Ashcroft: Who Cares? He`s Useless on Immigration…


Even as
some left-leaning Democrats pronounced to a yawning
world that they would vote against it, the
confirmation of former Sen. John Ashcroft as President
Bush`s attorney general appeared certain.  Mr.
Ashcroft has trod on the liberal toe on several
different issues — abortion, homosexuality, civil
rights and just plain "sensitivity" in
general.  But on one subject he`s virtually
indistinguishable from his liberal enemies.  That
issue is immigration.

For that reason, we have not been obliged to endure
any liberal yattering about immigration during the
Ashcroft hearings, and such moral paragons as Teddy
Kennedy have been free to maunder about Mr. Ashcroft`s
wickedness in accepting an honorary degree from Bob
Jones University.  Nevertheless, some on the left
have succeeded in finding fault even with Mr.
Ashcroft`s immigration positions.

Thus, a brutish outfit known as MALDEF — the
Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund —
unbosomed its opposition to the Ashcroft nomination
last week.  MALDEF makes little pretense of
disguising its own racial-nationalist agenda of
promoting the interests and protecting (not to say
inventing) the rights of Mexican-Americans. 
Hence, in place of the "anti-immigrant" Mr.
Ashcroft, as its spokes-hombres called the nominee, it
demanded an attorney general who will "help
Hispanics."

What MALDEF has against Mr. Ashcroft and why it claims
he`s "anti-immigrant" is that in 1996 the
Missouri senator voted for a measure that, according
to a MALDEF representative, would have denied
"food stamps and Social Security payouts to
naturalized citizens."  Because many such
people are of Latino ancestry, she told the New
York-based immigration control group Project USA, Mr.
Ashcroft therefore "does not represent the
interests of Latinos."

Well, as Ricky Nelson said, you can`t please everyone. 
But what the MALDEF malcontents succeed in proving is
the utter futility of Republican pandering.

The truth is that both President Bush and Mr. Ashcroft
are militantly pro-immigration.  So were at least
two recent cabinet nominees, Energy Secretary Spencer
Abraham and unsuccessful Labor Secretary nominee Linda
Chavez.  The president himself is on record as
saying he thinks we should have more immigration. 
As for Mr. Ashcroft, his own voting record shows he
can keep pace with the most liberal of Democrats on
the immigration issue.

Thus, another immigration control group, Numbers
USA
, which monitors the voting records of
congressmen on immigration, placed Mr. Ashcroft in the
same category as former Black Caucus member William
Clay and House Majority Whip Dick Gephardt on
immigration issues, a category that includes
congressmen who "have consistently pressed for
high U.S. population growth, immigration, and foreign
labor importation."  Not everyone from
Missouri has the dubious honor to be in that category.

Mr. Ashcroft has voted for measures allowing continued
chain migration, by which immigrants can import their
family members in an endless chain that vastly
increases immigration.  He has consistently voted
for increases in the H-1B program that allows foreign
workers to enter the United States to take high-tech
jobs from American workers.  In 1997 he voted for
an amnesty bill that would have legalized nearly a
million illegal aliens from Nicaragua and Cuba and
voted against a measure to help employers verify the
legal status of their immigrant workers.  To say,
on the basis of this record, that he`s
"anti-immigrant" is as preposterous as
claiming he`s a "white supremacist" because
he praised Robert E. Lee.

But the point is that Mr. Ashcroft`s liberal to left
voting record on immigration issues isn`t good enough
for MALDEF, just as his support for black judicial
nominees as a senator and the Martin Luther King
holiday as governor of Missouri isn`t good enough for
the Afro-racists and their friends in the Senate. 
The point is that, for all the pandering that Mr.
Ashcroft and his fellow Republicans perform on
immigration and racial issues, the least deviation
from the party line will make you
"anti-immigrant," "anti-Latino,"
"insensitive," "racist," and a
"white supremacist."  President Bush
has experienced much the same thing, and so did Miss
Chavez.

The obvious lesson to learn is that, because pandering
doesn`t help, doesn`t gain you a reputation for
tolerance or sensitivity or whatever it is the pander
party wants to gain, and certainly doesn`t gain you
either black or Hispanic votes or the political
endorsement of their lobbying leviathans like MALDEF
and the NAACP, then maybe you should give up pandering
for good.

Unfortunately, the pander party has dismally failed to
learn that lesson.  Despite the lack of support,
concerted opposition and even outright hatred
expressed for the Bush administration and the
Republican Party by non-white leaders and their
Democratic mouthpieces, Mr. Bush and his colleagues
continue to pander.  What do you call a party
that does not and cannot learn the obvious lessons of
politics?  The word "stupid" keeps
coming relentlessly to mind.

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February 02, 2001