Libertarian Democrat Terry Michael has an excellent op-ed in today's Wash Times on immigration and Dubya's (lack of) leadership. Michael, director of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism and a former press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, recaps conservative columnist Michael Barone's argument about contemporary immigration:
Barone explains [in 2001's The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again], the late-20th and early-21st-century immigrants won't be "minorities" for more than a few generations, any more than their earlier counterparts were stuck in time as outsiders. He offers this summary of his arguments, which is also a powerful case against today's liberal race-consciousness, virtually promoted on American college campuses and by mainstream news organizations that insist on seeing far too much through the prism of race: "America in the future will be multiracial and multiethnic, but it will not or should not be multicultural in the sense of containing ethnic communities marked off from and adversarial to the larger society, any more than today's America consists of unassimilated and adversarial communities of Irish, Italians or Jews."
Michael then looks at contemporary political dynamics, especially President Bush's incapacity for clearly articulating a Baronian case for immigration reform. What we're left with:
Congressional Democrats aren't going to help this president make that kind of intelligent case for immigration, because too many of them want a 2006 and 2008 campaign issue more than they desire sensible reform. A few, like Edward Kennedy in the Senate, are interested in a serious effort to find accommodation with those who favor tough enforcement of statutes against illegal entry, while taking a practical approach to legalizing the 12 million or so who have entered without documentation in the past few decades.
But on this hugely important challenge, the nation pays a policy price for a president recently reduced to differing with his wife on whether the national anthem can be sung appropriately in Spanish. Without effective presidential leadership, if we do reach a compromise, it may well be a bad one.
Whole thing here.