Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rant On

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama: stop it.

No, really.

Cut out the crap.

Your attacks on each other (whether delivered by you or by your surrogates) are unseemly, annoying, and may wind up killing our chances in November. Most of us are sick of you both behaving like petulant five year olds. The "he started it, no she started it" bull is working on our last nerve.

Look, at this point, as far as I or anyone else can tell, there's isn't a dime-slot's bit of difference between you two. You want the nomination? Then show us why you should have it, but not by castigating your opponent. Instead, give us your plans. The issues are there (in spades), start confronting them with positive programs. You don't have to give all the details. Your Congress will want some say in that, but you could at least give us the broad outlines.

Contrary to popular belief, the American electorate is not stupid. Well, apparently 30% are, but I suspect a goodly portion of that 30% are not stupid, just greedy. Talk to the rest of us. Educate us.

And don't be afraid to take on the most difficult of issues. I think you will find that one of the reasons they are difficult is that most politicians (as distinguished from statesmen/women) are too cowardly to talk about them. You might have to reframe the issue (because the buggers in office have screwed that part up so completely), but use some creativity and do so. You don't even have to make things up: the facts are there.

Like immigration. Now, Senator McCain (who is your real opposition) had a fairly reasonable approach to immigration reform, but then he entered the race for president and did a quick 180. You don't have to do that. All you have to do is study up a little. A good place to start is an op-ed piece published in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. You'll find some facts that rarely (if ever) are mentioned.

For lack of a dialogue, wrongheaded facts fester in the public imagination, namely that immigration is accelerating, that prosperity is threatened and that assimilation is stalled. One fact that is a surprise to many people is that the annual flow of immigrants -- legal and illegal combined -- ended its surge in 2000 and has been in decline since. Projections by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Social Security Administration and the Pew Hispanic Center all concur: The rate of new immigrants per 1,000 current residents will stabilize or drop further over the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, a study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that immigrants often complement local labor and actually prop up real wages for most native-born Californians. Any wage-depressing effects on particular low-skilled populations, many economists contend, could be more effectively addressed through direct wage support than through restrictionist measures.

And how many know that the majority of Latino immigrants in California become homeowners after 20 years in this country, climbing from poverty and buying into the American dream? Indeed, our analysis of Los Angeles using the most recent American Community Survey from the Census Bureau indicates that long-term immigrants are more likely to own homes than U.S.-born residents; that the percentage who speak English "well" or "very well" rises dramatically with time in the country; and that immigrants' children are as fluent in English as native Californians.

There. Is that so hard?

What? You're afraid that Americans don't want to hear about anything short of felony convictions and high-tech fences? Guess again. For a huge part of this country, the immigrant population consists of the family next door, or the kids our kids play soccer with. And as for that other 30%: do you really think that any of them will ever really vote for you? You can put down that pipe now. Your campaigns will be more focused.

Look: here's a quarter for each of you. Go buy yourselves a freakin' clue. Your nation will be the better for it.

/rant off.

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