The Times has been on a pro-amnesty rampage of late, issuing two fiery editorials over the weekend, one a Sunday lead editorial headlined "The Nativists Are Restless," another on Saturday criticizing new New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's opposition to issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.
Hmm. Was this extremist anti-immigrant political party the same one that ran the extremely pro-amnesty John McCain as its last presidential candidate?
The fuel that launched the far-fetched editorial was a National Press Club appearance by the American Cause, which recently released a report arguing (in the fair-and-balanced telling of the Times, anyway) "that anti-immigration absolutism was still the solution for the party's deep electoral woes."
What was perhaps more notable than the report itself was the team that delivered it. It included Bay Buchanan, former adviser to Representative Tom Tancredo and sister of Pat, who founded the American Cause and wrote "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America." She was joined by James Pinkerton, an essayist and Fox News contributor who, as an aide to the first President Bush, took credit for the racist Willie Horton ads run against Michael Dukakis.
After calling out the anti-immigration web site vdare.com, the editorial went on to link violent incidents against illegal immigrants in upstate New York into some kind of murderous anti-immigrant pattern, lumping in a YouTube clip from Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and a "notorious" humor CD by Paul Shanklin as accomplices.
It is all around us. Much was made of the Republican mailing of the parody song "Barack the Magic Negro," but the same notorious CD included "The Star Spanglish Banner," a puerile bit of Latino-baiting. It is easily found on YouTube. Google the words "Bill O'Reilly" and "white, Christian male power structure" for another YouTube taste of the Fox News host assailing the immigration views of "the far left" (including The Times) as racially traitorous.
And it takes only a cursory look at a worsening economic climate and grim national mood to realize that history is always threatening to repeat itself. Last week on Long Island, the authorities in Suffolk County unsealed new indictments against a group of teenage boys accused in a murderous attack against an Ecuadorean immigrant, Marcelo Lucero. Since that crime last year, many more victims have come forward with stories of assaults in or near the same town, Patchogue. The police in that suburb seem to have made a habit of ignoring a long and escalating trail of attacks against immigrant men, until the hatred rose up and spilled over one night, fatally.
The Saturday editorial on Kirsten Gillibrand was slightly calmer but lit into her for being "a bullet-headed opponent of gun control" and "proudly basking in the extremist affections of the National Rifle Association." The paper painted Gillibrand's refusal to support drivers licenses for illegal aliens as somehow un-American:
Ms. Gillibrand's House votes on immigration amounted to a repudiation of New York's special gift to America. She allied herself solidly with expulsionist Republicans, who reject assimilation in favor of locking down the border, deporting 12 million illegal immigrants and enshrining English as America's one true tongue. She has favored enforcement rigidity over common sense; she was one of the first to denounce former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's well-meaning effort to make sure illegal immigrants drive with licenses and insurance.
Luckily for the Times, Gillibrand is showing signs of caving on her immigration stance. Michael Powell's Monday Metro section story, "Gillibrand Hints at a Change of Mind on Immigration," harps on the "conservative rural district" she represented in upstate New York, in which
All of the political pressure in that region came from the right, and her votes on immigration issues and on guns hewed to conservative lines favored by her constituents. (On many other issues, from health care to Social Security to Iraq, she voted along more liberal lines.) She confronts a new reality now.