Friday, June 08, 2007

The President's Blind Spot

The Blind Spot Mirror -- German technology that hasn't yet reached the U.S.

STILL ALWAYS RIGHT. The other day, I posed the question of why uniformly pusillanimous Republican senators are suddenly locked in testosterone hyper-drive to ensure another decade of uncontrolled Mexican immigration. My suspicion is that some powerful lobby -- consisting at least in part of huge, privately owned agricultural conglomerates like Cargill -- is offering incentives that far outweigh the risks of political suicide such senators are unquestionably running. The alternative explanations are even more depressing: 1) that the stupidity of Republican bigwigs is so borderline retarded that they imagine themselves earning "Party of Lincoln" loyalty from hispanics by leading millions of illiterate freeloaders to the bottomless trough of federal government largesse; or 2) that they have lived so high on the hog for so long that the only experience they have of Mexican immigration is access to a servant class they can't stand the thought of living without:  a cheap and limitless supply of nannies, gardeners, chauffeurs, mechanics, and saucy upstairs maids.

Truthfully, it's not hard to imagine that John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Michael Chertoff, and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal haven't ever witnessed the transformation of their own particular Main Street into Tijuana North (except that the thugs and idlers all have more money). And it's correspondingly easy to see how they could look down on it all from a great height -- say, from the seaside bluff of the local yacht club -- and see the whole issue in terms of units of labor and dollars-per-erg.

But President Bush is another matter. He doesn't seem to care much for yacht clubs. He long ago spurned Connecticut and Kennebunkport for East-Jesusville, Texas, where he clears his own brush for heaven's sake. He has absolutely no need to pile up chips for future political gambits. He doesn't need money. And yet. And yet this man, whose greatest single fault has been a gross excess of loyalty to subordinates who have consistently failed him, is so committed to perpetuating the endless flood of illegal immigration from Mexico that he trashed his own most loyal supporters in ways he has never trashed the most vicious of his political enemies on the left. Outraged adherents are screaming, and he doesn't even acknowledge them.

What's up with that? It certainly isn't rational. It is, in fact, a kind of monomania, a blind spot of prodigious proportions. Odd?

Not as odd as all the conservative outrage about his stance on this immigration bill. Because that represents another blind spot: Ours. As with many other decisions and actions that have provoked furious surprise in his opponents, Bush has been honest if not terribly communicative about this aspect of  his persona. Consider the facts.

He was friendly with Vicente Fox long before he became President of the United States. One of his first innovations as president was to deliver the Saturday radio address in Spanish as well as English. His brother served as governor of the other great hispanic stronghold  in America, Florida. That brother has an hispanic wife, which means that our President's nieces and nephews are half-hispanic. And George himself is an adopted son of Texas, which was born of Mexico and has always regarded itself as a semi-independent state, with good reason; the Texas Constitution is the only state constitution that explicitly allows for the possibility of a return to independence.

And there, if you care, is the center of the blind spot. Regardless of his geographical lineage, George W. Bush is a Texan first, even before he is an American. The Spanish language and the Mexican people are part of the lifeblood that nourished the place he calls home -- and they have become part of the lifeblood of his family.

If we overlooked this, or forgot it, or misunderstood it, we have only ourselves to blame. He was always forthright about his desire to include hispanic culture in his own vision of the future of America.

But we are also entitled to see that this is his blind spot. We do not have to accept his policies in this matter for reasons of national loyalty, presidential loyalty, party loyalty, or any other kind of loyalty. We are free to say, if we so choose, that on this particular topic the President of the United States is as nutty as a fruitcake. We are free to say that when it comes to Mexicans, because of his blind spot, George Bush is more Texas patriot than American patriot.

I do say that. I think every other conservative, including those who are presently serving his administration (Tony Snow?!) should also say that.

We all have blind spots. They're especially dangerous in presidents. That's why they have to be called out. And that's why we have to be particularly on guard against those who serve as accomplices in concealing those blind spots from us, whatever their motives may be.

NOW: All you conservative brainiacs! Quit bashing Bush, which won't do a damned thing to help, and start investigating the reasons for the far more disgraceful behavior of McCain, Graham, and company in the travesty we have just been subjected  to.

All your fulminations against Bush on this point are bullshit distractions from the real story you aren't covering.

Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it.

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