Ilana Mercer, May 23, 2008

The prolix presidential candidates and their aids and enablers have a supply of misleading phrases. These verbal obesities are meant to throw the American voter off-scent. “Comprehensive immigration reform” is one such term. It sounds innocent enough if you know only that America‘s borders are unprotected and that it’ll take an approach broad in scope to change that. Unencrypted, however, “comprehensive immigration reform” means granting amnesty—also “earned legalization”—to the 20 million illegal aliens currently in the US and further liberalizing immigration policies. On this, the Democratic candidates and the Manchurian Candidate are agreed.

Yes, John McCain had almost managed to con talker Sean Hannity into using his considerable clout to convince his acolytes that, on immigration, he, McCain, is a changed man. During a friendly interview with Mr. Hannity, McCain claimed that his earlier collusion with Ted Kennedy over an amnesty bill had failed “because voters didn’t trust the government to handle the security side.” McCain was not backing down from the McCain-Kennedy-Specter ménage à trois, but conceding only that he had things back to front. Confusing the American people was proving a little harder than he had expected. So first he’d make a show of sealing the borders, and then he’d sanction the scofflaws. Veiled vocabulary has since given way to an express commitment to “enact comprehensive immigration reform.” The Arizonan now routinely tethers talk about securing the borders to a need for “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Speaking of collusion: To listen to the media (don’t), you’d think the American people want nothing more than for their representatives to “reach across the aisle” and “get things done.” This phrase, coupled with “bipartisanship,” falls squarely in the tradition of political bafflegab. Far better that the people’s representatives sleep with prostitutes than slip between the sheets with members of the opposition. The more they collude, the less competition in government voters end-up with. Should Hillary be elected, how long before she “reaches across the aisle” to give her “Republican” pals Joe (Lieberman) and John (McCain) a surgelette in Iraq. If anything, as soon as the colluding quislings “reach across the aisle” to “get things done,” they ought to be busted under antitrust laws for trying to form a monopoly.

“The system is broken” is another term politicians and immigration activists and lobbyists use when poised to justify their contempt for—and refusal to abide by—existing laws. A more general euphemism for defying the will of the people is the phrase to “show leadership. “Not governing by polls” is another. When Dubya promised the run of American ports to Dubai, he was showing the kind of leadership” approved by only 17 percent of Americans. When he nominated stumblebum Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, “W” was, again, “not governing by the polls.”

Obama recently warned against “attempts to slice and dice this country into red states and blue states; blue-collar and white-collar; white, black, and brown; young, old; rich, poor.”

The appeal to togetherness is another way by which politicians paper over differences in principles. Unity is all well and good, but the State is not the best engineer of togetherness. In fact, most government policies deepen divisions. Roping responsible homeowners into subsidizing reckless borrowers; or conscripting the young into paying for the healthcare needs of the more affluent elderly—this is a recipe for disunity. A politician’s siren call of unity is usually a demand for obedience.

If “unity” is Obama’s objective—the other two mercurial candidates also say that bringing people together is their thing—why not endeavor to treat everyone equally under the law? And in particular, why tax some more than others? How does the “progressive tax” square with equality under the law? People do not pay for goods and services in proportion to their income (or else Bill Gates would be paying a million dollars for a loaf of bread). Rather, the market treats everyone alike.

If the presidential frontrunners cared for “unity,” they’d acquaint themselves with the teachings of the Father of the Constitution. The first object of government, wrote James Madison in the Federalist Papers—also the key to the Constitution—was the protection of the “diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate.” 

As an amulet against the lexical lies of our leaders, arm yourself with the Constitution, and listen carefully for those pitch-perfect platitudes.



    May 23, 2008

CATEGORIES: Politics & Policy, Propaganda

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