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Slate: Rick Santorum's Diabolically Clever Anti-immigration Stance
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June 05, 2015, 10:49 PM
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From Slate:

The Conservative Attack on Big Business

How some Republican presidential candidates are running against the rich and powerful.

By William Saletan

… 2. Attack big business as a friend of immigrants. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is betting on this message. Here’s what he said last week as he kicked off his campaign:

In the late ’70s, like many of you, we saw the economic devastation … across this country, particularly in the area of manufacturing, as a result of the excesses and indifference of big labor, big government, and, yes, big business. Here in southwestern Pennsylvania, the epicenter, we lost over 100,000 jobs. … Afterwards, big government and big business told our workers that times had changed, [that] American workers could no longer compete with low foreign wages, and that those jobs were gone forever. …

Over the last 20 years, we’ve brought into this country, legally and illegally, 35 million mostly unskilled workers, and the result … [is that] workers’ wages and family incomes have flat-lined. Hillary and big business, they have called for a massive influx in unskilled labor. Business does it because they want to control costs. Hillary does it [because] she just wants votes. Their priorities are profits and power. My priority is you, the American worker.

Santorum’s message adds a twist to Perry’s. Big business is screwing the rest of us not just by using big government, but by teaming up with liberals who want to open the floodgates to foreign labor. The beauty of this message is that it combines class resentment with ethnic scapegoating. It’s a dog whistle that plays chords. And it outwits the Democratic attack on outsourcing. While liberals complain about jobs being shipped overseas, they’re doing something worse: They’re shipping foreigners into our country, to take our jobs and drown out our votes.

You have to salute Santorum for this brilliant synthesis of manufacturing policy, class struggle, trade, border security, and voter ID. And all the while, he preserves his innocence by mentioning that he’s the son of immigrants. When you come in and shut the door behind you, that’s not prejudice. It’s just practicality.

Saletan is playing a game on multiple levels here. He seems to be denouncing the Usual Suspects for their evil bigotry of targeting the poor huddled masses for their Hate … except he’s also getting Santorum’s message across while acting like he’s appalled by it.

Like I’ve been saying, centrist-liberal Jewish pundits (such as Saletan) who have healthy feelings of ethnocentrism and are not wholly immune to common sense are a key potential swing bloc. They are starting to fret that their whole Immigration and Diversity Uber Alles tradition is reaching diminishing marginal returns and is now headed toward being not just bad for the Jews, but eventually Charlie Hebdo-level badness for the Jews.

And they, more than anybody, have their fingers on the frame of the Overton Window.

The Overton Window shifted slightly but perceptibly this week regarding the sanctity of H-1B visas. From the NYT:

Disney Layoffs and Immigrant Replacements Draw Deluge of Comments By LELA MOORE JUNE 5, 2015 1:47 PM June 5, 2015

An article in The Times, about American employees of Disney who said they lost their jobs to immigrants from an Indian outsourcing firm and had to train their replacements attracted a torrent of online reaction. The singer and actress Bette Midler reposted the article on Twitter and exhorted her followers, “But be sure to read the comments. Whew.”

Readers posted nearly 2,800 comments in response to the article, many expressing deep suspicion of the H-1B visa program, which aims to place immigrants in high-skill jobs that cannot be filled by Americans.

Of course, in reality, the H-1B program is supposed to be for “high-skill jobs that cannot be filled by Americans,” but usually isn’t, while the H-1B program isn’t supposed to be for “immigrants,” but usually is.

But such subtleties can wait: the important thing is that suddenly you are allowed to point out that H-1B is a billionaire’s scam without being denounced as an obvious anti-Semite who would have kept out the huddled masses of Ellis Island.