Bulletin on SC Democratic Primary: Right after the New Hampshire Primary, I sent my friend Adam a note about Hillary Clinton's "strategy" to win the nomination. I said she would build on her identification of herself as the "female candidate.' I predicted there also be an emphasis -- subtle though it might be -- as the "White" candidate. In short, she would try to marginalize Obama as the candidate of Black people. That is exactly what her campaign, mainly through the efforts of her husband, attempted to do in South Carolina. They didn't succeed. Am I claiming the Clintons ran a racialist campaign? Yes.
As John King of CNN noted tonight, the Clintons "paid top dollar" for the support of a leading Black minister in SC. His support (and the money he handed out) was designed to win SC for Mrs. Clinton. They should have saved their money. Bill Clinton was a famous user of "walking around money," payoffs given to individuals who claim to be able to control the Black vote.
Tomorrow (Sunday), I'll tell a true story about Lester Maddox, a notorious racist and former Governor of Georgia. "Walking around money" was not exactly a foreign concept to him (or to most politicians of the day, including Jimmy Carter) in Georgia, where I lived for seven years.
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I responded today (Sunday) to a e-mail from one of the "conservative" groups. It was making the point that Senator McCain was "wrong" on immigration and was therefore not a "conservative." Here's my response:
I recently wrote a couple of columns about immigration, relying mainly on articles in The Economist, a very prestigious publication, which disagrees strongly with you on every point you make about immigration. To say that immigrants, legal or illegal, depress the economy is ridiculous, although it's a widely held view among members of the far-right.
The Economist points out that foreign-born immigrants in America have won most of the Nobel Prizes in this decade. It also notes that 40% of the engineering and science PhDs in America are immigrants. It notes that 30% of the high-tech companies in Silicon Valley were started by immigrants. Somehow you "forgot" to mention these points, perhaps because you haven't taken the time to inform yourself on the issue.
As for low-skill immigrants, they pick the lettuce and the oranges, serve as nannies, clean the johns and make the beds at hotels and motels, and put up roofing when the temperature is 110 degrees.
Perhaps Senator McCain might raise these points -- most of which will come as news to people who detest Mexicans -- in the answer to one of your very loaded questions. The notion that immigrants, legal and illegal, don't play a positive role in the American economy is laughable.
It now appears that Republicans and conservatives will play little or no role in resolving the issues related to immigration. Last night, in one of the reddest of Red states, South Carolina, more Democrats voted for Obama than Republicans who voted for both McCain and Huckabee. Eighty thousand more people voted in the Democratic primary than did so in the Republican primary. The implications of that are extremely ominous for the GOP. If the Democratic candidate could be competitive in a state like SC, there's no way we can win the general election.
Somehow people who spend a great deal of time expressing their distaste for Hispanics are living in a parallel universe, one far-removed from the realities of American politics.
As frequent visitors to this site know, my emphasis is on practical politics -- on winning elections. Why? Because if we position ourself in such a way that we're likely to lose, we will have little or no say on important issues.
People who emphasize "ideological purity" on single issues don't understand the way the system works. An idelogical stand that turns off large groups of voters makes no sense.
The arguments made in our time against immigrants, legal or illegal, are the same ones made in the past about OUR ancestors, almost all of whom came here from other countries. There are 40 million legal Hispanic immigrants in our country. If we somehow indicate to them that we don't care about Hispanics, they will never vote for our candidates.
That would mean Republicans probably would lose several crucial states, including Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Also, it would continue the situation where we are not competitive in huge states like California and New York. In short, it's a recipe for perpetual defeat.