Our Man at Slate?

Mickey Kaus
might be the best of the bloggers … and
he`s increasingly outspoken on the side of immigration

In case you aren`t up on the latest neologisms, "blog"
is short for "web-log," which is a sort of polemical
diary published on the Web. They`ve been around in one
form or another for several years, but took off in 2001.
A combination of

new technology
and the recession, which left a lot
of guys with time on their hands, has made
do-it-yourself opinionating into a national fad.

Unfortunately, many bloggers suffer from two
contradictory idée fixes. As libertarians, they
want a big tax cut to shrink the size of the inherently
evil U.S. government. And, as imperialists, they want a
vast increase in military spending so the inherently
moral U.S. government can conquer and subjugate various
scoundrels such as the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the
Saudis, the Pakistanis, the Egyptians, the French, the
Swedes, the Environmentalists, and the Democrats. (See
James Taranto`s so-called

"Best of the Web"
blog at

, the free web mouthpiece of the
Wall Street Journal`s Editorial Page.

In contrast, Mickey, a veteran professional journalist
who started his


blog a couple of years ago, is eminently non-hysterical
and non-hate-filled. He`s even non-partisan. In October
of 2000, he wrote 10 consecutive columns trying to
reason out whether to vote Bush or Gore. But this
doesn`t mean he`s non-fun. He`s witty, surprising,
entertaining, and logical.

A few weeks back, the Microsoft-financed neo-liberal

made a wise decision by taking
KausFiles in-house. So Kaus now appears daily in

This is important because Mickey`s become quite an
immigration realist recently. Previously, Slate
almost never mentioned the topic. Former editor Michael
Kinsley`s only 2002 contribution to the national debate
was to label concern over immigration an example of "social

Here are some of Mickey`s best:

August 19, 2001

"Dana Milbank`s

WaPo story on immigration liberalization
— like
many on the topic — has a bizarre, shadow-boxing
. We`re told that President Bush is pulling
back from pushing dramatic changes, including broad
amnesty, due to "legislative reality" and "`a system
with a lot of resistance.`" There`s "not a consensus for
rapid action in Congress," Milbank reports. … Who, or
what, exactly, is putting up this powerful, hidden
resistance? Finally, in the 22d paragraph, we learn that
a "large number of Republicans oppose any immigration
liberalization." OK. But why? Couldn`t Milbank have
found one liberalization opponent
willing to speak,
for attribution or not, about what`s bad about the idea?
Or even about the politics of the idea? … Perhaps
liberalization opponents are lying low. (Even Phil Gramm?)
But then Milbank should tell us that they`re lying low.
The impression he leaves is that reform is opposed by
some sullen, unreasoning troglodyte bloc, possibly
nativist or racist,
whose thinking, like that of
segregationists in the 1960s, is not worth exploring —
when in fact there are sound policy reasons to oppose at
least some sweeping liberalizations (see items below).
… Meanwhile, Milbank`s piece is filled entirely with
quotes from members of the mysteriously-embattled
pro-liberalization forces
. In order of appearance:
Rep. Chris Cannon, Rich Bond, Charles Kamaski (an
official of Council of La Raza), Gabriela Lemus (an
official of the League of United Latin American
Citizens), Rep. Howard Berman, Rep. John Conyers, Sen.
Ted Kennedy. … Milbank seems to believe that
because he quotes pro-liberalization conservatives and
pro-liberalization liberals
he`s achieved some sort
of balance. … I`m allergic to pieces like this because
(like so much else) they remind me of the welfare
debate, in which opponents of expanded benefits were for
decades routinely portrayed as a reactionary, possibly
racist, majority — a majority that turns out to have
been largely correct in its judgment. … (8/19)"

August 22, 2001

"More on amnesty and dual citizenship:
John Fonte

makes some good points about dual citizenship
Whether or not dual citizenship is a dangerous trend
(there`s a debate

[this is a link to a VDARE.com article])
it`s clearly something new. The old model of
assimilation doesn`t quite apply. … For instance,
Frank del Olmo of the LAT

doesn`t like Bush`s amnesty
idea, or at any rate
abandons the idea in the face of the
don`t-reward-lawbreakers arguments
of its opponents.
Del Olmo thinks the citizenship issue isn`t that
important anyway — before the 1990s, many Mexicans
preferred a "circular migration"
in which they
worked here, kept up contacts in Mexico and eventually
returned there after "building a nest egg." Del Olmo
argues this circular pattern "might well resume" under
an expanded guest worker program. But why wouldn`t
Mexicans want to become U.S. citizens since they can
now retain their Mexican citizenship
as well? What
do they have to lose? … (8/22)"

March 21, 2002

"But on immigration, the

[Wall Street] Journal`s editorialists … must know
that their open-border positions are wildly unpopular,
especially with heartland Reaganites. …"

"If there were 20 million people living in the Southwest
who also were Mexican citizens and who voted in both
Mexico and the U.S.
, would they ever consider voting
to rejoin their mother country? Gee, would Quebec be
secessionist if France were next door? … Fonte quotes
a Mexican cabinet minister, Juan Hernandez, seemingly
committing a Kinsleyan gaffe by saying what he really
means — that he`s "betting" Mexican-Americans will
"think Mexico first." … (3/21)"

June 3,2002

"The Curse of Federalism:

Isn`t there something odd about

complaints from conservatives
Grover Norquist and
David Keene that a DOJ proposal allowing "state and
local law enforcement agencies to track down illegal
immigrants  … would set a dangerous precedent by
empowering local jurisdictions to enforce many federal
laws." Isn`t federal law, like, the law?
Aren`t state and local officials obligated to enforce
it, just as they`re obligated to enforce the
Constitution? … Local police apparently complain that
requiring them to actually enforce these laws "would
jeopardize their relations with immigrants" — and, say
Norquist and Keene, "mechanisms already exist to foster
federal-local cooperation in this area." But if they
were effective mechanisms (e.g. state officials calling
in the feds) then they would already have jeopardized
relations with immigrants, no? The reason relations
aren`t jeopardized is that the "mechanisms" are

.. More damningly, the


makes it clear that even at this late date the
"White House aides" (read, presumably, Karl Rove) are
still worried "that the proposal could lead to racial
profiling and lawsuits … and alienate Hispanic
… Note to unnamed White House aides:
If you don`t pay attention to

Ann Coulter

Peggy Noonan
, maybe

Nicholas Kristof
is more to your liking … Even

Maureen Dowd
is (somewhat

) arguing that the FBI is too "timid
about racial profiling." … P.S.:
We`ll know President Bush really thinks there`s a "war"
on not when he gives a stern speech at West Point but
when he`s willing to risk Rove`s Great Hispanic

June  5, 2002

"[Josh Marshall] also

notes another way
in which the Bush
administration`s Hispanic Suck-Up derailed a promising
anti-terror strategy
— by blocking an
effective computer program for tracking foreign students
within the U.S. (The program was originally blocked
during the Clinton administration but Bush kept it
blocked — and is

still blocking it,

while his INS rushes out a new program that`s inferior,
and thus more acceptable to the "immigration

Kaus doesn`t subscribe to Kinsley`s notion that the only
clever response to immigration is elegant ennui. Of
course, Kaus is not our man at Slate – we don`t
want to get him fired – but this could get

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website

features his daily

July 10, 2002