The Times They Are A-Changin': Establishment Democrats Fall

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Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
    - Lyrics
I never thought I'd see the day when I could safely say that the pollsters, the pundits, and the establishment democrat bloggers would turn toward the light of migrant justice.  That day has come and it only affirms one of the Doctor Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s most hopeful themes.

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice
    - Doctor Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
After Republicans failed with their anti-migrant rhetoric in Virginia, the powers that be have begun to sing a different tune.  Duke at Migra Matters was the first to pick up on how the tone has changed.  This is a Washington Post article before the Virginia results were in:

Republicans have benefited in recent weeks from the growing intensity in the immigration debate. They have promised to block illegal immigrants from obtaining more public services and to do more to start deportation proceedings against them, particularly those who have committed crimes.
    - Amy Gardner and Bill Turque

This is a Washington Post article after the Virginia results were in:

Voters across Virginia chose candidates in state and local elections yesterday not out of anger over illegal immigration but based on party affiliation, a preference for moderation and strong views on such key issues as residential growth and traffic congestion.

With a few notable exceptions, the trend benefited Democrats and not those who campaigned the loudest for tough sanctions against illegal immigrants.
    - Amy Gardner

The National Immigration Forum has a strong message for pollsters in their latest press release, and it looks like they might finally be listening:

As the saying goes, the only polls that matter are on Election Day.  Forgive us.  We are biting our tongue.  We want to scream "We told you so!!!"  But we are above that.  We will refrain from such childish triumphalism and seek to educate.
    - National Immigration Forum
The most significant and marked shift, though, comes from the establishment democrat blogs.  On Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga broke years of silence on the immigration issue after a taxi driver used the word "beaner"*.  Soon after, all of the other major blogs lined up right behind him.  In quick succession Kos put up two pro-migrant posts.  In "Demonizing Immigration Doesn't Work" he states:

Demonizing New Englanders, gays, blacks, and women -- and losing their long-term support -- isn't enough for those guys. The GOP is about to shoot themselves in the foot with the Latino community (and other immigrant groups) in the long term for a strategy that doesn't even work in the short term.

Democrats shouldn't follow them there. Here's another issue in which doing the right thing also happens to be good short- and long-term politics.
    - Kos
The very next day he criticized Rahm Emanuel, an anti-migrant Democrat, in "Is Rahm racist, or merely scared?", where he states:

Americans don't want hate-based anti-immigration rhetoric and action, they want comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders and provides a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country.

Yet there's Rahm, with a big chunk of the Democratic caucus, making common cause with racist Tom Tancredo.

The Latino vote is volatile. It swings. And Democrats can't afford to lose 10 percent of their margin over stupidity like this.
    - Kos
Soon after, Crooks and Liars, Firedoglake, Talkleft, and Open Left, followed suit with their own pro-migrant posts.

If there was any question about Daily Kos's new pro-migrant stance, our own Duke1676 from Migra Matters, who for years has been putting out pro-migrant posts at Daily Kos, had his agenda for progressive immigration reform rescued and then promoted to the front-page, for hundreds of thousands of readers to see.

This has left all of us in the pro-migrant online community scratching our heads.  After years of struggling to get the establishment democrat blogs to speak out on this issue, in a matter of days it seems as if it has all changed.  We have gone from Matt Stoller at MyDD calling immigration a "pet issue", to an almost complete 180.

I have to say that the sudden shift towards the pro-migrant camp should have come with an explanation.  The establishment democrat blogs should have at the very least, acknowledged their years of silence on this issue.  It might seem a little petty for me to ask that, and it is bad etiquette to tell any blogger what to write.  Still, it is only fair to the millions that have suffered in their silence that I ask for an explanation.

At the same time, for the millions that will continue to suffer, it is only right that I welcome these newcomers to the light of migrant justice, and put aside past differences.  In the years of online establishment silence, anti-migrant advocates have developed one of the most sophisticated online machines that the establishment blogosphere has ever known.  When the 2008 elections come around we're going to get hit harder than we could ever expect, and it's only together and unified that we will be able to keep an anti-migrant politician out of the presidency. 

I'm going to return to my bread and butter.  The root of the problems associated with migration lie in the lack of opportunity that migrants flee from.  While everyone agrees on that point, I'm one of the few that can actually analyze and advocate against concrete U.S. foreign policies that are contributing, rather than taking away, from the problems associated with migration.

Welcome to the light my friends, now we can move from tackling the silence to tackling the hate.


Note: This is cross-posted on Culture Kitchen.

