Spanking the Elites
I’m the editor here at AT who handled M Catharine Evans’ “Americans Protest Illegals as High-Profile Conservatives Pander,” the piece that opened the second – or maybe third – front in the conservative civil war this Monday.
That submission came in relatively late on Sunday. Monday’s article schedule was already set. But I put it up anyway, shifting another piece to do it. I made sure it went in for Monday even though, for technical reasons, I had to reenter it twice into the publishing system.
I made sure it went in because of what it says about the nature of conservatism in this critical year of 2014.
Illegal immigration is the hot button of the 2014 midterms. No issue is more universal, calls forth a more vehement emotional response, or is arguably more important to the future of this country.
The Democrats have attempted to undermine the issue, largely by promoting the class warfare issue of income equality as a distraction, without much in the way of success.
As is all too often the case, the GOP has responded by volunteering to throw the issue away, beholden as the party is to agribusiness interests – a disgrace in and of itself. Marco Rubio and Renee Ellmers are only the two most prominent GOP politicians who have turned their backs on the voters by repudiating any principled stand against illegal immigration.
The conservative rank and file – the base, in a word – has stubbornly resisted, keeping the issue on the boil, much to the displeasure of the GOP elite.
And now we have the conservative media, the standard-bearers, the opinion leaders, stepping in. Not as spokesmen for the rank and file, as might be expected -- since that’s how they choose to portray themselves -- but firmly on the side of Barack Obama, the Democrats, and the GOP elitists. That is what M Catharine Evans’ piece revealed, and that is what lent it its urgency. If Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch, and Ted Cruz wanted to make a private contribution to the care of these illegals, that would be fine. (As a matter of fact,
Sen. Cruz (correction: Glenn Beck - thanks to Dana Loesch for this correction) did make a private donation while in the company of Ms. Loesch on the border visit, something she revealed to her listeners, apparently without the senator's permission.) If they wanted to encourage churches and charities to extend a hand, nobody could complain. But they didn’t. They made a media circus out of it – Beck taking the lead, as is often the case – and then confounded their offense by lecturing conservatives from the stance of moral superiority, much as the liberal left has done for generations.
The wailing that the piece aroused – a chorus led by Dana Loesch -- proves that Evans hit home. Beck, Loesch, et al tried to pull a fast one and got caught. They blatantly and publicly defied conservative opinion and conviction, and evidently thought they’d be praised for it. Now guilty consciences are biting hard and deep.
Dem plans for the illegals are unclear only to the willfully blind. Blacks, the most dependable single Democratic voting bloc, are no longer the largest ethnic minority to fan resentent among. Unions have passed their peak, and recent court decisions have stripped them of much of their political power. The Dems need a replacement, and that’s what the illegals represent. First we get ‘em across the border, then recognize the matricula – the Mexican ID card, then hand out driver’s licenses. Then register the vast pool of noncitizens to vote and scream racism at anyone who complains. (Obama simply wishes to streamline the process by destroying the concept of a secure border.) The Democrats will play it exactly as they have the black vote -- exploit gratitude for the generosity of the padrone, keep ‘em confined to the barrio, and you’ve got your loyal voting bloc for at least two or three generations. (See Michael Bargo’s series for a detailed analysis of Democratic strategy.)
That the GOP should cooperate with this to its own disadvantage is nothing new. The party has long been in the hands of people who can see no farther than the next envelope full of cash and mainstream media approval. That media conservatives should ape this behavior is nothing less than appalling. It strongly suggests that the spearheads of the movement do not, in fact, take its principles seriously and are just along for the ride. We have seen a lot of this in recent years. Recall 2008, when conservative figures such as Peggy Noonan proudly flaunted the fact that they’d voted for Obama, while expecting us all, in the light of this political, intellectual, and moral failure, to continue taking their further pontifications seriously. There exists no shortage of such individuals posing as conservative spokesmen -- David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, and S.E. Cupp spring immediately to mind. We need no more of them.
The uproar surrounding the Evans piece suggests that a healthy skepticism remains alive in conservatism. People unused to being stung have been stung good and hard. That’s no bad thing. A movement that fails to set boundaries on the behavior of its members, from the leadership on down, is effectively no movement at all.