There are times when members of the elite do things we could not pay them to do. They have a very public moment of insufferable arrogance. When we can, we should take note of such moments, and we should point them out to our children. Such moments remind us thoroughly of the need for a diligent, informed, and responsible citizenry.
David Broder is nationally syndicated columnist, a respected member of The Fourth Estate and a friend and confidant of the people who rule us. Any halfway informed political junky knows his name and has read his columns. Here Broder bewails the failure of the elite to stand up to the mob. That’s you and me.
Let a reporter who is not running for anything suggest that exactly the opposite may be true: A particularly virulent strain of populism has made official Washington altogether too responsive to public opinion.
From Aristotle to Edmund Burke, philosophers have written of the healthy tension that normally exists between the understanding and strategies of leaders and the sentiments and opinions of their people.
In today’s Washington, a badly weakened president and a dangerously compliant congressional leadership are no match for the power of public opinion — magnified and sometimes exaggerated by modern communications and interest group pressure.
The latest cave-ins involve immigration and trade policy, and both seriously threaten the national interest.
What Broder is opining is the failure of the Senate’s Immigration Reform Bill and the president’s loss (via Congressional inaction) of his authority to negotiate trade deals. Broder liked the immigration bill and free trade; the majority of the elite liked the immigration bill and trade deals. However, the public hated the immigration (amnesty) bill, and much of the public is anxious about our trade relationships. Our country is being flooded with illegal immigrants and cheap goods from overseas. Both these things have undesirable consequences for the average person.
The Senate’s Immigration Bill
In a latter column (here), Broder continued to complain.
Hours after the immigration reform bill he had championed went down to defeat, Sen. John McCain told me what he thought would happen next. “You will see the states and cities scrambling to pass their own laws and regulations,” he said, “and you’re going to get a completely contradictory set of policies.”
Broder cites Arizona’s stiff new laws against illegal immigrants as an example of what the Senate’s Immigration Reform bill should have stopped. Undoubtedly, Broder would also thoroughly detest what our own local Gainesville Supervisor, John Stirrup, is trying to do (see here). Certainly, that is the message of this Washington Post column (here).
The effects of Mr. Stirrup’s proposal are apt to be poisonous. Does he really think that denying thousands of illegal immigrant children the right to attend school — which the Supreme Court has granted them — would contribute to social harmony? More likely, it would put a lot of youths on the street with little to do but make trouble. If police become immigration agents, immigrants will be leery of providing information and cooperating as witnesses to crimes, as police have said. If health clinics deny care to illegal immigrants or scare them off by asking about their status, that will make them only more likely to end up as uninsured, non-paying visitors to a hospital emergency room.
In truth, however, what John Stirrup is trying to do is absurdly weak. When elite snobs insist upon an “illegal” underpaid underclass, who is creating the problem, John Stirrup? Nonsense!
Because we don’t have a decent way of IDing people, we have a hard time making sure people have the right to vote, much less making certain they only vote once. That’s idiotic. We have the technology, but our Federal and state governments refuse to use it. So Prince William County is giving away a free education, health services, and who knows what else to people who are underpaid by unscrupulous employers.
We have borders for a reason. America is our land. Our government is suppose to protect our country for us. We don’t need uninvited guests mooching off “free” public services. These uninvited guests need to be punished and sent home. The employers who illegally hire illegal immigrants need to fined, jailed for repeated offenses, and not allowed to write off the wages they pay illegal employees as expenses. If it takes a hodge podge of local and state laws to send a message to elite snobs, so be it.
Authority to Negotiate Trade Agreements
President George W. Bush undermined his popularity by supporting horribly unpopular immigration legislation. Blaming “mob-rule” for such arrogant incompetence is just plain stupid. What idiot would send somebody they don’t trust out to other nations to negotiate trade deals?