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nezua said:

well said, my man. a hunger for truth, and a need to get at the root causes. and not political expediency. this is what will continue to drive some of us. but as long as for the time being we are all in sync on this, i am very happy to see it. it can only mean good things.

yave begnet said:

Let's hope this represents a change in how the issue is addressed in the big progressive blogs. I think immigration will only become more contentious in 2008, as the GOP finds it has literally nothing else to run on. The left needs to be prepared to stand up for progressive values, not to concede to the vocal restrictionist minority.

mimi said:

Amen, let's tackle the hate -- the hate of messed-up people who want to DEPORT millions of people, tear apart families and smear our America.

And to do that first I say we must tackle the ignorance and the misconceptions held by decent people. They've been led astray by trusted "newsmen" at anchor desks on cable channels -- pouring so-called "news" down the throat of a country that doesn't like to READ anymore (and if so, only if the news article is less than 400 words and has little pie charts and blue Internet underlines that link to how the issue ties to Brittany Spears' custody battle).

But, let's tackle the GIANT problem of the root causes of global migration, in a measured realistic way. To me, that means focusing on getting the best possible allies into representative office now. To moving toward legislation that stops this hateful mob mentality of us "golden-ticket holders" against them "the undocumented."

We only have a year until the election. Pointing fingers at establshment Democratic blogs isn't the answer. I think it's better to forgive, reach out a hand in solidarity instead.

Please, let's not get caught in a mess of "crab antics" with others who finally, bend a little and start to show signs of recognizing our points. Crab antics -- a term I steal here from anthropologist Peter Wilson -- refers to judging each other's worth to the point of pulling each other down the inside walls of the pail, instead of working together to climb out.

We can't afford to point fingers, saying "told you so" and whatnot. If we only have until 2008 to institute some substantial changes to this nation's representative system of leadership, and that's just a year away, we have a lot of work to do.

I see what you have gathered and posted today as a GREAT VICTORY -- a sign that the American people will not stand for the Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredos bullying them. Let's applaud America for doing so. Let's applaud the mainstream blogs for spreading the word that the Americans are waking up to their moral character.

I agree totally with your desire to tackle the meat of the problem. The roots of the immigration problem are monstrous, and can not be ignored. I just came back from a week with mi amor in Mexico. I was in the heart of what you're talking about for a week. Hell yes, bad foreign policies, and global economic decisions are affecting people to leave their families, their cultures, their homes. It's not because everyone wants to be American. They don't all want that. They want to eat, to make sure they're kids are safe, and to live another day.

But I think we, as Americans, have a lot of work to do before 2008.

Personally, I don't know where to begin. I sincerely don't -- and I get overwhelmed. A post like this helps, it's like knowledge and sustenance to help me spread the word to people around me that the NORMAL people are on my side. I'm not a radical with way-out ideas on immigration reform. I'm the majority.

I really thank you for gathering the information, analyzing it and putting it into comparative context. But, step back a moment, and please don't get mad that FINALLY the established sites are getting it. Be estatic. Be forgiving.

Always, always tremendously impressed with you bloggers and the hard work you do. Where DO you find the time? As for me, the mindless work drill and other responsibilities seem to keep me drained lately. But I don't want to be uninformed -- and I appreciate your role in keeping me posted.

I heard human rights lawyer Connie Rice on the Tavis Smiley show a few weeks back.

Paraphrasing, I'll say he led into the interview by saying "Let's talk about the immigration crisis."

She answered very calmly, and very matter of factly: "What crisis?" I'm with her: This is a manufactured crisis. I'm going to do my part to calm the masses, and not let hysterical lunatics get the votes.

kyledeb said:

Wow I just ran into these comments, it seems my email notifications aren't working at the moment. Thanks for the comments Nez and Yave, and Mimi, wow. I don't know if you've commented on CO before, but it's good to have you, and what a great comment.

You ask how we have time to blog and then you leave an amazing comment like that.

As I said in my post, it is not fair to the millions that have suffered in the silence of establishment blogs that I let this slide, but your comment deals with the latter part of what I said. I owe it to the millions that continue to suffer to welcome these establishment blogs to the fight and work with them to end the fear that 12 million migrants live in in the U.S.

Thanks for the comment, Mimi, and please send me an email using the contact form. I'd love to keep in touch.

mimi said:

Well -- as for my comment, there's a big difference between a late-night stream of thought ramble I sent, and the kind of fact-digging and orderly presentation through online technology your doing here -- but I appreciate your kindness anyway.

P.S. It only was an accident I didn't type in the e-mail; you should have it this time.

kyledeb said:


Orderly presentation. That's a good one.

Smartypants said:

Thanks for this news. I haven't kept up with the "establishment blogs" so I didn't see this movement.

And I want to join you in saying that we'll NEVER find any real solution to this issue of migration until we begin to speak with one voice about the underlying foreign policy issues and our current corporatocracy that drives it.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle de Beausset published on November 10, 2007 1:37 AM.

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