If you missed the go-round between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee on illegal immigrants earlier this month, you missed some fun. Huckabee, while the governor of Arkansas floated a proposal to give some kind of tuition break to the children of illegal immigrants in his state. Panicking that he might have spent mightily and lose to Huck Thin in Iowa Romney attacked him on this issue only to have Huckabee say, "I guess Mitt Romney would rather keep people out of college so they can keep working on his lawn," . Seems Mitt had hired a lawn care company that depended on cheap, illegal immigrant laborers for twelve years. Fred Thompson got in a few kicks in on Huckabee too. You’d imagine that the effort must have winded the laziest candidate in the race. There is also talk about Huckabee turning over state owned space in Little Rock for use by the Mexican consulate.
Illegal immigration is the code phrase for a well prepared strategy the Republicans are relying on in next year’s election, anti-Latino bigotry. Conservatives, unable to run on their actual platform, which would disadvantage the large majority of middle-class and working class people for the advantage of the oligarches, have always reverted to bigotry, their most trusted tool. Bigotry has won them election after election. CNN’s Lou Dobbs and others, well, really the entire cabloid-hate talk media, have been laying the ground, whipping up anti-Latino mania to the point where it is actually going to have a real impact on the election. Republicans are practicing with it against each other before using it against Democrats in the general election. On Russert’s program this morning Mary Matalin was fantasizing that anti-Latino bigotry would drive black voters into the arms of the Republicans, a fantasy so wacky that has the smell of being Oked by some consultant or other before that hack mouthed it.
The other reliable tool of Republicans, Biblical fundamentalism, is also being kept handy. Huckabee’s success in the Iowa polls is primary based on the pseudo-christian vote. The “Values Voters” and other pseudo-religious Republican fronts SHOULD have a problem with the anti-alien plank which is certain to be a part of the Republican platform. That is they would if liberals had the wit to have read the Bible. For example, in her brilliant review of The God Delusion, Marilynne Robinson made this potentially useful point in response to the false assertion that The Law as laid down in Leviticus - one of the favorite books with cherry pickers on both sides of the God Wars - was meant to only apply to Jews.
... the verse quoted here, Leviticus 19:18, does indeed begin, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people," language that allows a narrow interpretation of the commandment. But Leviticus 19:33—34 says "When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. . . . You shall love the alien as yourself." In light of these verses, it is wrong by Dawkins's own standards to argue that the ethos of the law does not imply moral consideration for others. (It would be interesting to see the response to a proposal to display this Mosaic law in our courthouses.)
What would the “Values Voters” answer be if it was repeatedly and relentlessly pointed out that this “law” was as much part of the bible as the ones allegedly opposed to gay people? Would it have an impact? Would it shame them? I don’t know but anything is worth trying at this late date. Perhaps it won’t work politically next year, since the groundwork of anti-Latino bigotry has been so well laid by hate-talk media. But Democratic strategists should always be on the look out for what the corporate media is preparing for use by Republican candidates and they should attack early and continually, pointing out that it is morally repugnant. It is only by a wall of resistance that hate campaigns can be fought. When you have the entire commercial media against you, you have to use every weapon available. If Lou Dobbs had been condemned for his promotion of bigotry over the past several years one of the potentially most potent tools of division and conquest by the party of the privileged it might not work as well as it probably will.
Ok, maybe the picture of Matalin was over the top. But ain't it the truth?