Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Hispanic Vote?

So now, Michael Barone tells us, Republicans must stop turning off the Hispanic vote by talking like Mitt Romney about "self-deportation."

Well, OK.  But the problem that sticks in the craw of Republicans is that immigration "reform" means making Democratic voters out of people who came to the US illegally.

(I know.  Who worried about legality when the Irish were tumbling out of the "coffin ships" of the mid-19th century?)

The point is that every immigrant group in the last 150 years has started out voting for the Democratic Party because, one way or another, the Democrats were offering "free stuff."  It's natural for immigrants just off the farm to respond to patronage politics and look for a strong patron to protect them with "free stuff" as they learn how to swim in the treacherous currents of the city.

Ever since the Republicans gave up on the tariff--a kind of "free stuff" that appealed to native-born workers--in the debacle of the Great Depression, there has never been a time where Republicans were any good at winning the battle of "free stuff."

So why have the Republicans been able to compete in the political arena?  Two reasons.  Frist there were groups that left the Democrats after they got on their feet and tired of the "free stuff" notion.  Second, there were groups that left when the Democrats started dissing them.  When the Democrat-voting GIs became home owners they stopped needing a powerful patron.  When the Democrats turned against Christianity they lost the enthusiastic Christian vote.

Really, through all this, the Republicans just slogged along being the Sensible Party, worrying about taxes and deficits and the Communist Menace.  If there was a magic moment, when the nation was actually interested in Republican ideas, it was in the late 1970s when the economy went south in a swamp of stagflation, when inflation was 10 percent and unemployment was 10 percent.   And even then it was nip-and-tuck as the Democrats successfully framed Ronald Reagan as a mad bomber and an amiable dunce.

The Republican Party is the party of the People of the Responsible Self.  It is for people that don't think of politics as a way to get their hands on the "free stuff."  It is for people that don't believe in the exploitation theory of history.  It is for people that think like Adam Smith, that the first thing to do is to figure out what you can do for other people.  That it's your job to make yourself useful, and then start to worry about how much money you are getting back.  The Invisible Hand.

The Republican Party is for people that think there is a fundamental harmony of interests.  That all government spending is waste, starting with the Pentagon and the police, but that some things--very few--justify the waste.

There is no point in the Republican Party joining the "free stuff" steeplechase.  Democrats have already got all the best mounts, and they know how to ride them.

The immediate prospect for the Republican Party is not in making nice to Hispanics, who probably have half a century of "free stuff" politics left in them.  The immediate prospect for Republicans is white middle-class voters that are feeling sadder and wiser after the Obama debacle.  We will see the first signs of spring, if there is to be a spring, in the Fall of 2014 after a year of Obamacare.  How's that "free stuff" healthcare turning out, voters?  There eventually could be a wave of women disillusioned with a world without marriage, recoiling from the illusion of life as a career in some stupid bureaucracy to discover life as a social human being in a neighborhood community, bearing and raising children and creating the future.

Really, the politics of the Republican Party is an impossible dream, that politics should not be the politics of the armed band marching around in search of booty, but an attempt to create the good society, by inculcating a culture of cooperation and responsibility, backed up, at the limit, by limited and necessary force.

The chief barrier to the impossible dream is not ordinary people and their appetite for "free stuff" but liberals.

It is liberals that think they deserve government grants  to fund their hobbies.  It is liberals that think they should have the right to sit for decades as tenured professors in government universities on the public dime.  It is liberals that think they have a right to taxpayers' money to fund "the arts."  It is liberals that think they have a right to six-figure salaries and bullet-proof pensions in state government because they care about the poor and the marginalized.

There used to be a word for people like this.  They used to call them "hypocrites."

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