“A struggle is underway for the soul of the Republican Party between a minority of protectionist xenophobes and those who are pro-trade and pro-immigration.”
Thus does Jack Kemp begin a column in which he jettisons the black conservative running for Congress in North Carolina whom he earlier endorsed. Kemp accuses Vernon Robinson of “running a very negative and aggressive anti-immigration campaign … contrary to the core values of the party of Lincoln.”
Jack is right about that struggle for the soul of the party. But why is it necessary to demonize disagreement? Webster’s defines xenophobia as “fear and hatred of strangers and foreigners.” What evidence is there that Vernon Robinson is not a man of good heart?
Jack cites George Washington as having “famously quipped in 1788, ‘I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.’”
But, as James Fulford of VDare.com notes, Washington was talking about a persecuted Dutch community that had supported the American Revolution. Few of the illegal aliens here were victims of persecution and not all are necessarily virtuous. Their only common characteristic is that all have broken our laws.
Can Jack seriously believe the Father of our Country would have approved of amnesty for 8-14 million illegal aliens and an immigration policy that will leave America in 2050 with 100,000,000 Hispanics concentrated in our Southwest, with scores of millions not speaking English and loyal to nations not our own?
Jack says illegals come for work, not welfare. Most do. But why, then, did Jack oppose California’s Prop. 187, which would have denied welfare benefits only to aliens here illegally? Why, as HUDmeister, did he hand out housing subsidies to illegal aliens?
Jack believes being pro-illegal is good politics. But Gov. Pete Wilson overcame a 20-point deficit to win re-election in 1994 by backing Prop. 187. Wilson was the last Republican to win major statewide office before Arnold, whose best issue, pollsters say, was opposition to Gray Davis’s handing out driver’s licenses to illegals. Even John Kerry now opposes driver’s licenses for illegals.
The Dole-Kemp ticket unfortunately lost first-time Hispanic voters to Clinton-Gore 91-7. And California, which Nixon carried five times on national tickets and Reagan swept four times, is now routinely written off by the GOP in presidential elections, partly due to the surging Hispanic vote.
Since Bush took office, his free-trade policies have produced a net loss of 2.6 million manufacturing jobs, one in every six in the USA. The textile and apparel industries in the Carolinas have been especially hard hit. These jobs have historically been the access ramp to the American Dream for blacks, Hispanics, single moms, and working poor. Is Vernon Robinson wrong to want to stop shipping these jobs off to China?
Our open-borders policy is forcing millions of our workers into a Darwinian competition for jobs with desperate immigrant folks willing to work for less than the minimum wage. Unlike Jack, these Americans are not often invited onto the boards of Empower America, the Heritage Foundation, G2 Satellite Solutions, SmartCOP, Oracle, Hawk Corporation, IDT Telecom, ING Americas, Thayer Capital, or Thomas Weisel Partners.
After naming all the big men he met with in Mexico recently, Jack thundered, “[T]he best way to stop mass migration from Mexico is not to militarize the border.” Did Jack ask his Mexican chums why they have militarized their border with Guatemala?
Before using derogatory terms like “reactionary” and “protectionist xenophobes,” Brother Kemp might read a little more deeply into American history than Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln.
The first act of Congress Washington proudly signed on July 4 was the Tariff Act of 1789. Abe (“Give us a protective tariff and we shall have the greatest country on earth”) Lincoln was not only the father of 70 years of Republican protectionism, he raised the Morrill tariff 12 times. And, sorry to report, Jack, the old Rail Splitter spoke openly and often about sending slaves back to Africa.
Teddy (“I thank God I am not a free trader”) Roosevelt called free trade a “pernicious doctrine.”
Jack twice refers to America as a “city on a shining hill,” Reagan’s signature phrase. But Reagan slammed import quotas on steel, machine tools, computer chips, and Japanese cars and motorcycles to save the Big Three and the Harley hog—which Reagan did, God bless him. And as the Gipper said in 1983, “This country has lost control of its borders. And no country can sustain that kind of position.” By the way, Jack, the phrase is “a shining city on a hill.”