Ponnuru`s Complaint: Paleocons Keep Outing Him
Ramesh Ponnuru and
Jonah Goldberg have now felt obliged to post six
times at the NRO`s Corner blog about my recent
a critique of Ponnuru`s attempt to
finesse the immigration issue in a recent issue of
My criticism of Ponnuru`s article was limited to the
flaws in his analysis of
immigration`s role in GOP politics—basically, he
conventional wisdom and ignores
the white vote—and how it reflects a general pattern
in his writing—advocating a “compromise” that
effectively moves the immigration debate to the left
Beltway consensus, while posing as a restrictionist. I
argued that Ponnuru`s performance is, on balance,
consistently negative to the
patriotic immigration reform movement.
But instead of addressing my critique, Ponnuru
responded by complaining that a (presumed) VDARE.COM
emailer told him to go back to
Jonah Goldberg tried to zing me by
suggesting that since I was "half-Jewish and
half-Korean" by the logic of this rogue e-mailer, I
too should go back to my country(s) of origin. (Germany
and Korea, if you want to know).
Of course, as I have pointed out, no one at VDARE.COM
has suggested that non-whites, much less
non-Mayflower descendants, were incapable of
assimilating. We merely note to the obvious fact that
some groups can assimilate more easily than others.
After this immaterial complaint, Ponnuru
approvingly linked to a Wall Street Journal
A new study shows the heavy price the GOP paid for
"get-tough" border politics, October 2 2007) by
Richard Nadler of the
America`s Majority Foundation—a think tank that ran
a series of
ads in support of the Bush amnesty.
Presumably Ponnuru`s purpose was to discredit my point
that the GOP share of the Hispanic vote
shows no sign of
breaking out of its historic (low) range and anyway is
trivial compared to the real prize – the white vote.
Nadler`s piece is just the usual special pleading.
Steve Sailer could deal with it in depth, as he
dealt with a Nadler piece rebunking the Bush
Hispanic vote share myth published
on NRO (hmmm) in 2004. But I am amused to see that
Nadler`s latest effort actually contradicts many of
Ponnuru`s recent statements.
Thus Nadler overstates the GOP`s success among the
Hispanics in 2004 and suggests Hispanics are natural
Republicans due to their stands on
vouchers—two points that Ponnuru correctly derided
in his original NR piece. Nadler also makes a
straw man of mass deportation, when patriotic
immigration reformers emphasize
attrition through enforcement, and used loaded
language like “comprehensive immigration reform”
“undocumented workers”—all aspects of
biased immigration reporting that Ramesh Ponnuru
in his CIS speech, which I praised in my article.
(Nadler also made many of the same errors as Ponnuru. He
ignores the white vote entirely, and calls
J.D. Hayworth and more incredibly
Henry Bonilla—F- from Americans for Better
Immigration on Amnesty—hardliners on immigration. He
also seems to forget that little things like
Jack Abramoff and the war in Iraq—ardently
advocated by National Review—had something to
do with Republican failure in 2006.)
This summer, the National Review staff made a lot
of noise when they
challenged the Wall Street Journal editorial page
to debate them on the Kennedy-Bush Amnesty/
Immigration Surge bill. (Didn`t happen, needless to
say.) But here we are, a few months later, and Ponnuru,
as well as the
Larry Kudlow, are boosting pro-amnesty propaganda in
the Wall Street Journal.
Ponnuru says there are many inaccuracies in my piece.
But he only cites one: my failure to give him credit for
opposing legal immigration.
In recent years, Ponnuru has indeed occasionally called
for reductions in legal immigration. But—as demonstrated
by his revived love for the
Wall Street Journal
editorial page—his views are only as good
as his latest blog post.
My point was that Ponnuru did not mention legal
immigration at all in his NR article proposing a
spurious great compromise. (“It would help if
comprehensivists took the idea of passing a
grand bill off the table. They ought to scale back
their ambitions. Restrictionists, meanwhile,
need to scale back their rhetoric—and start making
the case that limits on immigration would serve the
interests of immigrants and native-born Americans
alike.” “Scale back their rhetoric” = shut up and
stop inconveniencing Beltway conservatives` social
Reason: Ponnuru doesn`t really oppose mass
Another Ponnuru complaint was that paleoconservatives
can, to use the parlance of our times, “dish it, but
not take it” when it comes to their conflict with
He suggests that I was wrong to describe his criticisms
Peter Brimelow, and
Pat Buchanan and his implicit criticisms of
John O`Sullivan (who published Brimelow`s seminal
Time To Rethink Immigration NR cover story), as
“vicious”—because he has praised the former two
at times and because Buchanan was engaged in a plot to
I am perfectly willing to call my piece on Ponnuru an
attack, even though I did gave him credit for giving
“a genuinely insightful speech” at CIS. A few faint
praises are moot compared to the theme of an article.
All of Ponnuru`s pieces that mention people who
criticized mass immigration before he changed his mind
and decided to become a pseudo-restrictionist give off
the gestalt that we should listen to him and not
to those mean-spirited racists who have hurt their own
cause. (I`ll leave Ponnuru`s comments on Buchanan for
But the difference between the Neoconservatives and
Paleoconservatives is that we aren`t
destroying their careers and reputations. Many real
conservatives who have lost their jobs or been demoted,
like John O`Sullivan, Peter Brimelow,
Sam Francis, and
Kevin Lamb, were kicked out not because of any
“hyperbolic” op-eds, but by surreptitious—and
certainly vicious—lobbying by Ponnuru, his allies and
Ponnuru says that paleos are full of unjustified
self-pity, as if we are bullies who crave sympathy after
our victims defend ourselves.
Well, I am 24 years old. I came into politics well after
the paleocon highwater marks of
Prop 187 and
Pat Buchanan`s 1996 campaign. I knew I was fighting
on the losing side. I could have made more money and won
more status points by parroting National Review.
I could see how quickly my sycophantic classmate
Ben Domenech was promoted before his NR
plagiarism was exposed.
But I decided there are easier and more honest ways to
make money and friends than being a Republican Party
Knowing what I was getting into when I started writing
for VDARE.COM and similar publications, I do not pity
myself for where my career is. I am fortunate enough to
work for an employer who sees attacks by Ponnuru and
Goldberg as a badge of honor. I would rather write for
publications like VDARE.COM, where I can write what I
believe, than beg for column space in National Review
while worrying how my column will affect my publisher`s
ability to have
Tony Snow speak
on their Cruise. I prefer creating our own
institutions, like the
Robert Taft Club, to worrying about what the
conservative movement is wasting its time on.
The reason I attack Ponnuru, National Review and
other pseudoconservatives (and I`m willing to admit
that`s what I am doing) is not to gain sympathy.
It`s because I want to warn patriotic Americans who
haven`t had the misfortune to live in Washington, as I
do, against being duped into giving their money and
their time to people like Ponnuru, and institutions like
National Review, that are trying to co-opt and
profit from the grassroots rage against immigration.
In reality, they have been
trying to suppress the issue for years.
him mail] is the founder
of the Robert A Taft
Club and the executive director of the
Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen
views he expresses are his own.