is, is the kidnapping capital of the United State of America. I don't know if this law is perfect, but I knew–do know that it is wrong for officials in this government to throw stones at the people of Arizona as they're trying to, to reassert the rule of law in the wake of the fact that this administration and this Congress have been systematically cutting funding to border security since the Democrats took control.

GREGORY: Of course, it was Republicans who blocked comprehensive immigration reform. Let's be clear about that.

PENCE: Well, let–well, let, let's focus on border security first, David.


PENCE: In, in fiscal…

GREGORY: The bill called for that. The Bush bill called for more border security, Republicans were with him…

PENCE: Right.

GREGORY: …until they were against him on that.

PENCE: David, here's the numbers. Fiscal 2007, the last year Republicans wrote a budget, $1.2 billion for border security and fencing. By 2010 that was cut by–to $800 billion.

Like so many issues – abortion, gay marriage, the budget, education, crime, etc. – the key question for the GOP in their zeal to blame things on 18 months of Democratic unified government is: Where the hell were you guys for 12 years? What prevented you from addressing this between 1994 and 2006, the last half of that with a Republican president and the first with a Democrat with a fetish for appeasement? We don't get answers. We merely get the Malfunctioning Mike Pence Robot: "We spent more. We spent more. We spent more. Baghdad reminds me of Indiana."

That last point is accurate only if one visits Terre Haute.

Immigration reform is going to have to come from the left because it is yet another issue on which the right has absolutely no idea what to do. That's why they didn't address it when they were in power and can do nothing in the present except criticize un-constructively. They have no serious policy to offer. What they have either sounds like the product of a brainstorming session among a group of 11 year-old boys (building a giant fence) or is a proven failure, the sole benefit of which is to appeal to the conservative base (more people with guns, more arrests, more skull-cracking).

The bottom line is that the post-1980 GOP has exactly three policy prescriptions, none of which are effective against immigration: cutting taxes, firing cruise missiles at it, and criminalizing more behaviors (or enacting heavier sentencing on existing crimes). Since there is no one to threaten with our cruise missiles on this issue, they are left with just two options. "Did you try cutting taxes? Did you try mandatory minimum sentencing? Well shit, son. I'm all outta idears." It's not really a political party anymore, lacking the ability to handle all of the issues on the current political spectrum. If there is a problem that can't be solved by violence, cutting taxes on six-figure incomes, or the threat of incarceration, the GOP proves about as useful as tits on a bull.

16 thoughts on “DID YOU TRY SHOOTING AT IT?”

  • Pence said Baghdad was "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summer time." Jeez I wish he'd go there without his 200 man security team. He wouldn't get to 'haggle for a rug', he'd leave in one.

  • "Immigration reform is going to have to come from the left because it is yet another issue on which the right has absolutely no idea what to do"

    Ed, I'll go a step further and say the right, or specifically the republican party and the fringe movements like the teabaggers that support it, have no useful ideas to solve ANY problem as far as I've seen in the last 9 years. They have different primary goals like making tons of money, and be as autocratic as possible; governance is a pesky component that comes in their way. They've brain washed the dumb part of the country to think "Gummint BAD!" so they can do whatever they want, and then say "This is not the government's job! Free market ELEVENTY!!!11!!!".

    Btw, if you read carefully, I said "primary goal"; I am not under any illusion that any other alternative political group is not out to make money but at least some of the democratic party members AND others provide a semblance of governance.

  • Misterben says:

    It is deeply unfortunate that the immigration debate has been framed as Border Security Vs. Civil Rights. Those are important questions, all right, but they're not really at the heart of the immigration question – certainly not the ILLEGAL immigration question.

    Most immigration to the US, and almost all of the run-for-the-border illegal immigration that inflames so many Americans, is about jobs: the immigrants (or migrants) know with 100% certainty that there are jobs waiting for them here. Simultaneously they know that there are no jobs where they live, or at least no jobs that will allow them to feed their families. When I discuss this issue with conservatives of the "build a bigger fence" variety, I always ask them: "If you had to choose between watching your family starve and taking a few risks to get a job, which would you choose?" All but the most psychopathic have to admit that they would take the risks (and break the law) in order to feed their families.

    If we were serious about stopping illegal immigration, we would stop wasting our time and money chasing around minivans full of migrant workers, and we would target the American corporations that hire these people. Companies aren't hiring illegals because it's fun; they hire illegals because it's cheap. They do it ON PURPOSE, and they look the other way.

