Good morning, it’s Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, the day of the week I pass along quotations intended to be inspirational or thought-provoking. Today’s comes from Jeb Bush, with an assist from Donald J. Trump.
First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters, columnists, and contributors, including the following:
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Virginia, Not California, Will Provide Lessons for ’22. Post-recall, Susan Crabtree explores indicators from both states’ off-year elections as possible bellwethers for next year’s midterms.
Leaks Renew Concern Over Facebook’s Fact-Checking Sway. Kalev Leetaru follows up on revelations that the social media platform has asked fact-checking partners to retroactively change their findings on posts from high-profile accounts.
Assessing Biden’s Health Care Reforms. At RealClearHealth, Peter J. Pitts delves into the details of the package unveiled by the administration Thursday.
Five Facts About Community College. At RealClearPolicy, No Labels has this primer on an aspect of higher education that would receive a major boost under Democrats’ “human infrastructure” bill.
Are Cultural Currents Imperiling Students’ Mental Health? Also at RCPolicy, Frederick Hess and Tracey Schirra consider the findings of a new survey of college students.
Barriers to Innovation in the Rail Industry. At RealClearMarkets, Michael Gorman explains why administration efforts to block the merger of two freight lines will harm consumers.
To Power the Future, Prioritize Batteries. At RealClearEnergy, Grant Anderson highlights an under-appreciated aspect of green innovation.
Flawed Science of a Low-Carb Weight-Loss Advocate. RealClearScience editor examines the latest assertions of Gary Taubes.
1776 Unites Curriculum Highlights the American Character. At RealClear’s American Civics portal, Mike Sabo explores a new tool for teachers and parents.
The Meaning of Constitution Day. Also at the Civics portal is this statement from the 1776 Commission.
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In yesterday’s morning note, I contrasted Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration to Ronald Reagan’s. The 45th U.S. president did not fare well in that comparison. Several loyal readers of this daily missive complained that I had been unfair to Trump, specifically by asserting that when Trump discussed building his border “wall” on Sept. 15, 2015, he’d said nothing about that wall having “doors” -- as Reagan had done in his farewell address while describing his metaphorical “shining city on a hill.”
One Florida reader, a resident of Boca Raton, pointed out that Trump several times specifically invoked doors when discussing his wall in the late summer and autumn of 2015.
-- Aug. 23, 2015: “This will be a wall with a very big, very beautiful door, because we want the legals to come back into the country.” Interview with CBS News
-- Oct. 28, 2015: “We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re coming in legally.” Republican presidential debate.
-- Nov. 14, 2015: “People will come through the openings in that wall -- we’ll have a few of them -- and they’ll come in and they’re going to come in legally.” Rally in Beaumont, Texas.
I’ve made no secret in my writing the last six years that I was offended by Donald Trump’s tone when discussing immigrants, particularly those from Mexico. It started when he made his presidential announcement speech on June 16, 2015.
“When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They’re not sending you; they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems,” he said in his ad-libbed speech at Trump Tower in New York City. “They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting.”
I was hardly the only political observer who found such language appalling. Still, that doesn’t give me the right to mischaracterize what Trump said on the topic of immigration. So if you are one of the readers bothered by my selective quotation Thursday, consider this a mea culpa.
That is not going to be my last word on this subject, however, because I believe the populist right makes the same mistake on immigration as the progressive left.
It has become commonplace on the left to demonize this country. America was founded on “white supremacy,” they like to say, and remains a “racist” country hostile to immigrants and people of color. This is palpable nonsense, which is undermined every single day by the very people who are coming here. The 1 million or so legal immigrants (almost all of them from Asia, Africa, and Latin America), as well as the untold numbers of illegal migrants crossing the border, are coming to America because they see this nation the way immigrants have always seen it: as a welcoming place, and a beacon of opportunity.
As for those who want to “Make America Great Again,” well, if you look at our nation through the eyes of those leaving their country and their culture behind to come to the United States, America looks like a pretty great place already. Why hate on those who want what we have -- who want to become Americans?
In other words, the woke left demonizes America while the populist right demonizes those who want to become Americans. In my view -- and traditionally this was a view held by most Democrat and Republican officeholders -- both these extremes consider this issue through the wrong prism. Here is how Jeb Bush expressed it during an April 6, 2014, interview with Shannon Bream of Fox News.
“The way I look at this is, someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally ... and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony.
“It’s an act of love,” Bush added, “it’s an act of commitment to your family.”
And that’s my quote of the week.
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics