Honest Politicians?

There’s an old question about how one determines an honest politician, and the answer is that, when bribed, he stays bought.

Even by this shady definition, the current President isn’t an honest politician. Successful politics requires commitments and deal-making, even compromise. As the events surrounding the government shut-down over the weekend revealed, the President is perfectly willing to commit to something, and then change his mind, especially when some part of his “base” objects.

This behavior not only makes deal-making difficult, to say the least, but it reveals, again, that the President’s word can’t ever be trusted. It also reveals that Trump often doesn’t consider what’s acceptable to his base and what’s not. It’s one thing to refuse to agree to something because it’s not in one’s perceived political interest; it’s another to agree to something in order to obtain another desired end and then, after others have made concessions, to change your mind and go back on your word.

This makes the opposition not only angry, but also less likely to make future concessions. It also makes one’s supporters in Congress wary of attempting to find a middle ground, lest they have the President undercut them.

[Updated]As I write this, the House has agreed to, and the President has signed the Senate-authored short-term funding extension with the promise from the Republicans to the Democrats that some limited immigration reform will be taken up in the next three weeks, particularly a fix for DACA, so that the young people brought to the United States as children don’t face deportation threats to countries most have never even known. The Democrats offered a compromise in terms of some funding for Trump’s wall, which Trump first accepted, and then decided against.

If either the President or the Republicans renege on that promise to deal with DACA, the next year is going to be especially bitter in Washington, D.C., and I suspect that bitterness will harm the Republicans far more than the Democrats, but then, it’s an emotional issue, and emotional issues are almost never decided by ‘reason.’

It’s too bad that Congress can’t act on the emotional appeal of nearly a million young people and children who’ve grown up here, most of whom think of themselves as Americans, and who’ve never known any other country, but that emotional appeal, so far, at least, has lost out to the generally right-wing visceral dislike of anyone who wasn’t born here and isn’t descended from “white-bread” stock, despite the fact that every single American citizen, even including Native Americans, is either an immigrant or descended from immigrants, most of whom couldn’t have gotten into the country “legally” under current immigration laws.

But then, it’s pretty clear that the issue for Congress and the President isn’t about fixing the problem, or any problem, but about avoiding blame from those who neither want to recognize the problems nor to accept solutions that deal with the concerns of both sides.

7 thoughts on “Honest Politicians?”

  1. R. Hamilton says:

    Legal immigrants of all colors (but only of compatible _cultures_! we don’t need anti-western or anti-capitalist people, regardless of their skills; conversely, we don’t need people who are unlikely to at least prepare themselves for a future beyond unskilled labor) should be welcome. But no diversity lottery, and no chain migration; if qualification based considerations alone don’t reflect a level of diversity suitable to be representative of those who wish to come (or doesn’t satisfy those here who think their influence would be increased if a group simpatico to them came in large quantities), thats too bad; we’re not the world’s shelter, soup kitchen, refugee dumping grounds, etc. We no longer have a frontier and no longer have any use for huddled masses; we only need the best.

    Illegals however should be deported without any special consideration, favoritism, or mercy, once their illegal status has been suitably confirmed. They’ve already showed contempt for our law by coming here illegally (or staying illegally once they reached the age of majority, even if coming here was not their choice as with the DACA clientele, or if they came legally but overstayed their visa).

    I don’t care about the logistical difficulties involved in deporting millions. Trains and school buses that are being retired could handle it. If there is any question of danger, public burden, or competition to our own citizens, I don’t particularly care about humanitarian considerations either. Depending on which news sources one follows, there are plenty of cases of DWI fatalities, rapes, murders, and gang activity involving illegals; and illegals are the overwhelming percentage of foreigners in our jails, and are straining schools and other facilities too.

    That applies identically to those from origins I might be able to blend in with and those I couldn’t, btw; even if I wanted (for example) a few million charming Irish, Scottish, or Scandinavians here, my unwelcome for the illegals among them would not differ from that for those from third-world countries. Illegals have forfeited their right to do anything except leave.

