Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mexicans and Mexicants

Be careful not to credit the ruling class with too much cleverness or intelligence for having achieved their heinous end, for most of them don't begin to understand what they're doing either.

At the small scale, there is perhaps no better example of Silber's sentiment than the conflicting treatment the Bush administration is currently doling out to the business community in this country. For at the same time Bush's Department of Homeland Security pledges to "crack down" on business by threatening them to comply with immigration laws or face full retribution, this same administration's Department of Transportation is happy to ease the way for efficient transportation of goods by planning to "open the U.S. border to long haul Mexican trucks" because it will "benefit US consumers."

Business groups predict the results of such a DHS crackdown will be "disastrous" and
will lead to severe labor shortages in some industries and eventually weaken the overall economy.
Indeed, it is already happening as we now see US farmers moving to Mexico to set up shop because they are tired of "fighting the fight on the immigration issue.”

How, then, does one reconcile the conceit that the Bush administration is "business friendly" and embraces a policy, dictated by NAFTA, that will benefit US consumers and the economy, with an immigration crack down that will most assuredly harm US consumers and the economy? Well, the answer is you can't. The positions are mutually inconsistent.

But that doesn't really matter in the dank realm of US politics and especially within the realm of Republican politics where we are treated to the grim sight of a Republican administration needing to appease two disparate groups within its putative "base": business and ignorant racist xenophobes. That's a tough nut.

Given the GOP's political calculus, such conflict -- blowback, if you will -- was bound to arise when illegal immigration was pulled out of the draw for no other reason than because the GOP had nothing else at which to direct their base's anger. And just as the faction of the base that got riled up about Mexicans never seemed to grasp that Bush's other political faction fully embraced the cheap and unaccountable labour pool, so too will they likely ignore this particular friction. Meanwhile, the business community is fully aware as to why exactly these draconian policies on immigration are now making themselves known, and they may find themselves in search of a different brand of political ally. Not there is much of a choice.

I, for one, would love to be down on the border observing, as apoplectic Minutemen watch Mexican long haul trucks cruise past them unmolested and on their way toward benefiting "US consumers," even as a few of those Mexican drivers fall asleep at the wheel while their trucks violate state emission standards.

Yes. That would be quite a sight.


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