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The party of pre-Americans

Posted by Richard on December 17, 2008

In what I would describe as a Very Important Post, Daffyd pleaded with the Republican Party to reject the "Tancredistas" and become the "party of pre-Americans" (emphasis in original):

I conclude that the Republican Party cannot survive as "the native-born American party." We have no option but to reach out to all those immigrants and children of immigrants who come here because they love America and what she stands for. Instead of discouraging or even stopping immigration, we must encourage it — but only by the right people, those who come here anxious to assimilate, who already believe in American values, no matter where they were born. We need more, not less, immigration by folks who were already American in their hearts long before they immigrated here. I call such folks "pre-Americans." If we don't want to repeat the same mistake with the rising population of Hispanics that we made with blacks, the Republican Party must become the party of pre-Americans.


There is no need to compromise on the fundamental requirement of controlling our borders; but we must finally recognize that most illegal immigrants are not "criminals," not in the commonly understood sense of a convenience-store robber or a carjacker. Most are simply responding irrationally to an irrational and unjust immigration system. Correct the system — which we should do anyway for our own reasons — and we'll see a huge drop in illegal entries, as those pre-Americans who rationally should be admitted are allowed in legally.

But it is important to show sympathy and support for those "huddled masses yearning to breath free" who desperately desire to become real Americans — those that already have the distinctive American values and virtues. Instead of talking about a moratorium on immigration (which comes across as "There are too many of your sort here already"), we must say, in essence, "While it's important to enforce our territorial integrity, we understand that many folks see America as a 'shining city on a hill,' and we'll do everything in our party's power to open the gates to all those who are truly American at heart… no matter where they were born."

Then actually do it.

Read. The. Whole. Thing. Please!


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9 Responses to “The party of pre-Americans”

  1. RedPencil said

    That’s a really good article you linked to. Rational and right. Some of the comments depress me though. A continued harping on the “But they’re ILLEGAL!” theme.

    I have been in discussions with various “illegal immigration” opponents (almost as many Democrats as Republicans btw). No matter how correct, exhaustively researched or to the point my explanations of current immigration law as unjust, unenforceable, and economically deleterious are, the anti-immigrationists always come back to: “But they are breaking the LAW!”

    It’s like talking Global Warming with a Gorista. “But if it saves one polar bear surely Kyoto is worth it!” It is fundamentally a religious discussion. Any facts are as relevant as evidence on the virgin birth.

    With this in mind I finally found ONE answer that at least temporarily got agreement from the anti-immigration “But they are breaking the LAW!” crowd: Instead of rationally discussing facts, or the nature of law, I quoted — in full — Kris Kristofferson’s The Law Is For Protection Of The People. Republicans and Democrats bowed to the Power of Song and actually agreed I was right. (They promptly forgot it, but it was a nice moment.)

    Now if only I can think of a similar song for Global Warming. Religion and music apparently talk to the same parts of the brain.

  2. Jan said

    How do you tell who is American at heart? How can we pick and choose who is let in? Haven’t read the whole thing yet – maybe addressed.

    I’ve always loved America for its hybrid vigor, the result of assimilated immigrants. But assimilation has fallen out of public favor. I know a fair number of Republicans and let me speak a little in their defense. Yes, they want border control, definitely. And yes, they want to see more legal immigration. They also would like to see more assimilation in the immigrant population. But they love the pre-American heart, appreciate the sacrifices involved in immigrating to this country, applaud the success stories, and cry at naturalization ceremonies.

    Seems like the party of pre-Americans is attractive but may require more marketing skills than the Republicans can muster. And how doable is it? I can hear the cries of discrimination when we talk about selecting immigrants for their level of pre-Americanism.

  3. Hathor said

    Does pre American mean how white they can be?

  4. rgcombs said

    Red Pencil, I’m not certain what the subjects of your “experiment” agreed to. Was it this part?

    “Rules are rules and any fool can see

    We don’t need no riddle speaking prophets

    Scaring decent folks like you and me”

    Jan, I think most of the selection of “pre-Americans” would be self-selection. Especially if applicants for green cards had to agree to forgo access to various public assistance programs, which I think is a reasonable criterion.

    Hathor, read Daffyd’s post. He’s talking mainly about Hispanics, and he clearly doesn’t give a rat’s ass about their skin color. It’s both disingenuous and insulting for you to suggest that there’s a racial bias to Daffyd’s (or my) post.

  5. rgcombs said

    Dammit, Red Pencil, now you’ve got ancient Kristofferson songs running through my brain! Like “Pilgrim,” and “Silver Tongued Devil and I,” and “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” and “Best of All Possible Worlds,” and “To Beat the Devil.”

    Kris was, IMHO, one of the best singer/songwriters of my generation. Until he hooked up with Rita, got rich and fat and comfortable, and became a “movie star.” And lost the hunger in his soul.

    “I was born a lonely singer, and I’m bound to die the same,

    But I’ve got to feed the hunger in my soul.

    And if I never have a nickle, I won’t ever die ashamed.

    ‘Cos I don’t believe that no-one wants to know.”

    My favorite is still “Pilgrim”:

    He has tasted good and evil in your bedrooms and your bars,

    And he’s traded in tomorrow for today

    Runnin’ from his devils, Lord, and reachin’ for the stars,

    And losin’ all he’s loved along the way

    But if this world keeps right on turnin’ for the better or the worse, And all he ever gets is older and around

    From the rockin’ of the cradle to the rollin’ of the hearse, The goin’ up was worth the comin’ down


    He’s a poet, he’s a picker He’s a prophet, he’s a pusher

    He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned

    He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,

    Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

    There’s a lotta wrong directions on that lonely way back home.

  6. Hathor said

    ” but only by the right people, those who come here anxious to assimilate, who already believe in American values, no matter where they were born.”

    The right people? I never heard that statement other than in the context of racism, colorism or elitism.

    The mistake with black people was to let Strom Thurman and his ilk usurp the Republican party, forgetting that Republicans had died along with black folk opposing Jim Crow. They didn’t leave the Republican party over socialism, blacks new that they were no longer considered the “right people.”

  7. jgm said

    From Ronnie’s “shining city on a hill” speech: “And [America is] still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”

  8. rgcombs said

    Hathor: ”The right people? I never heard that statement other than in the context of racism, colorism or elitism.” Sorry that your experiences are so limited and negative, but that doesn’t justify attributing your meaning to Daffyd. He defined ”’exactly”’ what he meant in the very sentence that you quoted: ”those who come here anxious to assimilate, who already believe in American values, no matter where they were born.” And thus, no matter what their color, race, heritage, etc.

    In the absence of compelling evidence that Daffyd is lying, I think you ought to accept that he means what he ”says”, and not imply that he means something very different and more sinister, just because ”other” people (in your judgment) have meant that.

    jgm, thanks for the Reagan quote, it’s perfect. The people whom Daffyd considers the “right people” are those (of whatever race, religion, or origin) who think of coming here as coming ”home” — because they embrace the ”values” on which America is based and which set America apart.

    Nicolas Sarkozy spoke of this when he addressed Congress, and [ I’ve written about it] more than once. Most of the “right people” Daffyd refers to don’t even think about it on such an abstract, intellectual level — instead, they are drawn to America by what Rand called their “sense of life.” And those are the people we (Daffyd and I, and those who share our values) want to welcome into this country.

  9. Hathor said


    Yes, my experiences have been quite different and more limited than yours.

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