“Redneckophobia”? Why Obama Is Attacking Arizona

The news that the Obama Administration has decided to challenge Arizona`s anti-illegal immigration SB1070 is one of those moments when you see that, inside the Beltway and for our entire bipartisan political class, it`s an upside-down, through-the-looking-glass, funny old world.

Quite regardless of the very debatable legal merits of the Administration`s attack on federalism (which admittedly will not matter once there are enough Commissar Kagans legislating from the bench), why would the Obama Administration want to challenge a law that all polls show is overwhelmingly popular with Americans in general—and Arizonans in particular—right before November`s elections? Couldn`t it at least have waited until after the elections?

Even the liberals at Atlantic Magazine are worried:

“After the initial round of polling showed majority support for the bill both in Arizona and in the rest of the U.S., the latest polling still corroborates. Today, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that Americans support Arizona`s law 58% to 41%. Quinnipiac found  51%-31% support for the new law among national respondents in late May. Also in May, CBS found that 52% of national respondents think Arizona`s law is “about right,” while 28% said it goes `too far` and 17% said it doesn`t go far enough. Democrats, even, supported it on the whole: 46% answered `about right,` while 40% said `too far` and 10% said `not far enough.` … [Emphasis in original—pb]

“While opinions on immigration are complex, it`s reasonable to wonder if the administration`s decision to sue Arizona will turn out to be an unpopular move. People support SB1070 by wide margins; it stands to reason that, even amid political pressure to do something in response to the new law, the Obama administration will end up taking heat for their attempt to counter it in court.”

Department of Justice Will Sue Arizona: An Unpopular Move?, by Chris Good, June 18, 2010

It`s possible, of course, that the Democrats are as innumerate and stupid as the GOP leadership and actually believe there`s a vast slumbering Hispanic vote out there. But it`s precisely because our Joe Guzzardi doesn`t think the Democrats are that stupid that he has been predicting since Obama`s election that they will not, in the end, try to push through an amnesty. And so far he`s been right.

Still, I`ve always felt uneasy about Joe`s confidence about amnesty. Maybe this attack on Arizona is a straw in the wind. Maybe Obama really is going to try to amnesty all those illegals a.k.a. undocumented Democrats, perhaps in the lame duck session.

Maybe he really believes Treason Lobby propaganda. After all, the GOP leadership does.

It`s all good, of course. The Obama Administration`s lawsuit will make hard for even the most craven Republican to avoid the immigration issue this November. And a grassroots backlash against amnesty like those that stopped the Bush betrayals would certainly mean a warm and wonderful winter for patriotic immigration reformers. To coin a phrase, bring it on.

Just recently, I`ve come across three other examples of the fantasy world in which our political class lives.

  • John Derbyshire on the “well-known conservative politician and commentator—one of the smarter ones, with a shelf full of books and countless TV appearances to his name”.

Derbyshire has described on Takimag.com his conversation with this creature in an off-the-record meeting held with several other journalists. Derbyshire was amazed to discover that the creature had apparently never even heard of any of the arguments against current legal immigration policy—Derbyshire specifically cited Harvard`s George Borjas, who is after all pretty well known.

Some years ago, I spoke at a conference put on by this creature`s PAC. I could see him glad-handing donors at the back of the room as we spoke. I guess he just wasn`t listening. In fact, I think he`s incapable of listening.

  • Jessica Weisberg, John Tanton, and me.

I blogged earlier this year after my phone interview with Weisberg (email her), saying that she “seems to be working on another version of the John-Tanton-is-the root-of all-evil meme” and that “long experience has taught me to have no particular hope of accuracy or even elementary fairness in articles resulting from this sort of interview”.

Well, Weisberg`s American Prospect article is now out. (Guilt by Association The most influential anti-immigration network in America tries to convert liberals to its cause, June 1, 2010) and of course I was right. It is all too obvious that she has simply never heard of the link between environmental degradation and immigrant-driven population growth, although it is elementary and axiomatic, and much of her article is devoted to silly Talmudic logic-chopping in an effort to evade this unthinkable idea.

Needless to say, I think Weisberg`s treatment of VDARE.COM is particularly telling. Her emphasis on Tanton is the usual smear-by-association aimed at discrediting Leah V. Durant, the black attorney who heads the DC-based Progressive For Immigration Reform group. And, similarly, when I told Weisberg that I have asked Leah to write for VDARE.COM (as I keep saying, we are a forum open to all critics of America`s immigration disaster regardless of their politics), it emerged from her ideological processor like this:

“When I asked Brimelow if he was surprised that Durant would be willing to write for him, he responded, `You mean why she`s comfortable writing for a group associated with the KKK?`”

Weisberg suppressed the rest of my reply: it`s because Leah Durant knows perfectly well that VDARE.COM is NOT associated with what has long been (if it exists at all) a welfare project for FBI undercover agents.

Of course, Weisberg knows this perfectly well too—if she had evidence of any association, she would have been trumpeting it. And she must also know that, thanks to the internet, I can easily rebut her coy, quote-doctoring effort to insinuate the contrary.

But she goes ahead and insinuates it anyway. She can`t help herself. She comes from a political culture that largely consists of paranoid fantasy and creating counter-fantasies is its reflexive response.

Not coincidentally, we`ve detected her namesake Jacob Weisberg, now editor of Slate, in several similar spasms, beginning with his 1995 attack on Alien Nation.

It mattered, in the days before the internet.

  • John Derbyshire (again), me (again) and Kejda Gjermani

Gjermani (contact her), who describes herself as “an Albanian expatriate of Jewish descent living in Manhattan”, recently posted a very conventional blog in Commentary Magazine, full of the usual paranoid nonsense about Arizona`s SB1070, incidentally revealing that she too (see Derbyshire, above) is completely ignorant of the now very extensive technical critique of the economics of current immigration policy. (Re: What Would Reagan Have Thought, June 15, 2010).

What was unusual about Gjermani`s blog was this ludicrous passage:

“Ironically, the nativists who complain thus about immigrants are often the very same ones (think John Derbyshire, think Peter Brimelow) who, in so many words, lament the impending collapse of Western Civilization due to the white man`s failure to breed as diligently as they think he should.”

This is a total fabrication. Neither Derbyshire nor I have ever complained, “in so many words” or otherwise, about “the white man`s failure to breed”.  Indeed, Derbyshire`s most recent book, We Are Doomed, explicitly advocates national power through robotics, not reproduction, and his own children, as even a casual glance at the internet will show, are half-Chinese.

Why would Gjermani make such a stupid, easily-exposed mistake? Again, I believe it goes back to the fantasy world inhabited by our political class (of which Gjermani, as an editor of Commentary, neocon Central, is a candidate member).  They believe there are “nativists“, dybbuks and golems out there, and that they know, probably by projection, what nativists etc. think. They don`t need evidence.

Gjermani objects to John McCain`s recent hilarious conscience-rupturing campaign ad featuring an Arizona sheriff who says McCain is “one of us”—”whatever that means”, she bristles.

It means “patriotic American”, of course. But this is a problem for Gjermani. Her website reveals that she hated her time as an exchange student in Nebraska because of what she herself admits is her “rampant redneckophobia”. She is much happier in Manhattan, and naturally wants to remake the U.S. in its image.

Our political class may live in a fantasy world, but the motive for its immigration enthusiasm is all too real: a relentless hatred of the historic American nation.

Peter Brimelow (email him) is editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster, (Random House – 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins – 2003)