Topinkas People Act Like Joe Birkett is the Leader of Social Conservatives (Hes Not) Lynn Sweet Gives In-Depth Analysis of the 6th Publishers Feminist Wife Orders Blagojevich to Kill Old Resolution Banning Abortion.
David Brooks is easily the most impressive Op Ed columnist in The New York Times. Every so often he writes a stunning commentary far different than from youd expect in that newspaper (or from him). For one thing, he comes across as pretty socially conservative. Thursday he put out statistics on immigration that probably came from Sen. Sam Brownbackstatistics which, if correct and disseminated properly enough, could send social conservatives returning to the Bush fold. Right now theyre divided on immigration: some want the toughest legislation possible; others, pro-business, favor the McCain-Kennedy version which requires fine paying, English-learning; still others, the draconian types, wanting deportion. Brooks, not immediately classifiable as conservative or liberal (although he comes from the neo-Conservative Weekly Standard argues what I take to be the Brownback case:
1. The exclusions are wrong when they say the current wave of immigration is tearing our social fabric. The facts show the recent rise in immigration hasnt been accompanied by social breakdown but social repair. As immigration has surged, violent crime has fallen by 57 percent. Teen pregnancies and abortion rates have declined by a third. Teenagers are having fewer sexual partners and losing their virginity later. Teen suicide rates have dropped. The divorce rate for young people is way down(Italics mine).
2. My second argument is that the immigrants themselves are like a booster-shot of traditional morality injected into the body politic. Immigrants work hard. They build community groups. They have traditional ideas about family structure and they work heroically to make them a reality.
3. My third argument is that good values lead to success and that immigrants long-term contributions more than compensate for the short-term strains they cause. Theres no denying the strains immigration imposes on schools, hospitals and wage levels in some markets (but economists are sharply divided on this).
4. My fourth argument is that government should be at least as virtuous as the immigrants themselves. Right now (as under Bill Frists legislation) government pushes immigrants into a chaotic underground world. The Judiciary Committees bill which Sen. Brownback supports, would tighten the borders but it would also reward virtue. Immigrants who worked hard, paid fines, paid their taxes, stayed out of trouble and waited their turn would have a chance to become citizens.
Brooks concludes: Social conservatives, let me ask you to consider one final thing. Women who have recently arrived from Mexico have bigger, healthier babies than more affluent, non-Hispanic white natives. Thats because strong family and social networks support these pregnant women, reminding them what to eat and do. But the longer they stay, and the more assimilated they become, the more bad habits they acquire and the more problems their subsequent babies have. Please ask yourself this: As we contemplate Americas moral fiber, do the real threats come from immigrants or are some people merely blaming them for sins that are already here? (Italics mine).
This Brownback-Brooks tenet is insuperably more reasonable than the ill-tempered lets crack down on those illegals as reflected in the Sensenbrenner legislation, I think. If the statistics can be justified, thats the way I think Ill go. Your comments?
The word is out that Topinkas people are making overtures to social conservatives, asking separate groups what it would take to get them involved in the campaign. When one downstate group suggested a position (not contradictory to Topinkas message but called for some personnel change) the rejoineder was, whatare you saying you want to run the government? No, said the conservatives, but you asked what we would like. The response was that Joe Birkett should be enough. The social conservatives said, Listen, get this straight. Joe Birkett is not Mr. Social Conservative. He never was. Hes been pretty conservative but no one, neither us nor so far as we know Birkett, has claimed hes the leader. The phone conversation terminated quickly. The downstate people on the other line are saying its not impossible they could back Meeks. But what about Meeks tax hike? They say, listenodds are that Blagojevich will raise taxes after election or that Topinka will, blaming it on the Democrats. Were thinking about Meeks. With one vote wed screw Blagojevich and Topinka both. Not bad for one days work. (Election Day)
The Sun-Times Lynn Sweet, easily the most analytic and perceptive of this eras political columnists, gave us a revealing look at the troubles besetting the Democratic party in the 6th districts congressional race. She astutely points out that the GOP is using Rep. Rahm Emanuel as the bad guy in the district, hoping to fan anti-Tammy Duckworth flames within the Christine Cegalis candidacy. Emanuel, the pushy ex-ballet dancer, is the pencil-thin, ambition-salivating Sammy Glick of politics (based on the character from the novel by Budd Schulberg, What Makes Sammy Run?). Emanuel is the hyper-thyroid ex-Daley operative, chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, who is an idealist in politics despite having risen above principle to utilize city patronage workers in his election campaign. After Cegalis held veteran GOP legend Henry Hyde to a tepid lead in the election of 2004, Emanuel, an upstart who makes Horatio Alger seem under-motivated, pushed novice Tammy Duckworth into the race and gave her official Democratic party support over Cegalis. While Dick Durbin is credited with having found Duckworth, a helicopter pilot in Iraq who lost both legs there, Emanuel was the guy who sank the dagger into Cegalis. Sweet aptly points out the animosity between Cegalis Democrats, Roskam Republicans (supporters of the GOP nominee, State Sen. Peter Roskam) and Emanuel.
She also makes the point that Emanuel is a national security hawk, not a San Francisco Democrat like Nancy Pelosi. But if hes not careful, Emanuel will dominate the district with his crude tactics. Indeed, in a district which is sorely divided between Cegalis liberal Democrats, Duckworth (read: Emanuel) centrist Democrats, Roskam conservative Republicans and moderate mushy Republicans, Emanuel may be the single most unifying factorbringing at least three of the four elements together.
If you thought Emanuel is wiping a tear away in behalf of a critically wounded heroine of the Iraq war, think again. Hes hoping that with her candidacy and others like hers, the House will turn Democratic and he will be in place to succeed Pelosi as either Majority Leader or Speaker. Next: a slot on the national Democratic ticket as veep, then president of the U.S. which he may well try to use as a stepping stone
Orders from the Publishers Wife.
Most former small town journalists from another age remember either the editors wife or the publishers wife throwing their weight around trying to get the city desk to take pictures of their garden shows. I remember my papers business managers wife, whose husband had life and death hold on my salary, insisting her nephew be interviewed because he was on the Deans List at St. Cloud State. Sad to say, these days are not gone entirely. They are in Chicago and powerfully more so. The Sun-Times publishers wife, a dedicated feminist free-to-be-you-and-especially-me type named Jennifer Hunter, is an editorial writer on the paper and a columnist as well. Earlier this week she gave orders to Gov. Blagojevich that he better get rid of an old resolution that passed the legislature 30 plus years ago. It said that if the day ever came when Roe v. Wade were overturned, Illinois would not have legalized abortion. Im sure Blago will take note and save that little item until the last few hours of the campaign to get the base fired up.
Hunter usually writes the same column over and over, either mooning about the death of Betty Friedan but concentrating on how other women can make it if men will only get out of the wayyou know, the stuff that is self-contradictory in the extreme: because if her husband wasnt publisher shed not be there and if he got hit by a truck shed be out on the streetgetting her prominence the old-fashioned way which began when the first woman, after tossing meat into the campfire that the old man dragged home, flexed her muscles and screamed, I am woman, hear me roar!