    I think one of the seldom-spoken elements of advocacy for mass amnesty, whether for the smaller number represented by DACA, or for all presently here is that the left assumes (probably rightly) that they’d get the overwhelming majority of those new votes, which might be enough to ensure their power for decades. I can imagine nothing more terrifying than prolonged power for the left, which constantly demonstrates their belief that “the end justifies the means” (not that many politicians of all ideologies save perhaps libertarian don’t share that outlook where their own re-election is concerned). Thus, I cannot imagine that compromise with the left, save on the most inconsequential of matters, is anything other than delusion or treason…because the left IS the enemy of liberty and limited constitutional government.

    1. So it was all right for your ancestors to seek amnesty here, but not for anyone today?

      And you have no compunction about destroying the lives of 800,000 plus young people who had no choice but to come to this country because they were brought by their parents?

      1. Alan says:

        The fundamental difference between my ancestors and theirs is that my family came over legally. That is a significant part of the discussion about illegal immigrants of any stripe which is often ignored. If you stole from some one, you would be punished in accordance with our laws. If you broke most any other law in the US you would be punished. Why should violating the immigration laws be any different?

        Illegal immigrants do perform work US citizens frequently don’t want to do. That’s a fine benefit for employers but these illegals immigrants cost the legal residents of the US a great deal of money in many fashions. Federal and state benefits, health care, etc.

        A friend of mine who is a teacher in California has a long ranting blog about the difficulties Dreamers and other illegal immigrant students cause in her school. I admit she’s ranting but there is a kernel of truth to her rant. Most of the students in her school, including the Dreamers, get free breakfast and lunches due to poverty levels. The Dreamer’s receive a lot of benefits which they do not pay into the system for, shifting the cost to the tax payers.

        In a country which is constantly trying to more with less, there are a number of reasons to send these individuals packing. If I moved to Australia, for example, I would face a very firm immigration policy. There is no sympathy there for refugees who arrive by boat and illegally sneak into the country. They actively hunt down and evict illegal immigrants of any sort.

      2. R. Hamilton says:

        AFAIK my ancestors came here legally (on one side, that’s recent enough that I’ve seen the naturalization certificate), although admittedly longer ago the bar was pretty low. But lacking a frontier on which those of all character, good and bad alike, can test and perhaps expend themselves, we need to be far more selective now. Precedent isn’t necessarily good guidance. Simply being here is not enough to assume a right to stay here.

        Those who have reached the age of majority are responsible for their decision to stay illegally, even if they didn’t decide to come here. I could see giving them a couple of years to make arrangements or pursue legal status, but I see no reason to give them permanent residency or citizenship; that’s just the left trying to obtain more voters for themselves, and the left is simply too evil to be enabled by any excuse, however humanitarian-sounding.

  2. Antoinette I Frates says:

    Wow, this topic hurt my heart.

  3. Michael Kilian says:

    As someone who has immigrated to Australia I can honestly say that the topic of immigrants is far, far from simple. My family fled a country in which people of their ethnicity were having their lives torn apart in the wake of a revolution that took place. In each country we moved to, my parents contributed a great deal of work to maintain our existence, and made sure we went through the correct channels. If I were to be deported back to my country of birth, life would be difficult and far from certain, with death a likely outcome.

    However, as a legal immigrant, I find refugees and illegal immigrants to be an affront to my sensibilities, given that others of similar but often hardly worse situations might be given what my family fought so hard for. Particularly when such people often refuse to assimilate, or worse- make demands.

    And then beneath all of that, I even resent that my parents had the ability to leave their homeland at a time when, if the revolution that lead to the radicalisation of identitarianism had been fought by people like my parents who might’ve done so without choice, a lot of good might have been done if more people had attempted fight instead of flight. “All that is required for evil to prevail is for the good to do nothing”, or something close to that.

    America’s current political climate may not be desirable, but even as an outsider I can see the dangerous precedent the DACA could set, and why there are people supporting and opposing it.

  4. Wine Guy says:

    Since “compromise” is now perceived as “caving in” and “quid pro quo” interpreted as “selling out,” I perceive that there are going to be no good/less good/’lesser of the two evils’ solutions.

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