Suicidal Maniacs?

mexicans

Fred Thompson is the emerging for reasons I don’t quite understand as the Great Conservative (read: White) Hope. His recent comments on immigration offer a penetrating preview of his campaign rhetoric:

“Twelve million illegal immigrants later, we are now living in a nation that is beset by people who are suicidal maniacs and want to kill countless innocent men, women and children around the world. We’re sitting here now with essentially open borders.”

Thanks, Senator. When my neighbor, a young woman from Puebla, Mexico — whose husband has overseen the renovation of two buildings in my neighborhood and who takes his family to Red Hook Park to play soccer on Sunday, his only day off — straps her kid into his stroller I’ll wonder if maybe, just maybe, she’s strapping an explosive belt around his waist as well. “Suicidal maniacs” are in our midst and they’re cooking pozole for dinner!

I can’t wait for Thompson to fall for the hype he’s been getting and declare. And Newt Gingrich too, for that matter.

9 thoughts on “

  1. Preston Powell

    Sounds like Sen. Thompson is stealing pages out of Pat-the Nazi-Buchanan’s playbook. Not surprising since conservatives tend play to the racial fears and antipathy of their constituencies to win elections. It worked wonders for Nixon and Reagan.

    Sadly, this is just another form of history repeating itself. The whole anti-immigration attitude from gentiles in America has been well-documented by historians such as Matthew Frye Jacobson, Alexander Saxton, David R. Roediger and Ira Katznelson. The creation of “whiteness” and the standoffish, this-is-my-country-not-yours xenophobia against minorities that are ineligible to assimilate into whiteness is as American as apple pie.

    Toni Morrison’s excellent essay in 1993’s issue of Time magazine, entitled “The New Face of America,” touched on the same thesis as the aforementioned scholars.

  2. Ali G.

    I await the arrival of this post on the Nation’s Campaign
    Matters Blog. Who is this Ari Berman guy anyway?
    -AG

  3. Collin Brendemuehl

    Thompson is, right now, the only conservative with a personality and public eloquence.
    While some (perhaps many) conservatives long for the next Ronnie.
    I long for the next Bill Buckley.

    At this point I’ve not read any comments from your material that can acknowledge a conservative intellect without calling the person a racist. Your misuse of Thompson’s words accomlishes this goal very well. I’d suggest that you rethink the word “beset” and not presume racism.

  4. Dale

    This is classic Bushspeak—the rhetoric of guilt by verbal association. Beset=to attack on all sides. Who’s attacking? We have three available subjects who are never differentiated: 12 million immigrants, besetting (attacking) people, and suicidal maniacs. The reference is framed by “…immigrants” and “open borders.” The attackers, in the mind of the hearer, must therefore be the immigrants–at least that’s the desired effect–i.e. the message: “You must fear these immigrants.” The same strategy TO THIS DAY is employed with 9/11, Sadam Hussein, Al Qaida, Iraq and terrorism. The subjects aren’t so often linked causally (although even that happens at times) but simply through verbal association. This type of discourse has been very effectively employed by Bush, et al. Its power over the American people can’t be underestimated.

  5. Gene

    No, you’re not “free to see what you want to see.”
    (Clearly, postmodernism has infected the right.) The
    quoted passage begins with an unmistakeable reference to
    immigrants, continues by sliding into a reference to
    suicide bombers, and ends with an inchoate alarm about
    open borders. At best, it’s utterly incoherent, which
    would be bad enough. At worst, it clearly merges
    immigrants and terrorists into a specter of menace.
    It doesn’t matter whether or not Thompson is a racist;
    what matters is that he’s either muddled or insidious.

  6. Gene

    Let me withdraw the first part of that last sentence.
    Obviously, it matters whether or not Thompson is a
    racist. What I should have written is that debating whether
    or not Thompson is a racist probably won’t get us very
    far. (This is unlike the pretty unmistakeable evidence
    that Jerry Falwell, the subject of previous posts, had been
    and might well have remained a racist.) By the way,
    it’s worth noting that Max doesn’t call Thompson a racist;
    he does identify the hysteria that the quoted remarks
    clearly convey.

  7. Cal

    Great idea: Israel should home the Mexicans.

    Then maybe they can find it in their heart to allow the Palestinians back home too.

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