A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Hiroo Onoda wing. . .

. . .of the Republican Party is slowly dwindling, but the last of the last holdouts are growing more obstreperous as Super Tuesday draws nearer. Egged on by the emperor of talk radio and his underlings, they refuse to surrender -- holding out hope that they may be able to cobble together just enough resistance to convince Mitt Romney to keep up the struggle after the huge 24-state primary on February 5. While it won't likely prove successful, there is something admirable about the fact that these people are willing to go to the mat.

What's not so admirable, however, is that they're not so much going to the mat for their candidate, but for their own sense of righteousness. One can be assured that were they to prove successful in forcing a brokered convention where Romney actually came out as the nominee of the Republican Party, the grousing would commence in earnest on Day Two -- give or take 24 hours. From that point on, Romney would be forced to tack to his left in the general election, leaving all those conservatives who gave their blood, sweat, tears and maxed-out contributions utterly stupefied on the sidelines. "You mean I busted my butt ever day for this guy and all he can do is suck up to all of McCain's toadies who tried to dee-stroy this country!?!?"

The bare-bones truth of the matter is that, no matter who comes out the winner, the segment of the GOP that so passionately hates John McCain is going to be disenchanted, simply because whoever comes out ahead is going to have to be much closer to where McCain is now on the issues if they're going to have a shot in hell at winning the general election.

John McCain's advantage is that he can come out of the primaries and work toward conciliation with the most conservative voters without alienating the supporters he has now. I, for one, would absolutely love to see McCain make overtures toward the more conservative elements of the Republican Party, if only because I actually consider myself among them.

I actually do think there needs to be a strong effort to stop illegal immigration, and it would make my day to have a guy like McCain making that case in a way that doesn't send the message to Hispanic voters that they are neither appreciated or wanted in the party. But, when folks like John Derbyshire and Mark Krikorian are calling the shots, loudly making the case that illegal immigration is threatening the very culture of America because of its Latino influence, how can anyone expect the vast number of perfectly legal, law-abiding Latinos to be anything but uncomfortable in identifying the the GOP and conservatism as a whole?

What Derbyshire, Krikorian and others do is artful in its own way. They raise the specter of the dilution of American culture and cite facts and figures in the most sterile way possible, leaving no doubt as to the degree to which Hispanic culture has become embedded within our own. They then proceed to lament the loss of this unique culture, but being very careful (at least in Krikorian's case) not to give voice to the subtext, lest they be pegged for the nativists that they are. The text of their arguments is, "American culture is unique, beautiful and very much worth preserving." But, the subtext of their argument is, "Each one of you Latin people who come here is just one more drop of the poison that is killing it."

Is that really the message we should be sending?

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