Big Picture

September 6, 2010

As most of you probably know by now, Governor Jan Brewer’s debate with her Democratic opponent, current Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, got off to a rough start. Although I tend to agree with the Christian Science Monitor’s assessment that Governor Brewer’s gaffe is not fatal to her election campaign, I do think it raises some important questions.

The story surrounding this debate has been framed as a question of competence. The open borders advocates and their allies in the mainstream media will attempt to capitalize upon Governor Brewer’s momentary discomposure by portraying her as unfit to lead. The media narrative has already been changed from a discussion of the merits of SB 1070, and the broader issue of securing our porous southern border, to one of whether Terry Goddard-a man who has steadfastly opposed SB 1070 since it was signed into law-is more adept at composing a compelling a sound bite.

The problem with this narrative is that a single debate is not going to decide the course of American immigration reform and border security, nor should it. There have been numerous debates where the open borders argument was properly skewered, such as this one between Jason Riley and the inestimable Heather Macdonald, and most Americans have retained the same views on immigration that they held when Proposition 187, the forerunner to Arizona’s SB 1070 back in 1994, was enacted by an overwhelming majority in a California referendum. They still support tougher enforcement measures, as illustrated by the public’s enthusiastic backing of SB 1070, and they want to reduce the overall intake of immigrants from the current astronomical 1 million+ rate we have been experiencing for the better part of two decades. 

The only thing that will change this current lamentable situation is not more debates, but a concerted effort on the part of the American public to enact change on a national political level. Laying the intellectual groundwork for massive changes to our current system of unfettered, mass immigration and de facto amnesty is vitally important, but that base has already been established, as illustrated by the broad public support for measures such as SB 1070. What we need to do now is translate those beliefs into political action on a national level, and the only way to accomplish that is by electing a presidential candidate who supports enforcing existing immigration laws and looks to reexamine the mass immigration status quo.

And that candidate must have the eloquence to articulate these beliefs to a diffused, diverse electorate in a manner persuasive enough to elect him. In that respect, this embarrassing debate moment is helpful. It forced the pro-enforcement immigration reform movement to recognize that any future standard-bearer for the signature issue of our time needs to be not only forceful and steadfast in defending our beliefs-and no one can accuse Governor Jan Brewer of falling down on the job when it comes to defending the rights of Arizonans and Americans-but also intellectually rigorous enough to articulate our views in a cogent manner on a national stage. 

That is the challenge we face as we head into the next pivotal election cycle, and it’s one that we need to not only accept but embrace. 


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *