Designed to offend
Posted by aogThursday, 05 July 2007 at 10:09 TrackBack Ping URL

What strikes me most about the entire immigration “reform” episode is how its proponents, particularly President Bush, seemed to have carefully followed a check list of ways to generate opposition and outrage.

  • Worked with Senator Ted Kennedy as a not just a co-sponsor but a collaborator.
  • Collaborating on the bill with radical, racist organizations.
  • Immediately branding any opposition to this legislation in specifc as “racist”.
  • Accuse opponents of having cynical motives then laud the legislation as a way to get more votes in future elections.
  • Support the legislation via the previous two mechanisms rather than arguing on the merits.
  • Rushing such a major piece of legislation through as fast as possible.
  • Going to some effort to avoid any input from conservative Senators.
  • Making an effort to prevent Senators from even reading the legislation before voting on it.
  • Arrogantly ignore the deep unpopularity of the legislation.

I can’t think of anything else significant that could have been done to more thoroughly enrage and condescend to the electorate. It continues to be a mystery why the proponents thought this approach would be a successful one. My theory is that the proponents knew from the start that this was a badly written, seriously flawed, ineffective mass of incoherent legislation. That is precisely why they took this approach, because they knew they would lose any substantive debate. I.e., the classic “if you don’t have the facts, pound on the table” style of debate. In retrospect, it is clear that despite the failure, this was the right choice, because the more people knew about the legislation, the less they liked it. A rush without judgment and the support of dubious allies was the only way.

This, however, leaves a bigger mystery. Why? What was the motivation for pushing legislation even its backers knew was bogus? Why risk careers, Presidential aspirations, etc., in support of legislation one doesn’t even understand? I suspect the dynamics of one of those doomsday cults, where everyone becomes convinced of things any normal person would laugh at because the cultists are living in an insular bubble of mindless repetition.

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