Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stumbling over the truth

One of my favorite quotes by Churchill goes like this: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”

I thought of that quote when I read the comments of GOP Chairman Michael Steele. He is going around promoting his new book and he says the Republican politicians “most glaringly compromised our principles."

Steele further says, “We must quickly learn our lessons, return to our principles and move on.”

Hear, hear! Well said!

But Alien Rants searched for Steele’s take on immigration reform. Sadly, it is a mishmash of doublespeak.

Back in November of 2007 Steele wrote an editorial piece in Townhall Magazine
“Let's be clear: the safety and security of Americans should not be subject to the whims of a "PC" mindset or feel good legislation. Americans are expecting thoughtful and responsible leadership that will not only clearly define the threats we face, but understand what they are in the first place.

Governor Spitzer's plan
(Driving Permits for illegal aliens) is not a cause for celebration by the left or by the right; it is just plain bad public policy. When grappling with the important issues, Americans want elected leadership to put aside partisan politics and just make the right decision. The non-partisan public outcry that has accompanied attempts by politicians to grant some form of amnesty to illegal immigrants supports this fact. The Spitzer plan is no different because for many of us, citizenship is a terrible thing to waste.”

That was Steele thinking like a voter, not a politician. But his later writings bear out the fact that he’s gone silent on amnesty, a dodge which means he’s gone over to the dark side.

He’s quick to say “secure the border,” but waffles badly when it comes to the amnesty question.

For example, he told Chris Wallace in February…

WALLACE: ... the Republicans, if you look at the last election, are a minority party.

Let's talk about how you reach out to some of the groups that may feel alienated from the Republican Party. In November, John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote. Four years ago, President Bush did 13 points better.

Does the GOP need to change its position on immigration reform, guest workers, path to citizenship, to reach out and say to Hispanics, "You have a home in the Republican Party?"

STEELE: No. Well, I think the GOP's position on immigration is very much the position of many, many Hispanics who are in this country.

WALLACE: Well, wait a minute.

STEELE: Well, hold up. Hold up.

WALLACE: Wait. Is the GOP position the position of George Bush and John McCain, which is for immigration reform, or...


WALLACE: ... or is it the position that was build the fence?

STEELE: The GOP's position is secure our borders first. Let us know and let us make sure the American people know that we've taken care of the important business of dealing with illegal immigration into this country.

You cannot begin to address the concerns of the people who are already here unless and until you have made certain that no more are coming in behind them.

WALLACE: So no change in the position of the party.

STEELE: No change in the position on the party on that.

And in October he told Jorge Ramos at Univision…
Jorge Ramos - Mr. Steele, lets talk a little bit about immigration, you've said that we need meaningful immigration reform. I want to find out exactly what you mean, what would you do for instance with the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are already here in the United States, what is your plan?

Michael Steele - Well, and that's a very good question and that becomes the jump up point for any discussion among others that we need to deal with. First, I think my first view of it is; I am sick and tired of people playing the hot politics of immigration. I am hoping the administration as we get ready to go into next year and future years bring the level head to it. I am certainly arguing for Republicans to have a level head in dealing with this issue, because it affects people's lives, weather they are here illegally or legally, it affects lives. So that is the first and foremost thing, we got to stay true to our character as a nation, we must recognize that. Number two, I think as I found with a lot of Hispanics, particularly those who have been her for several generations, they understand and respect the rule of law that is so important as a foundational principle of this country...I can sum it up for you this way, the party as I said is always the party, its been the party of assimilation and that is something that we believe in very firmly and basically what we should be saying is that there are rules that you need to get into the country, go the right door, fill out the right form, have some apple pie, hum a few bars of the star spangle banner and get to work, God bless you, and I think that that begins to set us on the right road to dealing with this issue.

And sometimes he claims to be taking the party line about it, hinting that McCain’s legalization position was about right.

Here he is in December of 2008, right after Obama won…
CNSNews.com: Did you support the comprehensive immigration reform proposed during the Bush administration?

Steele: Don’t even get me started on that one. This is a classic case of looking around to find that no one’s standing with you. The short answer is, no, I did not. The right answer, I think, the administration should have come up with was border security first. And let me give you an example. If you and I are in a boat in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, and the boat springs a leak, what’s the first thing we need to do? Stop the leak. Plug the hole. Now if we start trying to bail water out of the boat, or push it to one side of the boat, or effectively deal with the water in the boat, the boat’s still going to sink, because you haven’t addressed the core problem, which is you’ve got a hole in your boat. The same is true with immigration. The core problem is that you’ve got a hole in the fence. Plug the hole. Use technology, use manpower, use all the strategies that you need to secure the national borders of this country. And then we can talk about the 12 million people who are here illegally, what we’re going to do. I think America will be much more receptive to that conversation knowing that no more are coming in and that the hole has been closed. And then we can deal effectively with the water in the boat.

CNSNewsom: How do we deal with the 12 million who are here illegally?

Steele: Well, that’s something for the national debate. There are any number of ways that you have to deal with that. Do you want to create a pathway to citizenship? Are you talking amnesty? Ronald Reagan did amnesty. He did the first amnesty bill. A lot of people tend to forget that. In 1986, what was the problem? There was no effective strategy to deal with what? The hole in the fence. They kept coming. And 20 years later, what are we looking at? 12 million additional people, the hole has gotten bigger, and the problem hasn’t gone away. America’s response to amnesty was, ‘Not again, if you don’t fix the hole. If you don’t close down that border and make sure that no one else is getting over the fence, or under the fence, or through the fence.’ That’s what everyone sees as the problem. It’s not the individuals who are here, necessarily. It’s the ones who are still coming in, because our border is porous. Every other country protects its sovereignty, and no one cracks a peep. The United States rises up and says, ‘We too shall protect the sovereignty of this nation by protecting our borders,’ and everyone looks at us like we’re enemies of the state. Well, we’ll keep looking that way because we’re going to deal with this issue, and we’re going to effectively do what we need to do as Americans to make sure the integrity of this country, its internal integrity, is secure. And then we can talk about everything else. Everything else -- jobs, programs, employers -- all that stuff you can deal with much more effectively, because now you’re dealing with a smaller pool of folks because there are no more coming in.

What Steele doesn’t acknowledge is the most recent official GOP platform as written at the convention last year. It states: “We oppose amnesty. The rule of law suffers if government policies encourage or reward illegal activity. The American people’s rejection of en masse legalizations is especially appropriate given the federal government’s past failures to enforce the law.”

I agree that the GOP principles have been compromised. I agree with Steele’s examples like spending and global warming. But I cannot support the GOP or Michael Steele when they ignore the wishes of Republicans around the nation who agree with the official platform on the matter of strong opposition to legalizing millions of illegal aliens simply because they have survived here and not been deported yet.

Amnesty is a conservative litmus test and Steele has failed it.