GOP Can`t Win Great Hispandering Competition

: We were using the term

, but
have decided

Mickey Kaus`
 term “Hispander” is better

Never let it be said that the Democrats will allow
the Republicans to

them for the

Hispanic vote

Ever since he entered office, President Bush has

about an amnesty for illegal aliens, but
he`s had to put that on the political shelf because of
the "war on terrorism" and other projects. Now, one of
the chief Democrats has come up with a proposal that
threatens to make the very term "illegal alien"

Speaking at the national conference of a Hispanic

organization that calls itself the National
Council of La Raza ("The Race"), House Minority Leader
Richard Gephardt (contact
) vowed to introduce legislation that, as the
Washington Post


"would provide earned legal residency to illegal
immigrants who work in the United States for two years
and obey the law."

[“Hispanic Group Assails INS Enforcement Plan” By
Darryl Fears, July 23, 2002]

Leave aside for the nonce that by

being in the country illegally
at all, the
immigrants are not
obeying the law

What Mr. Gephardt`s bill would do, if it became law,
would be effectively to repeal existing laws against
illegal immigration.

If an alien who crosses the border illegally can
avoid arrest for two years and get himself a

from the

Open Borders lobby
, then he would be able to apply
for legal residency. Once he gains legal residency, he
would be on the road to full citizenship.

The bill would vastly enhance the incentives for more
illegal immigration and virtually abolish any incentive
among illegals to return home. It would also make

better enforcement
of current immigration law
largely pointless. Why

bust illegals
if the government has just passed a
law making them eligible for legal status?

As even the Post remarks, Mr. Gephardt`s
speech was "an undisguised Democratic appeal to
Hispanics," whom Republicans have also been
courting—without much result—for the last several years.
President Bush, you will recall, was the man who

had won a majority of the Hispanic vote
in his re-election as governor of Texas in 1998 (not
true; he won less than 40 percent) and could win the
emerging Hispanic majority for the GOP (not true again:
he won a mere
35 percent in 2000;
Al Gore walked off with a
landslide 65 percent majority despite

Republican pandering).

But now, Mr. Gephardt`s speech to the racists (excuse
me, the Razistas) shows that the Democrats are
not about to let the Republicans corner the pander
market. It also shows why the Democrats, once they put
their minds to it, will always

walk off
with the title in the World Pandermeister

You can beat the Democrats at pandering about as
easily as you can beat Italians at making spaghetti
sauce. The Democrats  invented pandering—the

New Deal
, the

Square Deal
, the

New Frontier,
Great Society
, and every other panderfest now known
collectively as the

welfare state
, each and all sprang full blown from
the Democratic noggin.

When President Bush last year suggested an amnesty
for Mexican illegals, in his feeble and pathetic attempt
to compete with his rivals` pandering, they trumped him
at once with a proposal for an amnesty for all illegals.

Now, with the Gephardt pander bid, the Republicans
are out-pandered once more.

The Democrats can`t be beaten at pandering simply
because they have for decades deliberately constructed
their party and its political strategy around it.

Their constituencies
—the poor, ethnic minorities and
the apparently immortal gaggle of academic


who call themselves "liberals"—demand

The Republicans, on the contrary, have nothing like
that. Their party is based on constituencies like white,
middle and upper-income businessmen, farmers, and (in
the last 30 years or so)

cultural conservatives
, all of whom look upon
pandering with contempt and regard it as yet another
effort to undermine the middle-class values and virtues
by which they and the American Republic live.

Not only are Republicans not very good at pandering
and always beaten by the Democrats but also, pandering

doesn`t impress
and may even lose the base
Republican constituency.

If Mr. Gephardt introduces his bill and should
actually get it passed into law, it will not only mean
an open invitation to every amigo south of the
border from

Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego

invite himself
and his family to our country
permanently but will also mean that the Republican
pander contest for the Hispanic vote will be completed
by the Democrats.

The amigos will know very well which party
sponsored the legislation that let them in (the
to whom Mr. Gephardt was spouting will make
sure of that) and which party is in the best position to
pander to them even more.

The Republicans can boast about their own

pitiful attempts at pandering
all they want. But
when the prizes for pandering are handed out, it will be
the Democrats who go home with them.


July 25, 2002