Shock And Awe: The Moral Arrogance Of George W. Bush

In the late 1980s, George W. Bush and I got our initiations into the crazy world of U.S. immigration policy.

Little did we suspect where it would take us.

Bush cut his teeth in 1989 when he became the managing general manager of the Texas Rangers. I had a one-year head start by signing on in 1988 at the Lodi Adult School to teach English as a second language.

This is a curious coincidence because in our previous jobs—Bush an oil potentate and me an investment banker— neither of us cared a fig about immigration.

But in the intervening years we both have become obsessed—albeit from different perspectives—with immigration.

Bush saw immigration's glamorous side. His Ranger superstars were Cuba's Rafael Palmeiro and the Dominican Republic's Julio Franco and Sammy Sosa. They became multimillionaires who were cheered on the field and admired off it.

Who knows? Maybe hobnobbing with All-Stars turned Bush into a mass immigration cheerleader. 

While Bush checked the baseball standings and statistics, my task was quite different. My English students were—and still are—poor, uneducated and only marginally employable.

For fifteen years, I have written columns urging reason in immigration policy. But all appeals to reason have been repeatedly rebuffed by open-borders lobbyists (and now Republican and Democratic presidential candidates) who present the same tedious platitudes—that illegal immigrants are net contributors to the tax base, that they have revitalized our country and, my personal favorite, that they are responsible for the lettuce in my salad.

In reality, these painfully predictable comments are half-truths or outright lies.

So I was not surprised then when Bush in his treasonous January 7 speech, [ Read The Transcript; View; Listen]  tried unsuccessfully to smooth talk the American people by quoting liberally from the usual parade of immigration of platitudes.

Said Bush:

  • "They bring to America the values of faith in God, love of family, hard work and self reliance."  (Illegal aliens from Mexico comprise approximately 25% of California's inmate population. And if we can't catch and prosecute them, murders illegally in the US flee to Mexico for safe haven. Thousands are right now living free lives in Mexico with the tacit blessing of Bush's best buddy Vicente Fox.)

  • "Some of the jobs being generated in America's growing economy are jobs American citizens are not filling." (The American economy has lost 3.5 million jobs since Bush took office. Many are not quite ready to accept $10.00 to hang sheetrock.)

  •  "Workers who seek only to earn a living end up in the shadows of American life—fearful, often abused and exploited." (Dozens of my unemployed students recently marched in broad daylight in downtown Lodi—fearlessly and in complete confidence— demanding driver's licenses.)

Listening to Bush, I finally got the sense of "shock and awe" he was pushing so hard just a few months ago. I was "shocked" at how idiotic and anti-American his proposal is. I was "in awe" of his recklessness.

Here's a brief profile of three students who have recently enrolled in my class:

  • Maria, illegally in the US from El Salvador, landed an $8.50 an hour as a cashier at Denny's. As a part-time employee working from 11AM-4PM, she doesn't collect benefits.

  • Khalid, a legal immigrant from Pakistan, works the swing shift full time at a local food processing plant. He earns $9.25, low for factory work, but has benefits and paid vacation.

  • Azbia NLN, legally in the US from Pakistan, speaks no English and has no apparent jobs skills. She, and other members of her family who sponsored her, collect welfare. Only 20, Azbia will be on the dole for some time. By the way, "NLN" stands for "No Last Name" and is now the name she will officially be known by.

Maria and Khalid's jobs would be great for college students trying to defray tuition costs or for a single Mom struggling to make ends meet. These are clearly not "jobs Americans won't do"—even at the depressed wages my students are receiving.

Attention President Bush: there are already too many legal and illegal immigrants taking American jobs.

Ironically, under Bush's proposal those very aliens might be at risk if, for example, Denny's filed a claim stating that it needs cashiers…at $7.00. 

To try to understand Bush's amnesty nightmare is exhausting. Even a bit player like Arizona Republican Congressman Jeff Flake cannot even open his mouth without showing what a fool he is.

In an interview with New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller for her January 7 story titled "Bush Would Give Illegal Workers Broad New Rights," Flake, a co-author of legislation similarly proposing guest workers said:

"We've maintained all along that you have to deal with both sides of the issue…"

Think Flake means the U.S. interests as well as Mexico's? You haven't caught on yet!

For Flake continued:

"…those who want to come to the country and those who are here now."

In other words, what concerns Flake is Mexicans here and Mexicans there—not US citizens!

Here's the real tragedy: Bush's plan is not about courting Hispanic voters. On January 6th, the day before amnesty announcement, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider told Lou Dobbs that Bush would beat Howard Dean—the likely Democratic nominee—in a "blowout" by 20 points.

If that conventional wisdom holds up, why would Bush need an increase in his share of the Hispanic vote?

And I believe it is not totally about the New World Order either even though Bush is happy to sell America out for pennies on the dollar.

The problem—insurmountable—is how Bush sees himself.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist and author of the newly-released book about the Bushes, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, accused Bush of "moral arrogance and backstage disregard of the democratic and republican traditions of U.S. government." [The House of Bush, January 5, 2004]

Accordingly, Phillips told reporter Eric Bates, "deceit and disinformation have become Bush political hallmarks."

And Phillips added that Bush gives the sense of "not having to pay attention to democratic values."

The Phillips/Bates interview took place before Bush's amnesty announcement. But Bush's speech confirmed all of Phillips' charges: moral arrogance, deceit, disinformation and disregard for the democratic process.

I believe that Bush's cozy deal with Fox represents the last straw for many fed-up Americans.

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, Bush is riding high in January—but will he be shot down electorally in November?

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.