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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

The Fall of Tom DeLay

DeLay * Liberals and the Immigration Debate * Iraq War * Twentynine Palms CA 92277

Events finally caught up with Tom DeLay, aka The Hammer, aka The Exterminator. Allegations of campaign finance law violations, questionable manipulation of redistricting in Texas, involvement in Jack Abramoff's shady deals, all dragged him into the center of a growing storm. The decision by Tony Rudy, his former aide, to plead guilty to conspiracy charges was perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back. The formerly feared congressman from Sugarland,TX, faced reality and announced that he would give up his seat and withdraw from reelection contest.

The Immigration Debate

Two columnists,known for their liberal views, have expressed their reservations about the merits of the guest workers program. Their comments are close to those made by conservative Republicans.

Robert Samuelson in the Post, "We don't need guest workers":

Paul Krugman in NY Times: "North of the Border"
  • First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small. Realistic estimates suggest that immigration since 1980 has raised the total income of native-born Americans by no more than a fraction of 1 percent.
  • Second, while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration — especially immigration from Mexico. Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average U.S. worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst-paid Americans. The most authoritative recent study of this effect, by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, estimates that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren't for Mexican immigration.
The President,Iraq and History

Twentynine Palms in California is the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. It also happens to be the home of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command. It was there a few days back that I read "Deluded",by Steve Coll which appeared in the Talk of the Town Section of The New Yorker, April 3rd issue.
  • The President and the members of his war cabinet now routinely wave at the horizon and speak about the long arc of history's judgment--—many years or decades must pass, they suggest, before the overthrow of Saddam and its impact on the Middle East can be properly evaluated. This is not only an evasion; it is bad historiography. Particularly in free societies, botched or unnecessary military invasions are almost always recognized as mistakes by the public and the professional military soon after they happen, and are rarely vindicated by time. This was true of the Boer War, Suez, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and it will be true of Iraq. At best, when enough time has passed, and the human toll is not so palpable, we may come to think of the invasion, and its tragicomedy of missing weapons, as just another imperial folly, the way we now remember the Spanish-American War or the doomed British invasions of Afghanistan. But that will take a very long time, and it will never pass as vindication.

Regardless of how the president and his aides are judged by history for their role in the war, in towns like Twentynine Palms one is not likely to hear of opposition to the war. If there are dissidents, their voices remain mute.
*****




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