Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Apologies for the long post before

That last post on Kris Kobach is too long and too link intensive. I think I'll boil it down to some smaller pieces and spread it out a bit.

The first part, which I'm trying to rearrange still, was just context. The extremist anti-immigrants or gun nuts, etc., have a very carefully structured operation. The nuts don't go out running for office. They know they won't win.

Instead, they find ideological allies who have clean records. They funnel money and personnel to them, and know that they have access when they need it. That's where Kobach comes in.

David Neiwert made a point about the Ashcroft nomination (in the context of the fight over Judge Pickering):

What needed to be said about Ashcroft wasn?t that he was a racist, but that he had a pattern of these kinds of associations, which included not just neo-Confederates but a number of dalliances with other extremists of a variety of stripes. These associations do not necessarily mean Ashcroft was an extremist himself -- but rather, that he displayed extremely poor judgment in making them. Essentially he let the good name of his office, which it is his public trust to protect, help legitimize extremist organizations of various kinds.

Kobach gets money from racists. No one disputes this. He gets cash from groups in a broad coalition that offer refuge and encouragement to racists and xenophobes. No one disputes this. Some groups associated with his funders have been implicated in violence against illegal immigrants. No one thinks that he has advocated those positions.

The problem is that he wants to represent Kansans who are citizens, but who immigrated from another country, or whose friends and family did. By taking this racist money, he implicitly endorses that racism. That's why he should return the money. Not to hide what he believes, but to repudiate the association between those groups and their extremist views, to avoid any connection between the office he wants to hold and the repugnant views of some of his contributors. If he won't return the cash, he needs to find another way to utterly disassociate himself with those groups and their members.

He won't do that. The question is why?

His actions show that he is at least comfortable with the broad argument that immigrants are bad. You don't sue to make illegal immigrant's children pay more tuition unless you are at peace with that ideology. Where it originates in his personal ideology, from hatred of others, or a broad philosophical perspective on what America should be, isn't clear. He could clarify easily enough. He's on one side of the Republican party's internal war or another, and we need to know which.