Ever since Bill O'Reilly evolved into an amalgam of Kathy Lee Gifford and Howard Hughes (Buy my spin-off products! Why is everyone out to get me?)
CNN's Lou Dobbs has become the most amusing polluter of American airwaves. His latest column is no exception – revelling in post-election spin that called border hawk, trade protectionist Democrats "Lou Dobbs Democrats," the man himself draws a mighty sword and cleaves the battlefield of his enemies.
Elitists like [Fox News and Roll Call pundit Morton] Kondracke dismiss calls for balanced and mutual international trade as protectionism and nationalism. He and others completely disregard the $5 trillion in trade debt that the United States has built up through 30 consecutive years of trade deficits. That trade debt is rising faster than our national debt and is simply economically unsustainable, no matter what any faith-based economist would argue. Our political, business and media elites continue to disregard reality.
Like Kondracke, those elites dismiss continuing concerns about the security of our ports and borders — more than five years after September 11, 2001 — as mere nationalism and xenophobia. Not a single one of them has been honest enough to admit that failure to secure our borders and ports leaves this nation unacceptably vulnerable to terrorist attack and flooded with billions of dollars of illegal drugs. How can any rational, independent thinker accept such a reality?
And in the mind of those elites, any call to curtail illegal immigration is xenophobic, even though ours is the most racially and ethnically diverse society on the planet; even though we bring in one million immigrants legally to this country every year. Without question, I am an independent populist, and as I've said before, the antonym of populism is elitism, which I reject as simply un-American.
First, can we agree that calling anyone "elite" is the most ironic thing a cable TV pundit can do? I mean, apart from Sean Hannity calling someone "such a squint-eyed lightweight that if you took his watch off he'd start levitating"? Second, I think there's a risk of Dobbsian Democrats overplaying their hand in this next Congress. In the old, bad days before 1994, trade policy has the effect on Dems that a box of pirhanas has on a school of beluga whales – throw it in the water and watch half of them scatter and the other half die. The Sherrod Browns, Bernie Sanders, Jon Testers and (sigh) James Webbs who follow Dobbsian doctrine are going to be cut off at the pass by the party's dominant free traders, especially now that the free traders (like Hillary) are mounting their presidential bids.