With the Republican Convention looming in the distance, I think it’s time we start setting the record straight in a pathetic attempt to hold back the tidal wave of mere rhetoric that will be spilling though the television over the next week. The general public has a misconception that Republicans are all about small government—an ideology libertarians hold at the core of their being. And as much as I would love to believe that there is a vocal entity shedding the repressive and obsolete laws of the secluded past, that’s simply not true.
There are really too many big government policies the GOP enjoys to explore in detail—farm subsidies, prohibiting gay marriages, tariffs (like the steel tariffs President Bush pulled out a few years ago)—but the politics and economics around immigration continue to one of those branches of government Republicans love to inflate.
The Des Moines Register reported yesterday that the GOP is divided over the issue of the President’s plan to offer a work program for illegal immigrants, legalizing eight to ten million foreigners. From an economic stand point, this is fantastic. This country, after all, was built by immigrates and economic activity increases when the number of its legal participants increase (as long as it’s a free market economy). But the economic virtues of immigration are really a discussion for another article. This post is about the politics.
Some conservatives are angry about the President’s proposal, saying it rewards people for breaking the law. Delegates pledged to fight it at the convention (so I might actually watch part of it). Rep. Tom Tancredo says the proposal is un-American—whatever that means—and plans to hold a news conference on Monday denouncing it. Nevada delegate Bonnie Weber, responding to Rep. Melissa Hart’s defense of the change, swept aside any concern for unlawful entries into the US with the always thoughtful argument “Illegal is illegal.”
You’d think that the party that claims the government is too big would understand that just because it’s legal doesn’t mean its right.