DATE: 1/09/2004 12:28:00 PM
Proportion and Political Reality - John Derbyshire drives me nuts. Not only is the man a hopeless math-lover, he's in the habit of saying things that make other conservatives groan and slap their foreheads. He has been very critical of Bush's immigration plan. Unlike other conservatives, though, the Derb has a sense of proportion when it comes to the seriousness of this issue over others:
"But there's a war on, and I want a government willing to fight it. This is that government. AND we got a tax cut, with the consequent boost to the economy. AND our Secretary of State, for all his faults, no longer spends hours at a time waiting in reception rooms for an audience with people like Arafat, Assad, Kim Jong Il, and Gaddafi. AND we got a partial-birth abortion ban... Bush for me -- but we've got to make him trash this ludicrous plan.Kudos to Derbyshire for refusing to allow his opinions over one or two issues to sink him into the conservative pit of despair.
Jonah Goldberg, also at NRO, and who I've quoted earlier today on immigration, tackles the issue in his G-File column with his usual blend of good sense and humor:
Conservatives have a similar problem in that no matter how righteously ticked-off they get, at the end of the day the choice is between voting for Bush in 2004 or not voting at all. Despite what a few folks have declared to me, very few conservatives are going to cast a vote for Dean, Gephardt, or Clark over Bush come the election. That would be like trying to get rid of Willie Brown in San Francisco by voting for Castro. Or maybe it wouldn't, but you get the point, I'm sure.Immigration is one heck of a sticky issue in this country, and I'm sure the president was aware his plan would make some conservatives angry. But he was willing to take the chance, because he believes in what he's doing. Plus, I think he knows there are some conservatives who will be angry no matter what.
Like the Deaniacs, some conservatives wander the political landscape looking for things to get angry about. When a candidate comes along who reflects their anger, they latch onto that candidate like a co-dependent guy who's found his first girlfriend. Angry candidates come and go, and there have been many of them who have attracted conservative attention: Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, John McCain. There is a danger that this immigration plan will cause the spittle-flecked rageaholics of the right to jump ship on Bush and support someone else. That Bush was willing to let them proves the liberals are wrong about him - he's not a right-wing toady taking orders from his ultraconservative puppetmasters. He's willing to do what he thinks is right, even if it meams offending a portion of his constituency. That's leadership, and that's why I'm voting for him on November 2.