    If we aggressively investigated and pursued companies that hire illegals, and then punished them severely (through brutal fines and jail time for executives) – in other words, if we eliminated the cost savings inherent in hiring illegals – companies would stop hiring them. The jobs would go away. And if the jobs go away, the vast majority of the immigrants would stop coming.

    ICE, and the INS before it, tried this a few times, but they have always been stopped. The industries targeted for enforcement would simply send lobbyists to Congress, who would then threaten and cajole the agency until they backed off.

    But if we were serious about curtailing illegal immigration, that's what we would do. Anything else is just a sideshow.

  • Crazy for Urban Planning says:

    Misterben is spot on in expressing my own thoughts about immigration. To some degree it may have been worsened when NAFTA increased the rate that Mexican Peasants went to cities and factories to make us crap we don't need (side note – one of my memories of taking a bus to Mexico City is a huge crappy looking bayer aspirin factory… hey I take those I thought). I don't have anything else to add.

  • This issue is why Libs shouldn't conflate Repubs w/ Conservatives.

    C's were/are for enforcing existing laws and effectively sealing the borderS. Do those things, and while the pot is settling, we can talk about how best to treat the people already here. Of course, it's all because we C's are all reptilian bastards who don't like anyone who doesn't look and smell like us.

    Comprehensive Immigration Reform has always been a false flag op. Do what can be tackled incrementally with that first important step being plug the damn leak. (BTW almost any "comprehensive" bill is fertile ground for the Devil to hide in the details and the ol' Law of Unintended Consequences.)

    The Rich Repubs don't wanna 'cause they are short sighted and want the cheap labor and Dems don't wanna cause they love the eventual guaranteed 70% + vote from this group with the "keys to the highway" for permanent rule for the Left.


  • What's in a name? says:

    Certainly the prospect of employment is one of the pull factors which all but force these people across the border, but it is important to look at these practices in the larger context of thirty years of neoliberal economics.

    In the early '80s Mexico saw massive inflation, wage stagnation, and huge foreign debts they were unable to repay. These were exacerbated after Salinas, who paved the way for NAFTA, stole the presidency in '88. After U.S. funding brought the country out of an economic free-fall which occurred simultaneously to the passing of the trade agreement, the reform did exactly what it was designed to do: create an "economic miracle" for the elite. Multinational manufacturers and agribusiness made out like bandits while wages continued to decline for rural and urban workers alike. As you mentioned, if the choice is between the death of you and yours on a slave wage and violating the law to provide for them, the answer is clear. Those push factors are just as strong.

    So while targeting the companies which hirer these people certainly may diminish their migration into the U.S., it in no way addresses the detrimental effects our political and economic decisions have had on the situations in their home country.

  • Tom Bloodgood says:

    "David, here's the numbers. Fiscal 2007, the last year Republicans wrote a budget, $1.2 billion for border security and fencing. By 2010 that was cut by–to $800 billion."

    If this quote is accurate, I like the part where we cut something by increasing it.

    1.2 billion = $1,200,000,000 < 800 billion = $800,000,000,000

    Or maybe, we cut it by $800 billion! Talk about balancing your budget. We now have an extra $798 billion to pay for healthcare.

  • ts46064:

    I have, but if I don't recall the scent exactly it's only because it's been a while. If memory serves, it was something between the olfactory pleasures of Amarillo and Peoria.

  • Those of us on the political left and with the benefit of education can easily dismiss the use of illegal immigrant labor by accusing those who are against it of racism or that these are jobs that Americans are simply unwilling to do. This may be correct on both accounts but it ignores the fact that illegal immigration has devastated the wages of unskilled and semi-skilled worker in America.

    The simple truth of the matter is that 7 out of 10 Americans have never set foot on a college campus. This isn't necessarily an indication of intelligence or dedication, the vast majority of these people simply lack the resources or the preparation to even compete for a spot.

    What are we, as a nation, going to do to provide a decent living to the 70% that is now deemed irrelevant to the elite?

    The nods to Comprehensive Immigration Reform never seem to clearly outline just how it will take place. Wholesale amnesty solves the problem until the next batch of marginalized workers moves in to replace them, Wholesale deportation leads to rapid inflation of basic commodities and services.

    What is the solution? I want my fellow pinko lefties to address the real world even if those idiots include Fox News viewers and gun-toting Bubbas.

    Anyone care to take a shot at this?

  • ChicagoPat says:

    "cutting taxes, firing cruise missiles at it, and criminalizing more behaviors"

    You forgot deregulation. Clearly the INS is crippled with too much oversight.

    It is fun to watch the GOP piss away the Latino vote though.

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