Posted on September 2, 2004

Arnold’s Speech and The Coming Republican Civil War

Godless, Gene Expression, September 1, 2004

If you haven’t seen it or read it, you should. Video feed, text. Best clips inside, along with my thoughts on the election and the future of the Republican party.

When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector. Growing up, we were told, “Don’t look the soldiers in the eye. Look straight ahead.” It was a common belief that Soviet soldiers could take a man out of his own car and ship him off to the Soviet Union as slave labor.

My family didn’t have a car—but one day we were in my uncle’s car. It was near dark as we came to a Soviet checkpoint. I was a little boy, I wasn’t an action hero back then, and I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I’d never see him again. My family and so many others lived in fear of the Soviet boot. Today, the world no longer fears the Soviet Union and it is because of the United States of America! . . .

Now, the other party says there are two Americas. Don’t believe that either. I’ve visited our troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Germany and all over the world. I’ve visited our troops in California, where they train before they go overseas. And I’ve visited our military hospitals. And I can tell you this: Our young men and women in uniform do not believe there are two Americas! They believe we are one America and they are fighting for it! . . .

No matter the nationality, no matter the religion, no matter the ethnic background, America brings out the best in people. And as governor of the great state of California, I see the best in Americans every day—our police, our firefighters, our nurses, doctors, and teachers, our parents.

Ladies and gentlemen, America is back! Back from the attack on our homeland, back from the attack on our economy, back from the attack on our way of life.

You know, stirring rhetoric like that makes me really wish that I could rally to Arnold’s banner and believe that Bush really was all those things: a fiscal conservative, a strong leader against terror, a man looking out for the safety of the US beset on all sides by leftist malcontents and terrorist apologists. I really do wish that Bush was Reagan, that the attacks on him were baseless, and that he was being attacked for putting up too strong and determined a fight against the genuine enemies of America.

But on the two biggest issues of the day—immigration and Iraq—Bush has made calamitously wrong decisions. On a host of smaller issues (tariffs, non-defense spending increases, No Child Left Behind, racial preference endorsements) he’s been MIA or actively leftist. Stem cell research is one of the few issues he’s been genuinely right-wing on . . . and unfortunately, that’s another call I disagree with.

So what is a genuine rightist to do? As I emailed some of my friends the other day, I think this David Brooks article is the ideal outcome:

Should Bush lose, it will be like a pack of wolves that suddenly turns on itself. The civil war over the future of the party will be ruthless and bloody. The foreign-policy realists will battle the democracy-promoting Reaganites. The immigrant-bashing nativists will battle the free marketeers. The tax-cutting growth wing will battle the fiscally prudent deficit hawks. The social conservatives will war with the social moderates, the biotech skeptics with the biotech enthusiasts, the K Street corporatists with the tariff-loving populists, the civil libertarians with the security-minded Ashcroftians. In short, the Republican Party is unstable.”

Brooks of course frames the debate in such a way as to be excessively favorable to his own side. I doubt that Reagan would have endorsed the invasion of Iraq; there is a big difference between verbal commitments to democracy and even CIA-sponsored clandestine wetworks vs. US invasions for the sole purpose of spreading democracy (given the lack of WMD).

But the main event is not Iraq, but immigration, Brooksian slurs against “bashers” aside. Iraq will likely kill 1000 or so Americans per year for the foreseeable future, cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars, and distract our attention from hunting down bin Laden. But merit-blind, mass unskilled/illegal immigration promises to increase ethnic balkanization, reduce academic performance, increase crime, and generally increase the number of net tax recipients. It will cost us far more than a hundred billion and will kill more than one thousand per year.

We must move to a revenue-positive or merit-based scheme as soon as possible to prevent the tripling of the underclass (it has already doubled)—and this will only be possible if Bushism is thoroughly repudiated. The party must look within to find out why it lost this election, and the answer must come back from the base loud and clear: Bush’s proposed amnesty for 20 million illegal aliens cost him the election. A Republican civil war is the only hope for a fiscally rightist party that stops illegal immigration, faces the diversity cult down in favor of individualism, and defenestrates the neocons.

PS: If only Arnold was an immigration reformer, he’d be perfect . . .