Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Grey Lady Shows Her Age

Even in light of the this week's disastrous sale of The Boston Globe for a 93% loss and the fire sale of The Washington Post, The New York Times published an absurd op-ed on the Tea Party's path to irrelevance in which the author, James Traub, essentially calls the group anti-immigration (liberal code language for "racist") because it has the audacity to oppose the Senate's bipartisan "reform plan". This is sheer intellectual pretzel twisting at best and outright dishonesty at worst.

Traub equates the current Tea Party movement to the defunct Federalist movement in Jefferson's era which represented the traditional colonial power base in the East and New England and resisted southerly and westerly expansion because it would have diluted their base of power. Traub claims it was indicative of ignoring demographic realities and thus spelled their doom. The allusion is a painfully obvious one - Traub says the xenophobic Tea Partiers are ignoring today's demographic realities by opposing this reform plan, and they will become as irrelevant as the Federalists.

It is so convenient for liberal ideologues to lump every limited government initiative into this "Tea Party" basket because they can then be mocked with easy profanity, but the reality is that this movement is too amorphous and un-political-party-like to be compared to any party of the past. It is not nominating candidates and while some candidates - both successful and failed - have been slapped with that label because of the support that appears to be coming from that constituency, there isn't a single member of Congress or governor with "TP" (man, is that a terrible abbreviation) following their name. Unlike, say, Bernie Sanders, who has now eschewed Socialist for "independent".

The opposition to the Senate's bipartisan "reform plan" derives from the fact that it is poorly crafted
legislation that is loaded with exceptions, loopholes and defiance of current law. If the Senate really
wanted this to receive legitimate bipartisan support, it should have passed the Cornyn Amendment which would have made effective, measurable border security a precursor to any legalization. Arguably, law to better insure a secure border is already on the books, but its enforcement is thwarted by the President and his Attorney General. Why would Democrats oppose such an initiative?

The reform plan also contains the usual amount of pork we are used to see getting stuffed into appropriations bills, like Bernie Sanders' $1.5 billion youth jobs program, the creation of a new federal entity called The Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, special consideration for Alaskan fisheries. People who refer to themselves as identifying with the Tea Party are sick to death of limitless government giveaways, promises to end illegal immigration and commitments to secure the border. This has literally gone on for generations and pledges from Congress are vaporous - say one thing today and do something else entirely tomorrow.

It is disgusting to call this opposition "anti-immigration" because it has nothing whatever to do with opposing regulated, lawful entry of those who wish to live here. Unlike the Federalists, everybody's got strong roots in a wave of immigration that took place in generations past. Stop making this some
racist screed which inaccurately suggests that the Tea Party opposes an influx of Latinos or some other group that "doesn't look like us". We want people to be law abiding. And if the law needs to be
changed, then let it be changed in a way that actually improves the process - by first securing the border, policing the issuance and expiration of visas and determining the most equitable way of legalizing those who wish to remain here to become American citizens and assimilate while celebrating their own cultural heritage.

I fear that The New York Times did not publish this op-ed without tacit approval from the editors of
the editorial page. It reflects accurately the bias of opinion and newswriters on this paper, and it is
nearly impossible to conceive that an op-ed with an opposite view would be published. It is indicative of the fact that like the Globe and the Post, the Times has no idea that it is in the process of being subsumed and, like the Federalists who thought the sun rose and set in the northeast, Traub more
accurately reflects the looming irrelevance of the the Times, not the movement he mischaracterizes in his column.

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