"Nobody believes them. It goes to the bigger issue of the lack of credibility our government has these days"
- Fred Thompson, about the proposed Immigration Reform bill under debate and attack
For the past few days, I have addressed weak spots and gaping holes in the various plans to address the problem of illegals in the United States. The response has been contentious, and more than a few people have proven themselves unwilling to do anything more than spew venom and insults. Even among those who claim to be experts in this area. Several people have challenged me to announce my own plan, which sounds fair enough, except that most of those wouldn’t give it attention except to attack it and target their present phobias and malice upon it.
I also held off presenting my ideas for three additional reasons. First, I wanted the readers to note that many of the Blogosphere’s leading figureheads are not presenting any substantive ideas. They’re quick to condemn others and to attack anything someone tries to do, but they are not doing much to try to solve the problem, and therefore they become part of the problem. The Democrats and Liberals have tossed out a lot of garbage, but it’s too easy for me as a Republican to just focus on why Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have neither the inclination nor the mental acuity to present a cogent plan, to say nothing of the wisdom needed to plan for the long term and the nation’s welfare. It is necessary and appropriate to sometimes rebuke the self-anointed “leaders” of the Conservative Movement, who collect lots of money and attention but do not feel that they should be answerable for their decisions and positions. The second reason, was that I wanted readers to realize how much of this depends on recognizing the complexity of the problem and the crucial need for each of us to participate in our own interest. The third reason, was that when one seriously thinks through the problem, one inevitably comes to the hard conclusion that the real solution is not the specific plan to address this issue, so much as it is that we as Conservatives have lost what we once were, and we need to reform – once again – for the good of the nation.
Not so long ago, Democrats were soiling their pants on a daily basis. America had acted unilaterally, and worse – successfully – in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our enemies fled before us, and from National Security to Tax Cuts to Supreme Court picks it seemed that Common Sense had returned home and taken up residence, even in D.C. to a degree. This was very good for Dubya and the Right, and awfully scary for the Left and the Wrong. But suddenly it was gone, and the Donkey Kong took over Congress and the Old Media sneered in its renewed influence.
Where did those days go?
The corruption of a few, the indolence of many others, and the self-serving routine of almost everyone else in the GOP is what happened. In a matter of months almost too fast to believe, the ‘Party of Lincoln’ devolved into egos and petty feuds. An unpopular pick for the Supreme Court was hounded mercilessly, rather than let her have the hearings which the GOP once said were the minimum reasonable standard. A trusted ally was insulted and told – in effect – that the United States would rather have Communist China in charge of our ports than them, simply because they are Arab. Our strongest voice for sanity in the United Nations was deserted by our Senators because the Left didn’t like him. And promising initiatives to reform Social Security, pursue Tort Reform, and yes, to set comprehensive, effective, and consistent laws and metrics on sealing the borders and stopping the flood of illegals entering the United States, were all ignored because the politicians did not see personal gains for tackling them. We had chances, many of them, but the Republicans did not want to do the hard work when they had the majority, so it seems more than slightly naïve to imagine that being in the minority will make things better, especially given the way most Republicans have acted since the 2006 elections. Yeah, elections have consequences, and the 2006 elections seem to have turned most Republicans into spineless narcissists. I mean, besides those who were already that way.
Fixing the Illegal Migration and Border Security problems is not really that hard, fortunately. All it really takes is the will to get the current laws enforced, put up the means to physically enforce the law, like a good fence and document sweeps at businesses, and after some consideration, pass laws to cover the grey areas and what was missed before. But what that will require is the willpower, the party discipline, to make a plan and have everyone support it. To understand that getting some of what you need now and some later, is much better than all-now-or-nothing. That’s why I kept poking at the suggestions made, because while some were good and some were poor, none of them has a prayer of happening unless the Conservatives realize they have to support the Republican Party, and Republicans realize that they have to stand together. The good news is, that the specific actions which will make it possible to seal the borders and reform Immigration, will also make it possible to tend to the other needs of the nation.
So, here are my specifics:
First off, we have retake Congress. There is no chance, whatsoever, that a Congress under the thumb of the Democrats will ever address the key issues with an attendant sense of responsibility or accountability. To that end, even a RINO is more desirable than a Democrat who sounds reasonable but votes along party lines. Obviously, the more conservative the better, but the first critical action is to seek out and support Republicans. All Republicans.
The second step is just as hard, will take just as long, but is just as important. The original Republicans banded together on one key issue – abolishing Slavery – and never yielded on that point. The new Republicans will also have to decide where their home turf is. I had believed that turf would be National Security, but if it is, then anything and everything – including Immigration Reform – comes after that, and cannot be allowed to break ranks. That does not mean that Republicans should not have a party platform on secondary issues, but we must agree to stand together as a party in order to advance the main issue, even when we disagree on other important decisions. I know that some people want to call dealing with the Illegals a National Security issue, but diluting our position with regard to our response to Terrorism has allowed the Left to call for a retreat from Iraq. If that happens, they will next want to quit Afghanistan and anywhere else that our Democracy is incompatible with the Left. The defense of the nation must not fail, no matter what else it costs.
The third step is to remember that the GOP is the party of ideas and open discussion. No, not all ideas are equally valid or good, but the GOP has always allowed for a range of opinion and even dissent. Slamming alternative proposals by other Republicans goes against the spirit of decades of Conservative and GOP ideals, but this repression of simple conversation is an appalling practice which must end now. Bloggers may certainly prefer one program or proposal over others, but I personally find it obscene how often leading figureheads will deliberately misrepresent alternatives in order to avoid a serious debate. Let’s leave that to the Democrats.